Are you living your true self? I mean, really. When you sit back and think about it, do you even know your true self? Sometimes I wonder if I’m my own unique individual at all. Maybe I’m just a collection of ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and values that others have impressed upon me. From the time we are born, we are taught rules, views, this vs that.
Sure, I can critically think and decide. But, what are the basis for my decisions? Are they rooted in making others happy, society norms, popular belief? If so, that leads me in a circular pattern wondering how do I actually find myself in all that mess?
It’s a lot to think about, and as caught up in “my life” as I am, I wonder if I disassembled it all, what would be left - of just… me.
We live in a very judgey place. Yes, judgey. And, yes, I know it’s not technically a word. But, you know exactly what I mean.
In a time in history where we preach freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom to be creative, build what you want, do what you want, be who you want… I wonder how many of us are really doing that.
I think freedom to be one’s self is an amazing idea. I think we all crave to not feel caged in. It’s like we want to rip open our chest and let that power inside us, out. Unleash it to the world! It sounds so freeing. So pure. Like a breath of fresh air.
It is a time in history where we are publicly watching all kinds of freedoms (of speech, of beliefs, of values) being played out right in front of us on a world stage. And it seems quite the opposite of pure. In fact, it’s in-your-face shocking. Terrifyingly so.
Yet, for every yin, there is a yang. The truth is, we don’t all breathe fresh air. Some of us breathe fire.
Yes, technically we all breathe both at times. It’s a balance. But what is happening in your micro world (in your home, school, workplace) is the same exact dynamic that is then brought to a bigger platform (your community, neighborhood, town, city, state, country). It’s all a mirror.
My question is, in which way does the scale tip for you? What are you bringing to the stage?
What I have personally found is that the fire seems to suck the fresh air right out of the room. No matter what move you make, no matter how good your intentions, those fire breathers just light it all up and burn it to the ground.
The result? You hold in the pureness; the breath of fresh air is never felt; the creativity is trapped inside. And it eventually turns into fear. Fear of being exposed. And then lynched.
Why? Because, frankly, it takes so much stinking courage to be yourself. Every being needs love to thrive. We seek it. So, yes, it’s very clear to me why we care what other people think, and why it’s hard to block it out and turn it off.
No one likes to be squished. Bullied. Ripped apart. Criticized. No one.
Let’s be honest, there are productive ways to give feedback, and there are unproductive ways, as well. We’ve all been on the delivery and receiving ends of both ways.
But, in a world of ultimate freedom, I’ve never seen more people afraid to be their true selves than ever before. Why? Because no matter how great your creativity, uniqueness, or talent, there is a fire breather lurking around every corner ready to burn you to the ground.
Our world of free speech allows everyone to have an opinion. In fact, I bet someone is reading this right now that is ready to blast off some fiery comments in response. Why? Just because they can…
For a long time, I’ve felt the need to live my life under the covers, so to speak. It’s not that I’m an incredibly private person, but most people know nothing beyond the surface.
Why? Because I don’t want to be criticized, made fun of, or bullied. I don’t want bad press. I don’t want your opinion on if I’m right or wrong. I also didn’t ask your input on how I use my time, money, or energy. I don’t want you to hold things over my head. I don’t want to hear that you were talking about me around someone else’s dinner table. And, so goes the smoke and mirrors game.
I can’t tell you that I struggled with self-identity issues after my son was born. I can’t tell you that I have a fragile self-esteem. I can’t tell you that I struggle with health issues, that my body hurts a lot, and that I’m not sure how to fix it. I can’t tell you that I worry about making ends meet. I can’t tell you that half the time I feel like I have no direction, and I question why the hell I’ve made the decisions I have.
I also can’t tell you about amazing gifts that I have either. I can’t tell you that I can communicate with animals, that I see people in other dimensions, that I talk to God regularly (and he talks back), that I don’t always feed my kid vegetables at every meal, and that I go on vacation a few times a year because if I don’t, I will go completely insane.
I bet there are people that will have plenty of opinions about any of the above. Some encouraging. Some less so. The point is, who cares. None of us come without baggage. Not one of us.
Who am I to judge you? Just as who are you to judge me? Furthermore, if your unsolicited feedback brings nothing constructive to the conversation, why bring it to the table at all?
On a world stage, it is hard to breathe fresh air. It takes resilience, strength, courage to let your own light shine.
Be different. Be weird. No one ever got to an amazing place doing the ordinary. Let them talk about you. For as many fire breathers, there has to be an equal amount of oxygen.
I’m here to live MY best life. If you are here to do the same, then you have no need to insert fire breathing comments as to what I’m doing. So, I’m going to be the oxygen. In order to do that, I need to come out from under the covers. I am not going to be the change, because I don’t need to change. I just need to be me. And you need to be you. Hopefully, that’s something we can all agree on.