main character energy

main character energy
image by dall.e 2

One of the perks of growing up in a TV-centric household is that I got to pick up universally-acknowledged lessons from the international shows I watched as a youngin. Be it weekdays or weekends, every evening, my siblings and I would be found staring at the big screen towards which all our furniture was pointed, indulging in classic Filipino, Venezuelan, Chinese, Korean, Russian, or Mexican series. From Pangako sa'Yo to Secreto De Amor, Dae Jang Geum to Cuidado con el ángel… when all the names, settings, and faces were subtracted from the plots, one message was resounding: envy and jealousy always lose the game. 

Today, I sit down to write of Malfoys and Lannisters, Ursulas and Scars, Gollums and Maleficents… for the more mainstream lovers among us. And I do so because I supplicate that you, my dear reader, may not fall for what is becoming an inviting and slippery slope in our generation. 

image by Miggy Rivera

This is the descent of second- and third-, perhaps even fourth-lead syndromes. A malady, whose genesis is the rarely-deliberate act of plucking our eyes away from our own journeys and consequently sticking them onto other people's, namely, the “main characters”.

These are the individuals whose plots’ grass never withers. The very men and women, boys and girls who seem to have gulped liquid luck, such that their hearts’ desires are always granted, and if not, their stories are guaranteed to have happy endings no matter the crests and troughs in between. 

It used to be harder to spot them but lamentably, it has become easier to do so today, with most of our peers being active on social networking sites. With each post, story, reel, video, and quote… it feels as if we have become an audience to a series of main characters, exposing their daily meals, flights, reads, friendships, careers, pets, and pimples. Indeed, as the sun rises and sets, so do we, the spectators, get sucked into glimpses of these characters’ lives… bringing with it an unfortunate albeit foreseeable temptation to compare ourselves. 

image by JJ Jordan

And you are no stranger to the traps of comparison, my wise reader, yet I present to you today that the conundrum with comparison lies not in the obvious fact that we are not all the same. But rather, it is in the very fact that comparison never comes without companions.

With comparison come sadness, negligence of self, resentment, ingratitude, anger, bitterness, or preeminently, the two veridians, envy and jealousy, of which I set out to write today. 

I do so because what I want for you is what I want for myself… to live a life that is properly oriented. 

And what exactly might this be, you ask? Well, I have found that in my daily scrolling adventures across social networking sites, my shield from the poisonous darts of villainy has been to remember this: the people I am tempted to set my eyes on are not the main characters in my life’s story… and neither am I. 

image by Andrea Piacquadio

I need not write extensively about the perils of running your race with your eyes set on another’s lane – they seem too apparent to expound on here. Shall I use my ink to detail that our lives have heterogeneous geneses? That some of us commence with riches and others with naught. That some are born into loving homes, stable, might I add, and the rest into neutrality or chaos and abuse. That others’ dispositions afford them rich social skills while others’ disordered personalities see them try and fail more than often. That among your peers, some have ease with change and newness while others shrink at the sight of displacement and foreignness. 

Certainly, this is wisdom that you need for your adulting arsenal. 

Without a doubt, the mature response to witnessing the apparent abundance in others’ lives is not veridia. Neither is it self-pity… for the rashly-thought-out remedy to commiserating oneself would be clichéd self-focused initiatives like “self-worth”, “self-esteem”, and “self-love”.... Neither of which plucks the roots of one’s comparison consequences. 

On that note and in line with the previously implied analogy of a race, it is unwise to run while looking at oneself. So, we dare not turn our eyes inwards lest we are sucked in by the plagues of our own being… for that is the trap. The true end of self-awareness is self-disgust. Because when you truly look closely at yourself, you will realise that there is nothing worthy of esteem and therefore, fixation. Now, let not your pride hinder you from wrestling with this truth about your humanity. A humanity that we all share, yet face with varying degrees of acceptance and negligence. Instead, I implore you to choose acceptance, that is, think for yourself and acknowledge that you and the neighbour whose life you are so enticed to covet are alike. 

image by lil artsy

Moreover, it is in the very fact that we are all no better nor worse than each other that we find the most obvious indicator that our priority must then lie in a being beyond humans. A being that if hallowed, melts away the delusion that earthly pursuits outside of him matter. 

This being is God.  

There is immeasurable utility in contending with this reality… that when all is said and done, when all meals have been consumed and flights been flown, marriages had and phDs pursued, airport pickups flaunted and sunset pics oversaturated… at the end of the day, what will matter is how much was done with God as the end goal.

Because everything we have is a means to an end, including the breath in our lungs. Only God remains the end of all ends.  

Therefore, be not envious, my dear reader, as long as your life is lived in pursuit of God. If I must be vulnerable… little have I seen on the Instagrams and Facebooks that has incited feelings of affection towards God. Hence this has been my resounding comfort: though envy and jealousy may lurk in the shadows, they are but mere illusions. For truth and benevolence shall always emerge as the ultimate victors.