Stepping Into The Fire & The Realisation of Self
There’s got to be an urge, an acceptance and a willingness to get burned. In that, there is an opportunity to reach something unreachable.
Welcome to The Reflectionist, a daily dose of reflection on the nature of the self, personal reality, creativity, life and work, submitted to the public record for posterity. Read personal essays and articles on the psychology of creativity to help you nurture and broaden your creative prowess.
When I was about 25 or so, my father warned me against going into business for myself. He said it was dangerous and could break me.
Turns out he was right on both counts.
Starting a small business at an early age is one of the best and worst decisions, depending on the perspective taken, I have ever made.
On reflection, I would have to say the benefits far outweigh the shortcomings.
So off I went, blazing a trail.
Economic conditions were good at the time, but money wasn’t my motivation.
I had a job with good prospects. I could have stayed where I was, however, something else needed to be fulfilled.
This doesn’t mean direct employment isn’t right for you. Perhaps it is.
I simply happen to believe, that opportunities for personal growth from self-employment far outweigh the benefits of working for other people regardless of the short term pain and slimmer wallet.
If you want to grow son, if you want to find out who and what you are, to expand into yourself beyond your current concept, then you must step into the fire.
Expect and be willing to get burned.
The Pleasure in Pain
Human beings get a certain pleasure from pain.
They like to talk about it, share bad news stories, rant about stuff they say they don’t like.
They like to circulate pictures of themselves in hospital and share photographs of their infected feet!
WTF is with that?
Ok, that’s a rhetorical question.
It’s a kind of malevolent enjoyment in bad habits and the daily destructions of themselves, a wallowing in their own downfall. The psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan called this jouissance; an enjoyment in the lack of desire fulfilment.
It expands on Freud’s idea of opposing psychic drives of Thanatos; the destruction of the self, and Eros; the opposing psychic force towards life or growth.
In psychoanalysis, it is said that these two forces play themselves out in all human activity, and they will also for you.
The thing to watch out for then, and take under your control is the lean towards indulgence in destructive behaviour, in failure and disappointment.
In your work, there will be ups and downs, most certainly if you begin in business for yourself, and you will need to ride them out. Don’t fight them because that will pour fuel on the fire.
Stepping into the fire means you will get burned, but you don’t need to completely annihilate yourself in the process.
Your business doesn’t need to be big either - avoid that trap - but it most certainly does need to be something that engages you.
A business of one will suffice.
And so as you emerge eventually from the fire there will be a sense of accomplishment, a sense of completion. Even in material loss, there will be this sense of completion.
If that feeling is not there yet, wait. If it doesn’t come over you one insignificant day while you’re looking at the sky wondering where I am, and it doesn’t make you smile, then it’s likely you’ll need to go back in.
A sense of completion is what you’re after.
“Probably the authentic person is himself complete or final in some sense; he certainly experiences subjective finality, completion or perfection at times; and he certainly perceives it in the world. It may turn out that only peakers can achieve full identity; that non-peakers must always remain incomplete, deficient, striving, lacking something…
Abraham H. Maslow | Psychotherapist
Maslow, in his book Toward A Psychology of Being, speaks of the completion of the self in peak-experience. I have come to believe that full realisation of self, self-actualisation as Maslow calls it, can only be reached by stepping into the fire.
Even though much of the material things you possess may be taken and burned up, you will discover more contentment than you ever thought you could.
You will be more than you were before, even though you have less.
You’ll lose your naivety too, although maybe that’s not such a good thing for it is often naive enthusiasm that takes us into the fire, to explore, to examine, to take a chance.
Although, one day you may not need to do that any more.
Thanks for taking the time to read my stuff. Every morning you’ll find me sharing a new thought on life, art, work, creativity, the self and the nature of reality on The Reflectionist. If you like what I’m creating, join my email list to receive the weekly Sunday Letters