I've just started reading the book, Scary Close, by Donald Miller.
The premise: love can only be experienced fully when we're willing to show our true selves to those around us.
The stunningly honest revelations by Miller remind me of why I'm doing this blog in the first place--to be more authentically real with others.
Not that I've been intentionally hiding. Nor was he.
Only, that over the course of our time as humans, we tend to take on many roles. Instead of simply allowing our natural talents to shine in those roles, we begin to define ourselves by them.
This is represented by Miller in the 3-circle analogy he learned from a mentor.
Our true self, at the center of the circle, represents the happy and healthy self in which we were born. This self knows love, abundance, appreciation, ease, and joy without any effort. If you watch younger children, you can see those attributes displayed through their bright, curious eyes.
The second circle, surrounding the self, is shame. Shame is created when at some point in our lives, we felt there was something wrong with us. Either we felt like we didn't measure up to our parents' standards, or we were made fun of by other kids at school, or whatever details you want to fill into the story where we started to feel inferior to those around us.
Then, in order to cover the shame, we created a false self. This is the personality traits we've developed, or the "characters" we've learned to play in this theater of life.
The outer shell, essentially, answers the [falsely-based] question, "we only matter if ... ?"
I've noticed in my own life, I've felt that I only mattered, I was only worthy of love, if I had:
- intelligence, (who else gets the attention of the teacher better than the A student?)
- humor, (the laughter of others from telling a joke sure feels good)
- stand-out performances as an athlete, (everyone wants me to be on their team)
- success (again, in a stand-out kind of way, where my name is known by others)
- attention of others (I'm definitely important if others are noticing me, right?)
All of these, when written down and shared aloud, stand contrary to the value I know I possess internally just by being me.
It does make me wonder, however, am I really accepting myself for who I am right now? Am I able to love myself when I'm quiet, uncertain of the answers, sucking on the golf course, not a best-selling author or house-flipping guru? Better yet, am I able to love others just love me for who I am... bells and whistles set aside?
These are answers I'm continuing to answer on this journey. These are roadblocks I'm moving out of my way so that I can move forward confidently on my path. I do know that the many valuable traits I possess are allowing me to experience life more fully. I just want to appreciate them for what they are, and not rely on them to validate my worthiness to love, and be loved.
It's funny how over the course of the past week, the original roadblocks I thought I had were not ones I ended up writing about here. Instead, new insights have been brought to my attention to be worked through and released.
So, what did you learn over the past week?
Were you surprised by any roadblocks that you perceived to be an issue preventing you from reaching your goals? From experiencing each moment fully? If so, how?
What positive aspects of your personality are enhancing your focus, success, and enjoyment of life? And which of these can shine today, adding energy to your experience?
I know just by answering these questions, I've launched new rockets of desire. I have new things I want to experience and new relationships I'm ready to forge.
I'm ready to be me, loving myself along the way and allowing others to authentically see me on this journey.
How about you?