The ego is not the enemy is often portrayed to be.
Defined as a person’s sense of self-esteem, the ego has become a sort of villain in the personal development community, mostly by Ryan Holiday trying to sensationalize a rather complicated and often nuanced philosophy called stoicism.
Your ego is not your enemy. Your ego is not an excuse for being obnoxious, arrogant, or self-centered.
There’s a fascinating story about the biblical King Solomon. It is said that he was searching for a cure against depression. He assembled his wise men together, which gave him the following advice: to craft himself a ring engraved with the words ‘This too will pass.’
“The man who has anticipated the coming of troubles takes away their power when they arrive.” — Seneca
The oldest tennis tournament in the world, Wimbledon, has been held at the All England Club in Wimbledon, London, since 1877. Just above the players’ entrance to the Centre Court, the tournament’s main arena, inscribed are two lines from Rudyard Kipling’s “If:”
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same
“We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and — in spite of True Romance magazines — we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely — at least, not all the time — but essentially, and finally, alone. This is what makes your self-respect so important, and I don’t see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.”
― Hunter S. Thompson
Loneliness, defined as an unpleasant emotional response to perceived isolation. The key word here is perceived.
Loneliness, defined as social pain — a simple mechanism that forces us to seek others. The key word here is pain.
A perceived pain, for even one who is surrounded by others might end up feeling lonely. Some might say that’s what real loneliness actually is: feeling alone when you are, in fact, surrounded by others.
Today, when we’re all connected via invisible waves of technology, there are but two great tragedies: one is to be lonely alone, the other is to be lonely among others.
I often wonder which is the selfish option of the two?
It feels like being afraid of heights and having to live at the top floor of a skyscraper.
It also feels like the building is on fire. Burning from the inside out, slowly consuming floor by floor until it reaches you.
It feels as if your only choices are to either jump or accept that you are going to burn. Either way, you’re pretty much out of control.
That’s how I felt for years and years; so long, actually, that it became my own emotional baseline, so I understand quite well the difference between the burning pain of suffering deeply and the general apathy and hopelessness of depression. The emptiness. The lack of interest, joy, passion. I understand the despair, the loneliness, the reluctance to discuss about it all, the very fatiguing job of hiding it all behind a smile, or an “I’m fine” delivered in the worst way possible.