Inspired by this Ted Talk, I dedicate this week’s post to you guys. The beautiful, the vulnerable, the proud, the scared, the angry, the lonely, the brave, the strong, the kind, the humble, the real… the real people, the ‘every’ people, who make up ‘humankind’.
Brene talked at length about vulnerability, but her research and insights left me pondering the question… who are we?!
Does anyone really know who they are? Do you? Do you know who you are?
I preach about authenticity, and passion, and purpose all the time. As part of my business mentoring and coaching I hammer on about building a brand and a business from a ‘heart-centred place’. I’ll play my own devil’s advocate here; what the hell am I banging on about?! Do I come from a heart centred place? Am I living my passion and purpose? Have I found my calling? Or is that just a neat sales pitch? Come on… how many ‘gurus’ do it?! It’s tiresome. It’s excruciating. And I feel this now, more so, because it forces me to beg the question… am I being genuine?
Self-analysis and self-critique is uncomfortable. It’s also terrifying. Am I potentially unraveling my whole career in public on this one blog post?!
I’m embracing my vulnerability.
Or is this yet another marketing exercise? A vie for attention? A ploy to satisfy my own ego that I’m ‘being me’.
The mind boggles. Who are we? How do we know when we’ve figured it out? Does a light come on inside our heads like in the Tom and Jerry cartoons?
I suppose we could start with a list of personality traits. But how honest can we be with ourselves? How many people live a lie? Too many. And why? Because we feel we SHOULD be something that perhaps we know deep down we’re not? But we ignore that and pretend it doesn’t exist. We make certain that we become who we think we should be, and believe it so fervently that it becomes real. Or as real as we’ll have others believe anyway. And then the conflict begins. We play a character, a role, a part in this great big show… we design this life, this persona, this image… and when it all becomes too much to keep up with, we escape. To the bottom of a bottle of wine. To the finite reaches of our credit facility. To Netflix and pizza. And then we reemerge into society. Sometimes playing the victim. Sometimes playing the hero. Sometimes playing silent witness. I hear it was a great BBC drama (Silent Witness). But that’s the point. It’s a TV show. It’s a parody. We continue to play some form of ‘role’. We act out. Sometimes we act in. But where’s the authenticity? What does the damn word even mean and when did it become cool?! I missed that memo, jeez!
A quick Google search tells me ‘authentic’ means ‘of undisputed origin and not a copy; genuine.’
Ok well, there’s some relief. Because we all know we’re genetically unique. That’s a start, right? Even identical twins aren’t actually clones.
Is that enough then? To be genetically you?
The thought has certainly stopped me in my tracks.
Can we be satisfied that our mere existence qualifies us to be ‘enough’?
In just being, can we be who we are?
Is the pursuit of a perfect life necessary? Is there even any point? It’s ‘cool’ to be authentic right now but Christ knows that will change quicker than the catwalks in Milan change seasons. It’s impossible to keep up. How the hell am I supposed to know that trench coats are out and camel coats are back in?! Who has time for that shit?! Sorry, I digress. Fashion boggles my mind.
So, if we are to do, as Brene suggests, give into vulnerability, live without guarantee, and give up the montage of characters we’ve created throughout our adolescence and adult lives… then how do we ‘be’?
How do we let go of the fear that we will be judged, deemed unworthy, subjected to torment and cruelty at the hand of other equally insecure and confused human folk?
Seems like a pretty big leap to me if there’s no crash mat at the bottom.
I’m not a researcher. I’m not a psychologist. I’m not a life coach. Flip I don’t really know who I am right now thanks to my mind vomit that just took me down the proverbial rabbit hole. Damn you brain.
What I do know is what I feel. (Oh crap here comes the embracement of vulnerability).
I know that fear of the unknown panics me a little. Acknowledging that publicly makes me a little calmer.
A quick analysis of that millisecond experience tells me that the experience of emotion qualifies my existence. That experience is completely unique to me in this time-space reality. Perhaps that is who I am.
I am the culmination of a lifetime of emotional experiences.
I don’t need to be anything more. I am certainly nothing less. That is enough. For now.
Until my next mind vomit…
With love as ever