How to Avoid Self Absorption

Today as I was walking home, I passed a Porsche parked on the road. I thought a lot of things as a result of that.


To be honest, I felt a bit of envy, as when I was young all my friends spoke of the Porsche as if it were the big symbol of status and luxury and power. Those memories have not left me, and I have not interfered with them. Those memories are pretty much intact. In fact, for one week, a friend of mine entrusted me with his Porsche (it was a cheap one) and I had great fun driving around in it for a week. So I have some limited experience to base my envy on. But it is still envy.

Self Righteous

A little after the period where my friends worshipped Porches, in my last two years of High school, it was common to feign disgust at luxury and brand worship. Being one’s authentic, humble self was prized. As a result, I also developed feelings where I did not want to have a Porsche or anything like it. That would define me as a cheap sellout, seeking status through crass material possessions. In a sense, a triumph of form over function. So we felt morally superior. This was simply a form of self-righteousness.

Self Absorption

Seeking status for yourself though material possessions and denying yourself are really different sides of the same coin.They both reek of self absorption. You are centred on yourself to the exclusion of other deeper things in life. This self absorption is damaging in the long run. It limits your vision. It wastes your energy in the pursuit of things which appear appealing but in the long run are wasteful of your energy. Instead of growing stronger, you only grow weaker.


How can you realise that you are falling into one of these traps, or the other? The only answer I could come up with was brutal self honesty. This naturally begs the question how to be brutally self honest, when the self is notoriously dishonest (to the self - you always present yourself in the best light to yourself). This can be done by relentless examination. If you keep on examining yourself, your actions and feelings, eventually you become aware of undeniable truths. That is when honesty starts to grow. It takes a lot of effort. I mean it, really, It takes tons of effort. But when you finally start to be honest with yourself, that’s when you can really start to grow.