Taking Yourself Excruciatingly Un-Seriously
Excruciating as in painful. I’m not sure if that word actually means ‘painful’, but for some reason my head is saying yes. Either way, making less of yourself can hurt…a lot. I talk about this often…the whole, not taking yourself too seriously thing. And you’ll find in life that usually, when people talk about something a lot, that’s because they struggle with it, and are using a reverse defense mechanism in order to somehow try to deny struggling with it. However, in my case……hehe. Nope. I struggle with this a lot. And as Lewis points out, it’s pride…not vanity. Vanity is the need for attention from others, stemming from loneliness and a desire to be with other people. But pride, yikes. Pride is the desire to not only have oneself be more important than anyone else, but also to feel the need that you deserve that importance. And the approval from others isn’t used to view yourself as ‘fitting in’, as vanity would have it. Rather, it’s used as confirmation in your own mind that you do, in fact, deserve that importance. Or as Guy Ritchie puts it, ‘Fear or revere me, but please think I’m special. We share an addiction. We’re approval junkies.’
And the only real way I’ve found to combat this in yourself, is honesty. As in, a true, real, and honestly painful look at yourself as who you really are. Which is hard. I find that even when I’m being honest, my mind is already working the angles that this honesty can show me to be a good person…because of how honest and open I am. Scary, huh. So, as I was watching Star Trek two nights ago (oh, don’t worry…that’ll come up), I decided that it was time for a really honest post. Like, really honest. One that puts me back where I should be in my view of myself. One that allows for the thought that if it is indeed true that there is a God, and that He loved me enough to die for me, then I am definitely not good. I think usually we like to use the term ‘good enough.’ We’re not ‘good enough’ to deserve that. Which implies that there is some goodness in us. Which I think invalidates most of that book the prophet Isaiah wrote. The reality is, we’re not good. Not even a little. And I think that the less seriously we take ourselves, the more we can grasp that. Not in an intellectual way; that part’s easy. In a real way. Meaning, ‘effecting change in ourselves within the reality we currently live in.’ It seems sometimes that in spiritual circles, we tend to focus only on understanding everything in an intellectual way, and think that it naturally translates into our actions by some weird osmosis or something. So here’s the thing: it doesn’t. There are real steps that need to be taken. And one of those, is the most incredible medicine ever. And it’s called self-deprecation. Not like saying, ‘Oh, I’m stupid’, when you know for a fact you actually have an above-average IQ; but actually being honest about things you’d rather not be honest about.
And I’d totally suggest this. Probably online. (I say online because I do this to my wife sometimes…listing off all my instances of ‘loser-ness.’ And while I’m sure she appreciates the humility, I know it also makes her quite bored. Although she still listens, because she is amazing. By doing it online, you give people the opportunity to not listen if they get very, very bored. ) Here, on your own site, or even just being completely open and honest to yourself. It’s frightening how even in our own thoughts, we’re usually not. To quote Christopher Nolan, ‘So you lie to yourself to make yourself happy. We all do it.’ Ya. So this is my therapy. I’ll probably look back on this in two years and go, ‘Wow, that wasn’t honest at all.’ But it’s where I’m at now, and that’s about all I can do. And again, I would completely recommend this. It is so choice. Also, so that I don’t feel alone, and because with each new comment on my blog, I feel validated. Aech. Honesty is starting already.
- I get a small, shooting feeling of excitement that I try to deny when I hear another guitarist make a mistake. Even if he’s on stage with me.
- Last night, at a worship night, I could not find the key of G with my voice. Not even a little.
- I wrote a very long intro to this post on not taking yourself seriously. Probably taking myself a little too seriously there.
- Sometimes I double-check my pedal connections to avoid having to stand around awkwardly. This is insecurity.
- Sometimes I double-check my pedal connections to avoid having to talk with people I know very well. This is just plain bad.
- I went to the gym a couple nights ago. (And for those of you thinking this is actually a backhanded way to brag about the fact that I did, in fact, go to the gym……when I got to the shoulder press machine, it was set at 135 pounds. This made me feel very small. I won’t tell you how much I normally shoulder press, but it does not have 3 numbers in it. It barely has 2.) And Star Trek was on the gym tv. I am not a trekky, and so I turned the television off. Then I thought that it might be really funny in the blog to make fun of whatever was happening in Star Trek, and talk about it as if I accidentally watched it. So I turned the tv back on, and subjected myself to William Shatner in order to say something funny on my validation meter……uh…blog. And here it is.
- I have this recurring dream that I get on stage and right on the downbeat of the first song, I realize I’ve left my rig in the car. I then spend the rest of the gig-in-the-dream trying to set up a rig that just keeps getting bigger and bigger, all the while playing it cool as if no one is noticing.
- Last week my D string just would not tune. Because I was turning the A string peg. I used to think I’d eventually grow out of that. Nope.
- I’ve told the same joke in back-to-back services, and pretended it was off the cuff.
- I still get this nervous feeling deep in my gut when I’m pouring my heart out leading worship, and I look out and see blank stares. Then I start over-compensating by trying too hard. You know that look of trying too hard when playing music. It looks like the girl lead singer for that band from Wayne’s World. Ugh. Just gives you shivers of grossness. And my voice gets over so slightly British. And I probably turn on more delay, too.
- As much as I talk about minimalism, I still feel the need to try to play at least one of the fastest riffs I know (usually that’s not saying much) in all my pedal demo videos, just to prove that I can play that stuff, it’s just that I choose not to.
- I have chosen songs for setlists before according to what makes me feel cool, rather than according to what I feel God’s telling me the people He loves need to hear.
- Sometimes, when I can’t think of anything original to play, I listen to obscure U2 b-sides, steal the ideas, and hope no one notices.
- There is a part of me that hopes you will think I am admirable for being so honest in this post.
- Sometimes people annoy me.
- Sometimes I’m humble just to be exalted.
- Last Sunday I slid into a few notes on a riff. I knew the congregation probably didn’t notice, so then I wondered if the rest of the band did. Probably not. And by the time I was done thinking, I was positive in my own mind that I had played the riff perfectly.
- Bono says that there must be something wrong with someone like him, who needs the validation of 70,000 people screaming for him. I relate a lot to that. But I’m not sure if I really do, or if I just like the thought of Bono and I feeling the same thing.
- There are times when I like myself more than I like God.
- There are times when I feel like the rules don’t apply to me. Like Neo. (Not Keanu Reeves, mind you. The character of Neo. And yes, that is nerdy.)
- Sometimes…*sigh*…no, not sometimes. I really like Star Wars.
- Somewhere, there’s this little part of my mind that still truly believes that Capitol Records will watch my youtube channel, Johnny Buckland will read my blog, and Chris Tomlin will be at my church this Sunday.
- I still can’t figure out how to use my Ooh Wah well enough to do a demo of it. hehe
- And lastly…the most horrible one of them all…sometimes (man, this hurts) I can’t tell the difference between a Blues Driver and a Zendrive. Sometimes.