The Dangers of Losing Self

by Young Che on March 27, 2008

I would like to start out by stating for the record that I am not a self-help guru; (yet).  The only reason that I even bother mentioning yet is because there is the possibility that I will become that someday as I continue along my own path toward self discovery.  The process of self discovery is seemingly never ending.  I am constantly learning new things about myself.  I am consistently amazed by the thoughts that are generated from within my own labyrinth of a mind.  The speed of thought itself is an astounding rate which I’ve heard is something like 14 billion miles per second.  At this rate it is not surprising that most of us don’t really have any idea how to control our thoughts which leads to a lack of discipline in our actions as well.  I know for a fact that most of the time my thoughts are all over the place and I am definitely concerned with gaining a measure of control over them.  

Gaining control over my thoughts so that I can better control my actions is one of my goals for this year.  For a number of years I’ve allowed life to push me whichever way the wind blew without any effort on my part to control my own destiny.  I like to think of it as an experiment gone wild.  I won’t delve into all of the details of the experiment at this point.  I only wish to share some of the general aspects of this experiment which started so many years ago.  I began this experiment back in the Spring of 1993.  There were a lot of things happening in my life at the time that seemed beyond my control or was not a direct result of what I thought that I should or could be doing with my life at the time.  There were a lot of things that were “going wrong” in my life at the time and I really had no idea why.  I felt helpless to change my own condition and had no clue where to begin.  It was then that I decided to embrace the idea of detachment.  I even named my idea (for branding purposes of course), “The Art of Detachment.”

I decided to let go and detach myself from most of the emotions associated with life itself and allow life to push me around that I may end up wherever I needed to be.  Letting go of life on a conscious level required some internal mind games that I still use to this day.  Life can only push you so far because there are some things you have to decide to “do.”  Life can only push you so much because we as human beings still maintain the power to decide and choose our own fate no matter what.  Whenever something goes wrong with our lives we cannot blame others.  We have to ultimately assume the responsibility for our lives, the decision we make or don’t make, as well as our overall quality of life.  Looking back at my little experiment there are elements of it that were productive to my overall growth and development while other elements were absolutely counter productive.  


One example of a positive or productive aspect is my ability to separate myself from the emotions attached to things that happen directly to me and look at them from an outside perspective.  Everyone should work to be able to look at a situation from an outside perspective.  One of the easiest ways to do this is to try to see an event through someone else’s eyes.  It is helpful to be able to separate yourself from emotions for a lot of the decisions that you have to make in your life.  It is especially helpful in areas such as science, business and mathematics.  In fact those are some of the discipline building areas of life where you can gain the skills necessary to detach yourself from the emotions associated with decision making.  I want to get deeper into this subject matter in a follow up article to this one because it goes much deeper than I have the time or space for today.  There are a number of situations that occur throughout life where it is extremely difficult to separate yourself from the emotions that surround a situation or event.  One example is losing a loved one.  An event of this magnitude usually has long lasting effects on a person.  I know this now through personal experience.  

The reason I refer to the Art of Detachment as an experiment gone wild is because I used it far past the point of its effectiveness as a tool to help me gain greater insight and perspectives on situations.  I actually abused this little trick in an attempt to ease the pain that I’ve endured during my life.  I learned how to use it to slow down my decision making process and not rush into situations I may regret later, which was a good thing.  I also used it to run away from having to decide what to do about a lot of situations because I just wanted to wait and see what would happen.  I would literally step outside of myself and experience my own life from a third person perspective.  As a result of doing this on an ongoing basis I would narrate my own experiences in my mind while I was actually experiencing them.  Kind of like a voice over first person narrative similar to the way Ray Loitta’s  character from the film “Goodfellas” did throughout the movie.  This turned into my M.O.  Most of the biggest decisions of my life turned into no decisions on my part with a very clever narrative as a backdrop to help me get through it.   

With ongoing narratives it always made things very amusing if nothing else.  As long as I was able to entertain myself on a regular basis I felt fine with life.  It was also a coping mechanism designed to keep me from wanting things out of life that may be difficult to attain and therefore I had a convenient excuse to not strive for greatness.  The downside about these ongoing narratives was that it kept me away from one of the things in life that I felt like I actually had a measure of skill in which was my ability to write.  Since I was always writing these elaborate stories in my head as well as other tales I would dream up on a consistent basis I never had to challenge myself and actually write anything.  During the early years learning the Art of Detachment I did not want to write too much because I was constantly doing research for my next movie or book.  None of this ever manifested because the only place it had any relevance was in my mind.  You may have already heard me refer to myself as a writer who doesn’t write.    I’ve known for a long time that one day this off center approach would somehow come to a point in time in which I would have to somehow re-attach myself to me.  In other words I would have to exert my will on my surroundings and really learn how to be the me that that I enjoy being with for the hell of it.  




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