To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. (e. e. cummings)
Every morning before work I set an intention about how I want to be, currently it’s to slow down and be in the moment more. It usually lasts ’til about 9.10am, and if I remember the intention a few times through out the day it’s been a good day. I’ve tried putting up reminders and even writing on the back of my hand, but still get lost in the chaos of the day. I’m mentioning this because I recently decided it would be nice to start an ‘open and honest’ campaign to get to where no-one feels they have to hide their mistakes, or pretend they can do more than they can. I think it would revolutionise the world, lol. I remember reading that people do not fear speaking out but fear people’s reactions when they do. So many people feel they have to hide their problems and then don’t seek help, or live in fear of being found out and judged. And the reality is they probably would be by some people, certainly the media doesn’t help with that – seeing someone ridiculed for being like you is no way to benefit the world.
Now to clarify – it would be open and honest when calm, I’m not advocating that people start screaming and shouting every time they get upset, and blaming others. We’d have to include people taking responsibility for their own reactions, and allowing them to express that after they calm down and reflect on it. Too often people bottle things up because of their own fears, and then blurt it out in a way that hurts others.
It’d be one of those snowballing things too, the more you can be honest the more others will feel they can too. That’s why celebrities admitting insecurities or illnesses help so many others, it stops us hiding it and thinking we are alone. It normalises it. Another way to advance this is to make others feel safe enough to be honest by looking at your own judgements and reactions. Do they encourage others, or make them feel ashamed? I’m not just talking about the usual prejudices though, I once caught my self being judgemental about people who obsess about how they look but the reality is that in their minds, with their experiences and life, that is a coping mechanism no different to any other. I work with people who use alcohol to cope so shouldn’t really be judging other coping methods as better or worse – they just are methods that works at that time for that person. And it is only by getting that and allowing that would they ever feel they could be open and honest if they were unhappy. People don’t really change by being judged, but by being accepted as they are so they feel safe enough to explore alternatives.
I have a difficult time convincing people that how they are is normal, that the person they compare themselves to is unrealistic as that person isn’t even like that. I have the privilege of being able to listen to what goes on inside people’s heads and I can assure you we are all the same. For most people there is a fear that drives them – not being good enough/ earning enough/ kind enough/ being liked/ failing etc. And if everyone was honest about their fear we’d find it is so common it isn’t worth fearing! Plus what happens is that we end up being more scared that our fear will be found out than what the original fear is anyway! Either that or we find out our fear is untrue, eg a fear of not being liked when everyone adores you – what a waste of energy that is, lol.
On a recent Oprah interview she was asked if Obama had disappointed her and she said definitely not because she knows his heart and intentions are good and the rest is just a learning curve so how can he be judged on that. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all think that? That everyone is essentially doing their best with what they got, until they learn better. We only judge others when we are feeling insecure, so see it as a sign to look at yourself and heal. Then thank them for showing you. (one difficulty people have with this is they think it means we will get soft and not say anything is wrong, that’s not true. We can stop people hurting each other without judging them.)
So how about it? Stop trying to appear perfect, and stop assuming everyone else is, and catch yourself when you judge others. (Obviously do this with care, if you know someone will judge you then don’t put yourself in harm’s way, but also don’t assume everyone will, or that it is a fault in you.) It really can transform your life to stop fearing being found out, and the knock on effect could just transform the world…..