“Graveyards are full of indispensable people”
This is a classic quote often used by French President General De Gaulle when he has to fire someone from his cabinet. In fact he never fired anyone since he was asking the person to sign her/his resignation letter when hired. He decided just to add the date.
If you feel being indispensable it means: you are absolutely necessary, irreplaceable, a key person on this planet.
Subconsciously or not, many of us feel indispensable. Incidence and degree vary with the period of our life, family status, circumstances, profession and ego-driven self image.
However, there are two periods in life where the feeling of being indispensable is almost nonexistent, at a young age and at he end of life. During these two extremes of our life, the ego is growing for the young ones and shrinking for the elders. Also, being under constant assistance, they may feel somewhat useless.
Between these two extremes of life, our ego grows slowly and than runs our mind.
We believe to be indispensable in many situations. Among the most common ones:
“I am single parent, raising young kids.” – “He cannot do anything without me”. “My company will not survive”. “The country will be chaos if I quit”. –“I have to take care of my old parents”.
Appropriate self-esteem including pride or proud of doing and achieving something is absolutely OK as long as it does not end-up into a megalomaniac behavior.
On the opposite side, being humble is also OK as long as it does not make you feel totally useless or unnecessary. As usual, proper balance is key in everything.
When we believe that we are indispensable, we always keep it for ourselves for fear of being labeled pretentious and arrogant.
The main culprit behind this feeling of being indispensable is, as usual, our ego working to enhance our s
elf-image. Again there is nothing wrong to be proud as long as the feeling of being indispensable does not pop-out. If it does, the effects, mostly subconscious, can be disastrous.
Why the feeling od being indispensable can be detrimental?
Because the pseudo reality of human indispensability is a pure mind-created illusion, it does not exist at all.
There is no historical example where the disappearance of our greatest minds in any fields such as sciences, literature, philosophy, art, sport or even politic has created chaos.
The sky did not fall after the death of the Buddha, Jesus, Socrates, Lincoln, Gandhi, Freud, Mandela, Kennedy, Einstein, Picasso, Mozart and many more. Yes, some painful adaptations were needed initially but there were transient. Life did not stop one second and is still moving on regardless.
The most important negative impacts of feeling essential are the following:
It creates, subconsciously, uneasiness, worries, even guilt, severe anxiety if not fear:
“ I am afraid that, if I am not around anymore, it will be a disaster for others”
This is specifically true for single parents raising kids or in any situations where a strong emotional bond exist creating deep attachment to someone, a job, a sport team or even a country.
It creates, also, a subconscious fear of becoming useless and irrelevant in the society.
f you are able to realize and accept that feeling indispensable is just a trick of our ego- mind, you will gain significant mileage towards serenity. Your self-image and self-identity may take a beating but it is worthwhile.
On the other hand, realizing that we are not indispensable does not mean to give up on our responsibilities.
We can be proud and humble at the same time but feeling “essential” is just some sort of self-defense mechanism very closed to a megalomaniac illusion.
This illusion is creating severe and constant worries about the future without rational reason.
When you feel indispensable, pay attention to it, press the delete button and move on.