Glory Vs Satisfaction
I want to share some thoughts that I’ve had lately while reflecting about a conflict that we all face, which is a major problem for our emotional wellness.
I want to share about the important difference between glory and satisfaction, our need for both of them, and the conflict between them. And I want to explore the conflict between glory and vulnerability, as well as the direct correlation between vulnerability and real satisfaction.
What I have experienced myself, and what I see as pretty much ubiquitous in our culture, is that we glorify and are glorified for living up to collectively held ideals.
We are especially glorified for achievements that require great sacrifice and we are even glorified for sacrifice itself, for being willing to be a martyr and sacrifice our personal needs for another person or group, or for almost any lofty goal or ideal.
Why Are Martyrs Idealized?
Now I can’t help but wonder if being a martyr, and seeing martyrs as heroes and glorifying their personal sacrifice, isn’t largely due to the influence of Christianity on our culture for the last two thousand years, creating a fundamental paradigm wherein we all unconsciously think of the ultimate ideal human as someone who is willing to sacrifice their self for the greater good.
But I digress….
The point I want to make is that we are glorified for sacrificing our needs for others, and of course, we are glorified for achievements like making beautiful music, starting a successful business or winning a big competition, as well as for maintaining a personal image that meets collectively held ideals.
We are glorified for living up to ideals and this often requires that we sacrifice our real needs. We are even glorified simply for sacrificing our real needs.
“Mike is my favorite employee because I can always count on him to get it done and delivered on time!”
Real Satisfaction Comes From Meeting Real Needs
But satisfaction comes only through meeting our real needs. So in order to get glory we must sacrifice satisfaction. We do this because glory seems a lot more important than satisfaction; our need for glory is dire because our survival in the modern world depends on it.
Glory Is The Ultimate Social Currency
Glory is the ultimate social currency, even more so than money. Glory makes you famous, gets you a big promotion, lots of new clients, followers or subscribers. Glory, once again, is what we get from others for living up to (or appearing to live up to) collectively held ideals. Glory always comes to us externally from others.
And as most any famous person could tell you, glory is ultimately also a kind of trap for those who are glorified, as glorification puts us high up onto an idyllic pedestal, and then demands we live there permanently. The only way to come down off the pedestal of glory is to fall off, and lose the glory. So once glorified, then we are always “under pressure” to live up to any ideal we have formerly achieved.
We expect glory to be the most amazing experience of satisfaction and fulfillment that we could ever possibly know. But unlike real satisfaction, glory is actually totally empty. It is a rush of excitement, but then it doesn’t deliver any of the lasting satisfaction we crave. Glory is incredibly fleeting, and despite all the excitement and rush, it does not deliver any real satisfaction at all.
Glory Does Not Provide Satisfaction, But Pressure
Rather just the opposite, it creates very uncomfortable pressure. Our access to glory is entirely owned by other peoples’ approval of us. Once glory is attained, glorification itself casts in stone an image that we must then forever maintain, or else we may be stripped of our glory.
Most people have good and bad moments, so glory can actually become an impossible burden to maintain while also striving to be authentic. Athletes and artists know this conflict between glory and personal satisfaction very well, though truly it applies to everyone at many different levels.
Sociopaths understand this and they use glory as a weapon to control people. By glorifying others with charm and praise, they trap the person’s ego into striving to live up to these projections of perfection that they have so lavishingly cast onto them. This is what you call someone being “controlled by their ego”, struggling to live up to someone else’s projections and fearing their judgments.
The only thing that can possibly be waiting for us on the other side of any kind of glory, is disapproval and disappointment. We may manage to maintain an ideal forever, in which case our glory remains. But if we ever fail to live up to the ideals cast upon us by glory, then we are punished with disapproval and disappointment.
We are kicked off the pedestal. If we fall off, then there will no longer be glory there to insulate us from the pain of the frustration we feel due to not meeting our real needs. We can then be overwhelmed with frustration.
But whether we fall off or not, it is important to understand that frustration –and not satisfaction – is what has always been happening inside of us, underneath the more intense sensation of glory.
Frustration is what we get when we don’t have satisfaction.
These are like the energetic Yin – Yang of the core of everyone. Meeting our needs is satisfying, and not meeting our needs is frustrating. We all walk around with a cumulative tally creating either a positive or negative charge. Unlike glory, nothing and no one can ever take away the real satisfaction we have generated for ourselves due to making choices that meet our needs.
But in order to satisfy many of our basic material needs, we need some amount of glory. Success in the world requires some amount of glory. But in order to be deeply satisfied, what we really need is the freedom to be authentic. Glory prevents authenticity, because it makes vulnerability unsafe.
Glory Inhibits Vulnerability & Authenticity
Vulnerability is being deeply authentic and allowing others to see our imperfections. But since we all need glory for material success, and glory is based on living up to ideals of perfection, then openly revealing our imperfections is not very safe at all, because this can easily cause us to lose glory, leading to material failure. This could mean we start to become unpopular, that we do not get a big promotion, big contract or lots of new clients.
Now we all know in theory –in our logical minds –that no one is perfect. But we are also highly conditioned to glorify images of perfection, which sets up a fundamental cultural paradigm where it is not safe to allow ourselves to be fully authentic, because this requires vulnerability, which could cause us to lose our glory.
But if we do not meet our own needs, we not only don’t get satisfaction, we also get the opposite of satisfaction, which is frustration. We all walk around carrying a charge of frustration or satisfaction wherever we go, and the type of charge we carry around is entirely based on whether our real needs are met or not.
One of the most important needs we have that creates real satisfaction and happiness in our lives is being seen, understood and loved for who we really are, not for an image we maintain, but unconditionally loved despite failing to maintain it.
But to be loved for who we authentically are, we have to be vulnerable. Otherwise we are only seen and loved for the image we maintain, which deep down, a part of us knows is not totally who we are.
Self-Honesty Is Crucial For A Healthy Balance Between Glory & Satisfaction
This kind of self-honesty is really the key for finding a healthy balance in this conflict between our need for glory and our need for real satisfaction…. between our need to live up to ideals in order to be successful, and our need to be vulnerable, authentic and human, to be loved for who we really are.
Awareness has tremendous power to transform, all by itself. Awareness is really the only solution to this conflict that I have found, and through the willingness to be aware of ourselves, we can begin to make new choices that help us satisfy our deeper needs for authenticity, even as we strive for the glory of perfection.
As we become more aware of where we are striving to maintain an ideal image that limits us from being vulnerable and authentic, then we are more able to see our conflicting needs clearly and begin to make our selves more vulnerable little by little.
In this way we can more deeply meet our needs for authenticity and being loved for who we really are, while also continuing to work toward our career goals and striving to live up to societal ideals that can help us earn recognition, and the material success that follows.
Balancing Conflicting Needs is Not Only Possible, Its Critical
I believe that balancing these conflicting needs is absolutely possible, though it is likely to be a life-long process, the keys to which are self-awareness combined with another perfect balance of polar opposites: self acceptance and the willpower to change. But that is really a whole other video!
So I really want to thank you for taking the time to listen to my thoughts and reflections on glory and satisfaction, on living up to ideal images and exploring vulnerable authenticity.
Rather than giving you any kind of prescription for how to manage this conflict we all face, I hope that I have provided you with a great service by illuminating the situation so that you can have greater clarity and insight into how you can best operate in the world to meet your personal priority of needs.
If you liked this video please share it and be sure to check out the Advanced Home Wellness website for other videos and articles, not only about Emotional Wellness, but all kinds of cutting-edge wellness topics.
I’m Kevin Asher, thanks again for watching. And be well!