Your House of Cards

I am a house of cards. My foundation is shoddy at best. A gust of wind could knock me down. All it takes is you coming along and pulling a single card, and splat. There I am, a game of 52 Pick-Up, sprawled all over the floor.

The ego built this house. So, it’s fragile. It gives off the illusion of protection but it’s rendered useless in any kind of storm.

We all have houses like this (unless we’ve been aware enough to tear them down). Made of all the things that we don’t want anyone to touch - the holes we have inside, the regrets and grudges we hold onto, the residual negative beliefs we have about ourselves. You know, all the wildly unsexy parts of being human.

And all it takes for any of us is one right card.

One word. One argument. One profanity. One loss. One bad move.

It cuts something deep inside, and our egos are on the attack. We are scrambling to pick the cards up, trying to rebuild before anyone notices.

It’s a terrible thing to be seen, isn’t it?

The paradox is that we want people to love us, but we don’t want them to see us.

Hell, we don’t even want to see us. This whole house of cards thing is just a decoy anyways. We are deflecting from what we fear most - what psychologist, Carl Jung, calls our “shadow side”—all of our (predominantly negative) unconscious behaviors, beliefs, and thoughts.

If you’re honest, there are many things that you can’t fathom to admit to yourself about yourself. That’s why you get all riled up when someone brings up that story. You shut down when a friend starts talking about that topic. You feel this tightening in your chest during an argument.

You are terrified that you may have to face the real you, or worse…

What if she finds out about that time you lost your cool in public or got drunk, threw up, drove, and hit a tree? What if he finds out about that time you cheated, you lied, you stole?

Here’s the thing. You are human. Therefore, you’ve made mistakes and will continue to. You also have an ego. Your ego is telling you that you are a piece of shit half the time because of the things you’ve said and done. And it’s telling you that you need that house of cards to survive, in order for people to love you.

But guess what? That’s a bold faced lie.

Your ego is a liar.

Your house of cards is not you.

It’s an illusion.

And only when it comes crashing down, when all 52 cards are sprawled all over the floor, everything’s been stripped away, and you are exposed for who and what you are—can you be free.

In that moment, you can decide to build a house that makes sense for you. 

Best yet, you are free to let others in.

Perhaps for the first time…

Kate Ward