Imagine a woman. She’s very attractive to you, but she also conforms quite closely to the definitions set by mainstream media. Her eyes are particularly captivating. Especially when she’s interested in something. It really shows. And imagine that all of her intentional listening has allowed her to learn about all sorts of interesting ideas, which has in turn made her quite interesting herself. She sounds great, right? One problem: now imagine that she constantly thinks of herself as old, unattractive, uninteresting and unintelligent.
Now those folks who argue that reality is obviously reality would say that if she’s attractive then she’s attractive and what she thinks about it doesn’t matter. But it does matter. Because in her reality she isn’t attractive, so she’ll naturally act in a ways that, from an outside perspective, would feel too small. The disparity between how she sees herself versus how other people see her ends up so huge and negative that it feels uncomfortable.
How this manifests is that when you spend time with a person like this, every second sentence is either them apologizing for themselves, or pre-lowering your expectations so that you won’t be disappointed by the person they imagine themselves to be. This is a lot of negative talk. And of course it will make no sense to you, because you don’t see the person they think they are. They think they have a thought-suit on that everyone sees, when in reality she’s the only person who sees it. (Everyone else sees their own personal thought-suit of her.)
We all know what a drag it is to have to constantly pump up or reassure someone. And it makes sense that it irritates people. It’s wasted energy. The person doesn’t need all that negativity in their life. They would rather spend time with the beautiful person, but they can’t if that person is always busy acting like an apologetic unattractive waste of time. Their egos get in the way of a nice time.
So why am I telling you this? Because man or woman, you’re the person in the story. Some of you are much worse than others, but every ego does this. Every ego needs other egos to exist. It needs to be fed stories about how great it is. But I would suggest something even better.
Know that you’re beautiful just the way you are. And then take the energy that you would have invested in wondering if that was true, and use it to help make the world more beautiful. Because in the most beautiful way, that will make you become even more beautiful yourself.
Big hug. Enjoy your day!
Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations locally and around the world.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.