Virtually every human being has two versions. Yes, I mean you and I mean me. There’s the public you and there’s the private you.
The public you, unless you’ve attained sainthood or enlightenment, tries to impress, to fit in, and to stand out. It tends to pretend you’ve got it all figured out and you’re damn near flawless. It’s the “Facebook self” you present to the world.
Don’t misunderstand me you’re every bit the one in a trillion miracle we’ve talked about previously. It’s just that you and I are still works in progress.
Then there’s the other you…the person you are when nobody’s watching. This is the person your public side tries desperately to hide. This person has imperfect thoughts and sometimes does imperfect things. It’s the person you’d be embarrassed to show the world…the person you wish you weren’t.
Take heart! You’re not alone! This is an ubiquitous human experience. Practically every person you meet is struggling with this same dichotomy.
Consider this. Don’t feel ashamed of that private self or beat yourself up over it. It’s an amazing blessing in disguise. It’s a great barometer for measuring who you honestly are compared to who you fervently aspire to be. That self makes it real in a way your Facebook self would never tolerate. Without such truth-telling, how can you ever hope to be your best self?
It’s the great work of your life to bring that real you into ever better alignment with your aspirational you.
Here are five easy (not simple) steps you can take to make it so.
- Take honest stock. Where are you really?
- Where do you want to be? Get as clear a vision as possible of who you want your private self to be.
- How will you bridge the gap between the two? What do you need to start doing? What do you need to stop doing? What do you need to do more of?
- See yourself and speak yourself and act yourself into a better you each day.
- Absolutely unquestionably know that you have an enlightened being living within you and ready to emerge if you’re willing to do the work.
I love each and every one of your private selves. If no one else has reminded you today, you are AWESOME!
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Axioms, idioms, proverbs, aphorisms; whatever you call them these tiny tidbits of “wisdom” permeate the popular consciousness. Many are very useful. Others, such as those below, offer abysmal and disempowering life advice.
- Better the devil you know than the one you don’t. This is one of those things a protective mother might tell you to keep you safe. It sounds like risk aversion advice, but it’s worse. It acknowledges that you’re dealing with a person or situation worthy of being called “the devil,” but encourages you stay put because taking a chance on change is supposedly more dangerous.
- Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt. Abraham Lincoln said this one so it must be true, right? Well, it’s pithy and could be true in some situations. However, most people have a hard time finding their voices. They don’t speak up, make their contribution because of fear of appearing foolish. That’s what makes this bad advice. The team, the country, the world is better off when everyone feels empowered to contribute without fear.
- Curiosity killed the cat. This is another one that assumes the worst and culls one of our most important traits as humans – our curiosity. Celebrate and be inspired by curiosity. Don’t fear it,
- Do as I say not as I do. This one requires little commentary. Never use this in someone else and never let it be used in you.
- Do not upset the Apple cart. Um, look around at the world. We need more people willing to upset the apple cart not fewer.
- East is east, west is west, and never the twain shall meet. This one is a battlecry for dogma. What is is. There are absolutes that can’t be changed. So why try? Nonsense. Beyond birth and death little else is unchangeable.
- You can’t teach and old dog new tricks. This one claims that once you reach a certain age, it’s too late to learn or change or that people can never change. Neither is absolutely true. As long as there’s breath there’s hope. It’s never too late to be the person you came here to be.
- All’s fair in love and war. Here’s a mindset that’s simply justification for bad behavior. No wonder relationships are in such chaos in our culture. Love is not a competitive sport. It’s not an excuse to become cut-throat. Aspire to something higher in your relationships.
- Every man has his price. This assumes that all people are unprincipled if tempted enough. It also is saying that normalizes this idea.
- Fight fire with fire. Here’s the mantra of people content to be vengeful and get even. Consider putting fires out in the world rather than pouring oil on them.
- Great minds think alike. I get that this one is usually said in fun when two people have the same thought. In truth, though, great minds think for themselves.
- Ignorance is bliss. This is among the most commonly used on this list and among the worst advice. It promotes apathy, disempowerment, and dependency. A strong human being ought never live in more ignorance than his or her seeking to date has left undiscovered.
There are more of these and I may do a second post on this down the line. Just because you’ve heard something said you’re whole life like it’s wise, doesn’t mean it is.
You’re all amazing. Take that to the bank! Have a great Sunday.
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