What is your motivation for doing what you do? What do you chase after? Why do you chase after it. Some people chase after power. Some people chase after love. Some people chase after glory and fanfare. The list goes on but one thing that I am certain of is that everyone is chasing after something and it is revealed through their actions.
One of my favorite movies of all time is the “Silence of the Lambs”. There is a very powerful line hidden within the movie that is so true. It is a hidden truth of human behavior and analytic people such as myself use it when trying to dissect the behavior of those around us. The line in the movie is when agent Starling is meeting with Hannibal after she betrayed him.
“What is the first and principle thing he does? What needs does he serve by killing?”
People seldom, if ever, carry out actions for no reason. Everything that we do, we do it with the belief that it is necessary to get something that we desire. Are these assumptions we make accurate or inaccurate? It’s such a subjective question and very hard to answer because there is more than one road that gets you to town. There are many paths that can lead to the same place, but not all paths lead to the destination that you believe it will.
So it sometimes becomes really difficult to say that your actions will obtain the desired ends. But it is probably accurate to say that we can know the probability of whether or not those actions will bring about the desired result based upon historical data of others who have used those same means to achieve an end and look at the success rate of that action in those specific circumstances. I know this might sound like it’s some boring spiel but this is really good information to have at your disposal.
Some people chase power but that’s not me. I lost my love for power many years ago. I don’t want to control people. These things are like drugs to people. The love of power makes them feel something beyond the mundane. They get a thrill out of being able to dominate someone else. I see this all the time. Most relationships fail for this very reason; because both parties involved wish to assert their will over the other. A relationship only works well when there is a mutual respect and we can negotiate what we have to have and what we’re willing to give up. The love of power to me is a sickness. It’s the God complex.
Just as dangerous though is something I have struggled with for years, since I was a child really, is chasing after the love and adulation of others. I want fans basically. I have for years built up a reputation among some people as having a legendary status by being willing to take on tasks that they themselves love. I feel like if I master these things that I will garner the love and respect that I wanted. It’s not power, but it is just as dangerous because eventually your self worth is built upon how much you can impress others. When your self worth is determined by what others think of you it becomes a very slippery slope. Because when I lose the fanfare and the people are gone I fall into a terrible pit of depression.
I have been like this since I was a child. When I wasn’t trying to entertain others I would make up my own pretend worlds where I was loved and adored for being the greatest. This is just another way of chasing for something that I believe I needed to make me a whole person, but in all reality it is just another pitfall to keep me from sustainable joy and peace which, in my opinion, only comes with a relationship with God.
Some people chase other people. Some people chase other people because somewhere along the way they have been injured mentally, emotionally or of course even physically. What they try to do is they try to keep someone in their lives that may or may not need to be there. They do this because what they are trying to do is create a substitute for whoever scarred them. It may not even be a romantic acquaintance. It could be a parent, sibling, a friend that they might have been close to that harmed them deeply. Sometimes the wounds are deep and just like with physical wounds they sting when they are touched and often times we lash out in anger or emotional pain when we are confronted with the prospects of trying to deal with our feelings. But we chase these vain relationships, which are clearly just not working, because deep down we think that there is a chance that it can fulfill whatever need we need filled.
Some people chase physical highs. It doesn’t matter if it’s an alcoholic high. It doesn’t matter if it is a prescription drug related high or any other type of narcotic for that matter. It doesn’t matter if it is a food based high. What I mean is that some people are just as addicted to food as some people are to pain meds. We chase these highs down because we think it’s going to serve some kind of purpose to help us feel something more. We think that it will help us to feel better. I know that I have struggled with food addictions and borderline alcohol addictions. I know from experience that I became a manic depressant because I felt like such a failure (probably related to my need to be adored) and I tried to drown myself in alcohol, food, video games, etc.
Often times we can tell if the thing we want is some sort of idol that we’ve created by how we try to protect it. People will try to lie, cheat and steal to protect the thing they’re chasing. People will even go to the extreme of lying to themselves to justify what they do. I won’t do that anymore. I have to be honest with myself because when I close my eyes in bed for the night; I am the only one that has to live in my head and I can’t live with myself knowing that I am being disingenuous to myself. I would rather die than not be able to be honest with myself. That doesn’t mean that I don’t do wrong. It just means that I am honest with myself when I have done something wrong. I try not to make the same mistakes twice and I forgive myself and move on.
The point of this whole thing is to say that you’re chasing something. Think about why you’re chasing it. Ask yourself some hard questions and if you have to try to figure out an excuse for why you’re doing it then you are lying to yourself. If you have to go around and around in your head justifying your actions then something isn’t right. I’m not saying that if you don’t feel bad about it that you’re fine because there comes a point where a person’s mind can be seared like meat on a grill. When you sear meat on a grill you have hardened the outside so that it becomes more difficult for the inside to receive things. God help us to be honest with ourselves. Because if we can all learn to be honest with ourselves about why we do what we do, this world would be a better place.
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