Existential Vacuum and the iSelf

Coming home to who you are.

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Billy Goat as Self Portrait by Pawel Althamer 

Rather than denying the technological advantages of the digital world, I want to identify one of the consequences of detaching from the essential components that took 150,000 years of Homo sapiens trial and error to achieve a joyful life. What I call the iSelf is the digital identity that an alarming number of good people are choosing to embrace in place of emotional belongingness without ownership. You will hear complaints in relationships about needing to find yourself, that your partner is trying to control you, or that you’re not ready to commit. Although in some cases these are legitimate concerns from relationships with sociopaths, abusers, and control freaks, these complaints may be disguised fear of being decisive and committed to share the beauty and intimacy of relationships with worthy partners. “I need to find myself” is a mask for not being willing to look at how you avoid emotional intimacy by distracting yourself with digital noise (texting, Internet, social media etc.). “My partner is trying to control me,” translates to being so self-absorbed that your partner’s needs become low priority. And, “I am not ready to commit,” is saying that you want to keep your options open to see if something better comes your way.

These avoidances are born in fear rather than malice or human flaws. But nevertheless they compel you to exist your world in intellectual indecisiveness and emotional disconnection from the worthy Self that you were meant to be. In the digital world, joy is relegated to LOL and passion to OMG: Something ideal for robots to communicate with each other, but hardly the nourishment needed to keep you feeling loved. The iSelf is content with replacing touch with text, compensating the existential void with the usual dysfunctional suspects like drugs, alcohol, gambling, casual sex, excessive care taking, pornography, and obviously, more digital noise.

But after painting a bleak picture on my digital screen, what can we do about this digital epidemic that replaces internal joy with external contentment?

The antidotes are straightforward but require courage to enter your excellence and inner strength. Rather than finding yourself, discover who you are in a relationship with the worthy partner who loves you; move from fear of being controlled toward sharing joyful options with the worthy partner who loves you; and finally, resolve your fear of commitment by embracing the worthy partner who loves you in the present without concerns about finding someone better than you in a gambler’s future.

So, if you have a worthy partner, burn your ships and commit to fearlessly share your joy, discard your iSelf, and come home to embody the beautiful person you already are.

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