My brain confuses us both.

My Brain: So, that thing where you’re secretly smarter than everyone else, where life is sort of like a game and you’re the only one who sees through it. The thing where you’re superior but you pretend to be one of them… you know that’s not real, right? It’s just part of what’s wrong with you. With me. Us. Whatever.

Me: Oh. *Cough*. Right. Yeah, I knew that.

My Brain: It’s called narcissism: having an exaggeratedly high opinion of yourself and your abilities. But narcissism isn’t really about feeling good about yourself, in fact it’s kind of the opposite. On some deep level you don’t believe you’re a good and worthy person. That’s painful. Another, shallower part of your consciousness tries to get rid of that pain by creating narcissistic thoughts.

But narcissism is a poor strategy, because narcissistic thoughts don’t get to the root of the problem. You don’t really need to see yourself as some sort of superior alien being, you just need to accept and love yourself as you are.

So for instance when you’re walking down the street and you find yourself thinking about how you’re superior to all the people you see around you – that’s narcissism, and it’s actually a sign that you’re not doing so great right now, and you need to slow down, take a break. You need to work on feeling good about yourself and loving and accepting yourself in a deep way.

Me: So… when I thought I was a genius web developer and made an amazing website – that wasn’t real either, was it?

My Brain: Well no, I mean yes, that really happened.

Me: What?

My Brain: The website is real. We can look at it right now if you want.

Me: No!!! [PANICTERROR! PANICTERROR! PANICTERROR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!]

My Brain: Why not?

Me: Because I don’t know how to make websites! Everyone’s going to find out I’m a fraud, and when they find out they’ll be angry, and then they’ll come for me, and…

My Brain: Wow, there’s so much wrong with that I’m having trouble deciding where to begin. You do know how to make websites. You did. It exists, you made it.

Me: I can’t!

My Brain: You can, just not right now. The javascript-writing version of you pops up every so often, she’ll pop up again soon, I promise. It’s funny because she doesn’t believe in you either. I mean, she doesn’t believe that we ever don’t know how to make websites. You’re not a fraud, you’re just a bit bipolar.

Me: It’s the same thing!

My Brain: No it’s not.

Me: Yes it is! You can’t tell people you know javascript some of the time but not all of the time, they’ll just think you’re lying.

My Brain: Listen, the probability that you will be arrested in the middle of the night, dragged to a secret court with no due process and made to justify your javascript-writing behaviour to a hostile judge, is very low.

Me: It is? Hey actually, you’re right, it is! That is a thing that’s almost definitely not going to happen. Well, not anytime soon, anyway. Not in the next six months. Whew, I guess that’s OK then. Thanks, brain!

My Brain: Don’t mention it, just happy to be of service.

Me: OK. So… narcissistic thoughts aren’t real. But sometimes improbable awesomeness is real. At least some of the time. But it’s alright because other people probably don’t care anyway.

My Brain: Yup.

Me: Um. How should I feel right now?

My Brain: Um…

PAUSE

My Brain: Processing…

Me: You don’t know, do you?

PAUSE

Me: It’s OK if you don’t know.

My Brain: I’m sorry. I don’t know how you/we should feel right now. I’m pretty sure we are in fact having some emotions at this very moment, but I can’t figure out what they are.

Me: That’s OK.

My Brain: Do you know?

Me: No.

My Brain: I suggest you relax and wait patiently for the feelings to reveal themselves. I’m just going to blip out now since we’re both starting to feel weird about the fact that we’ve been having this conversation with us for so long. Is that OK?

Me: Fine. See ya.

My Brain: Take care. *BLIP*

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