ASK ALICE: I just don't want to be me

Dear Alice,

I hate myself. There, I said it! Really. I just don't want to be me. I don't really feel mad or sad or anything like that, just tired of ME all the time. It's too much. Do you have any advice? I just feel like I'm crawling out of my own skin half the time. Blah.


Anyone Else, Please

Dear AEP,

Ah, self-loathing. What an essentially human condition, hmm? Alice's wonderland hasn't always been wonderful, I'm afraid, so I'm quite familiar with this dilemma. Everyone from theologians to poets to writers to great thinkers has described this every which way. Nietzsche famously acknowledged "the abyss" (read: our inner void) and warned about staring too hard into it, or it will stare hard right back at you. Methinks he's right; for whatever reason, we humans have been blessed (or cursed?) with an evolved consciousness. We are able to question the nature of things, why things are the way they are, what's it all mean, etc. Sometimes, we even take all this advanced and evolved consciousness too far and turn it on ourselves.

This sounds like where you're at, AEP.

Why have you arrived at this place on your personal journey? Stuck in self-loathing? This feeling usually stems from shame learned through experiencing childhood trauma, or from depression, which is anger turned inward. What's the true source of any anger or shame you have inside, AEP? Knowing that can begin the process of freeing you, so you are able to love you again.

And what is the void, the inner abyss, the empty space we find scary?

Well, that's a tougher one to resolve. Nietzsche was right, in my humble opinion – that abyss can be quite frightening. Addicts fill it with substances, alcoholics try to drink it away, gamblers and shoppers and chronic masturbators and hoarders and any variety of addicts and compulsive behavior-partakers avoid the void however they can. But that pesky void remains. I was just reading the other day about Zen philosophy, how the purpose of Zen can be to rearrange how one sees and experiences the void. Perhaps somehow making peace with this unsettled part of ourselves is key. Meditation helps, as does yoga, or dog walking, or watching sunsets, or any such activity that brings peaceful fulfillment.

Peaceful and fulfillment, two words with "full" in them... Filling your void with addictions, compulsions, or any other unhealthy similar endeavor may distract you from your self-loathing, but not essentially, and not for long. Look for peace and fulfillment in the most simple of activities; you'll probably find it and start accepting you again.

Take it from one void watcher to another.




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