Wednesday, September 14, 2011

It's Embarassing to be Yourself

This is another email I received from fear.less.  I decided to cut and paste the whole thing because I thought it was a great read!  Hope you enjoy (and more importantly, find it thought provoking!!)

.........Fear.less contributor and fellow writer Po Bronson blew my mind when he 
spoke of the "fantasy bubble" in which we encase our dreams. We hide our 
most sacred ideas and most comforting desires because it's easier to shelter 
them on our shoulders as angels. To make them a reality, whether that means 
opening a blank document or starting a conversation, is to make them vulnerable. 
In our minds and when we are alone, our thoughts and fantasies are perfect, 
whole and insulated. As soon as you take the first step to making them real, 
they are just a fraction of themselves. It's disorienting, it's not quite like you 
imagined, you're confused, you don't want to get caught, you shouldn't have 
done it in the first place.

This is true of just about everyone, even if you're type of person who says 
"I don't have guilty pleasures because there's nothing to feel guilty about" or 
"I am comfortable with who I am". I started this by saying it's embarrassing to 
be yourself, but it's not, really. What's truly embarrassing, and vulnerable, and 
exposing, is to show yourself. To show your enthusiasm and your sensitivity. If 
at your work, at your home or on your website, it serves you to be a 90% or 
80% version of yourself, it's easy to keep doing that.

It's awkward to be the one who shows compassion to someone crying in the 
hallway, even though it's probably worse to, you know, be the one crying.

It's humiliating to divulge that what inspires or validates you is unusual for your 
age, gender or some other social norm, even if it really helps.

It's embarrassing to confess that your fears and insecurities just keep coming 
back, even though it seems that way for most other people, too.

It's shameful to admit that you haven't taken any impressive steps toward what 
you really want, even though no one can support you if they don't know, and even 
though it might not even be true.

This doesn't always happen, and that's actually what's so bad about it. When we 
win a few easy victories, we can trick ourselves into thinking "Woohoo, authentic 
living! All eight cylinders ablaze!" Not to take anything away from small victories, 
which should be celebrated. But getting comfortable with less than we can achieve 
is less than we deserve. There is great satisfaction, fulfillment and power awaiting 
us on the other side of honest self-expression and deliberate vulnerability and that 
can be hard to keep in mind. What is your current level of sincerity doing for you? 
What would happen if you dialed it up?

Also, "authenticity" is a dodgy word that messes people up. I'm not trying to accuse 
anyone of being "phony" when I don't even know you personally. But I do want to see 
what happens when people, including myself, don't dial themselves back as much 
and surround themselves in support. Like Po Bronson says, "You need to be around 
people who think it's okay."

I'm glad we could talk about this. Well, I'm off to play some video games marketed 
toward children. It's where I get my best ideas.


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