"I betrayed myself. A lot. In my personal and professional life. I felt I had to, or at least I genuinely believed I did. I observed it around me since childhood—how people hated going to work but continued, how people despised their marriages but stayed in them. I saw how duty overruled personal desires. I detested school, and there was never a question of whether I wanted to go there or not. It was simply a duty for every child. I had to memorize Pushkin's poetry even though I couldn't care less about it. I had to recite them in front of the class with pretentious expressiveness. I had to graduate from school with good grades because that's how one could go to university and get a job after. That's how I could receive care and respect from others. Ultimately, it was about survival and thriving.
Yet, knowing that one must become a robot to thrive felt unbearable. There is something deeper in me than my survival instincts. It's the part of me that quietly said, 'I'd rather die young than live a longer life as a soulless survival machine.' Some ancient whisper from within recalled that there is joy, bliss, and love. Spiritual mystics take it even further by saying that joy, bliss, and love are who we truly are.
But how is it that daily life is a joyless, blissless, love-deprived duty? Feeling completely exhausted from survival routines, I turned around to confront death. I engaged in extreme sports to search for aliveness—to truly feel the air on my skin, dance on the edge of human capacities, survive each stunt, and celebrate, even for a few minutes, the bliss of truly LIVING!
From extreme sports, I shifted to sexuality, psychedelics, and spirituality. I started to find more ways to feel LIFE. I had profound revelations and peak ecstatic experiences. I discovered creativity, intuition, and unconditional love. What I saw couldn't be unseen, and there was no turning back.
My peak experiences multiplied and became available 'on demand.' These days, I'm focusing on integrating them into the valleys of my daily routines. That's what's really difficult—breaking old habits of betraying myself in order to succeed.
The key is COMPASSION. To acknowledge how much I had to numb myself to arrive where I am today. To acknowledge that the generations before me had to fight for survival even harder, so I can be here in a kinder, more abundant world today. And perhaps, it's time to put down my weapons and armor and celebrate?
Now I can find more compassionate ways of living—starting from the way I care for myself. Perhaps there are ways to thrive without needing to suppress my needs. Maybe there are ways to be intimate with someone while honoring my boundaries. Perhaps there are ways to build relationships where I don't have to betray my needs to please others. Maybe I don't need to smile when I feel sad, work hard when I'm tired, or stay in dysfunctional relationships for fear of being alone.
Perhaps it's time to realize that we've got it all twisted. I don't need to betray myself to deserve the compassion of others. Compassion reveals when I choose myself.
Image of me in ropes by Ren Yagami