When we feel like someone is conceited or self centered, it’s common to say that person is full of his or her self “You’re so full of yourself!”
We’re taught from a very young age to be selfless. It’s considered impolite or inconsiderate to be full of one’s self, to be vain, to be self involved, and to not be concerned for everyone else.
During this period of self reflection, I have come to a startling realization:
I’m full of myself.
Not in that I look in every mirror that I pass, or consider myself better than everyone, the fact remains…
I am both the beast and the tamer, stalking around my subconscious, constantly cornered and prepared to lash out, while perpetually vigilant to keep that brutality at bay.
I am full of the sorrow from the times that I have hurt people, while nursing the scars from the times I’ve felt hurt.
I’m full of hope, a force that drives me in the direction of my goals and begs me to dream big. But that hope is met with crushing doubt, that somehow I might fail, that I may not be up to the task. As a kid, this struggle was foreign– hope and dreams won out. But life has a way of getting to us all, and somewhere along the way the ignorance of youth was chipped away. I got hurt and became timid of being hurt again.
A wounded animal is a dangerous animal, no doubt. And there was the beast within my mind, hurt, and ready to lash out at anything or anyone who dared to come close.
But a reactionary life is not conducive to progress; I learned that I couldn’t move forward if I was waiting on something to happen. Everything is within my control, including my own happiness and friendships and reaching goals.
Somehow, the tamer of my mind calmed the beast. I took a look at all the times that I grew, that I excelled, and I saw that it was the attributes of the beast that made all of it possible. But it was knowing how to harness, how to direct that unleashed energy towards action and towards my positive goals, and to not let it lick insignificant wounds from the past.
This mindfulness is an ongoing practice. I can never take my eyes off the beast, and it will never leave. It keeps me on my toes when I see the potential to be upset or confrontational. My attention does turn inward, but that’s only because I’m full of the disappointment from the times I hurt others and full of the desire to do better.
I’m getting better and better at dealing with the beast, and even using it to my advantage. The beast, and all its unbounding and unrelenting energy, has a unique beauty that I have come to appreciate. It’s when I honor the attributes of the beast and control it before it controls me that I find myself at my most carefree, easily ascending on an upward trajectory.
But I am full of scrutiny. In being focused on my own inner struggle, I can disappear within myself to contemplate and dissect the decisions I have made. Sometimes it’s difficult to determine which hurts me worse, the beast or the critic.
But one thing remains constant: that I not allow either of those two, as manifested through my actions and words, to hurt others.
To hurt myself is sabotage. To hurt others is cruelty. To be a conduit of negativity at all is ruinous.
There is the golden rule. There is karma. There are all sorts of sayings about getting out what you put in. Regardless of the wording , the message is the same: our lives are how we make them.
I am brazen, no longer afraid to roar, on the hunt to make something happen and not cowering in a corner, expecting to be hurt. This is a fairly new practice; there are times I laugh when I realize I’m being mindful about being mindful. And while it may eat up my attention now, or turn my focus inward, I hope that it serves as practice and comes easier in the future.
I am full of the beast and the tamer, full of these realizations, full of hope and just a smidgen of doubt, full of criticism, full of what I’ve been and hope to become.
I’m full of myself.