Control yourself but never
Loose yourself but
Apply yourself don’t
Do it yourself.
Touch yourself but
Keep it to yourself.
Grab yourself and
Be yourself but
Work with yourself to
Contain yourself but don’t
Top yourself but don’t
Validate yourself but don’t
Push yourself then
Help yourself to
Hi umair haque, somehow my feed gave me your article right after I posted the playful poem above. I responded because I think we do have a best self, although, indeed, it’s not what “pop-therapeutic culture” preaches.
A person’s best self is a notion talking about individualization. The best self is the answer to the quest to know thyself! Your best self is that one which has those keys to all knowledge, including the Universe and the Gods.
“Compassion, justice, wisdom, creativity, kindness, humility, gratitude” are personal attributes, actions, states, choices, personality traits, they have nothing to do with the self.
I don’t know why people are so eager to move beyond their self even before they’re able to know what it is. I find no virtue in selflessness on its own. Selflessness is a waste, unless it is paired with something that has meaning: selfless action, selfless love, selfless experience, and even then, it is a dangerous path to step on: most of the selfless people are the prey of manipulators because of the void that remains when the self is shooed away.
Selflessness is not the opposite of selfishness! Generosity is the opposite of selfishness. Selflessness is the opposite of egocentrism, but egocentrism is not a bad thing. Egoism is a bad thing, and the antithetic action to it is altruism.
Egocentrism is a state that helps the human find itself. We are born dumb and with only small traces of archetypal and ancestral cellular memory. We require years and years of attention to “remember” who and what we are, and this is done with a kind of focus on and grooming of the ego. The ego is your unique and particular manifestation, it is the separation.
One should not hope to achieve the communion we’re so desperate about, the communion with humanity, the communion with the universe, the communion with our own awareness if you will, without embracing the principle of separation first! I like the original Vedic story of Brahman who is sleeping and dreaming of itself. The same idea is found in the Yetsirah world of the Kabalistic universes, where the arrow of existence points to itself, a marvelous allusion to how our mind only and only gets itself and nothing else.
Everything we believe, think or perceive is mediated by our previous “selves”, and that is why it is of groundbreaking importance to know thyself. And when you do, you integrate all those layers upon layers of experiences and interpretation into one single ordered and contiguous unique entity which is your best self. You cannot know thyself without being egocentric.
Selflessness is a bad teaching in a world already filled with empty humans.