You want to change. You want to shed your past. You want to stop some things and start other things. You want to improve. You want to be better. You want to maximize your potential.
But the problem is who you are today. Once you make it past your issues you’ll be awesome. But as long as you’re like that—like the way you are now—you’ll just never really be able to fully relax and live the life you were meant to live. Right?
Okay. I’ll go with the fact that all of the above is true. Whether you’re conscious of them or not, you do have conversations with yourself that sound something like that. But your job isn’t to find answers to those questions and solve those problems. Because those aren’t even problems.
Those narratives are simply self-constructed judgments about other times where your personality did not suit a situation or circumstance. You’re talking to yourself as though you should always have a graceful answer to everything.
You think you should always know what to say or do. So when you don’t know what to say or do, then you are failing and that is a problem. That’s what you think.
But it isn’t a problem. You’re just misunderstanding. You don’t have any duty to the world. You don’t owe it anything. It’s just somewhere for you to be you.
First off, everyone’s a shape. The way you think of yourself is your ego which we’ll represent as the top, or table, of a diamond. That’s the flat part in the middle where all the other angles combine, which is why that’s where all the fire and sparkles come out.
The only problem with an ego is, you think that’s what everyone sees when they look at you, when in reality that’s just your version of you. That person only lives in your imagination. So you’re creating yourself in your imagination and that’s who you see as yourself.
Likewise other people all see you through their own thinking. And you have no control over that any more than they have control over your opinion of them. Influence maybe. Control, no.
Also: yes, everyone’s personal thought-judgment-view of you will absolutely distort you in various ways. Then again, you’ll do that to yourself too. That happens to everyone by everyone. Everyone.
It’s kind of what it is to be a human in today’s society. The cool, beautiful dramas are all inside The Matrix, where the egos are. And everyone brings their sense of themselves to that process so, as Anais Nin wrote, “We [all] see things not as they are, but as we are.”
The reason people will have such different views of you is because they will see you from different perspectives. So despite your constant efforts to polish it, in actual fact people won’t be looking at the shiny table of your diamond.
They will be down below looking at just few of your facets. Every person will see a different collection of facets, but they will only be able to recognize the ones they can see clearly, and any others that are relatively close to their perspective.
If it’s your grandmother she will not understand the perspective your peers have of you because that is hidden by the diamond itself. You know better than to let grandma know everything you do on weekends with your friends. 😉
And you don’t really want your friends knowing your grandma gave you a Tweety Bird onesie to sleep in either. And so that shiny, sparkling table to the diamond that you’re always polishing is in fact just the verb of you weaving all of the best views of you together.
The problem is –as with all of our egos– you want everyone to feel that way about you; to see the best in you. And you won’t be happy until they do.
Well. “…won’t be happy until they do.” The problem there is the word “they.” That means your happiness is in someone else’s hands and that indicates we’re lost. Because happiness is a feeling inside yourself that comes from your assessment of a situation and no one has control over that but you.
You keep striving to get better. And you do grow and improve, but you’re always focused on what’s unfinished —and of course that goes on until you die. You just never feel like you’ve done enough to be impressive enough to have earned to the right to relax as a full and accepted member of the tribe of humanity.
I’m here to tell you you’re safe. You always have been you’ve just been telling yourself otherwise. Because you’re not actually supposed to be better, or improved, or different than you are.
You’re always exactly, perfectly you. Some other egos might claim you need to be different for their sake, but in reality, being you was the only job you ever truly had as far as the rest of the universe was concerned.
There is an amazing collection of trillions of atoms that will only come together once, with that once being to create you. Yet, despite the simplicity of simply being ourselves, our ego will at other clumps of atoms and you’ll tell yourself a story about how you want to have their story instead of yours.
But of course just like people do with you —you can only see a few facets of the people you know. You have no idea what the other side of them looks like. So wanting to be them can be a perilous thing.
The risk of being them seem so much better than the pain of being ourselves. And yet nature made it painful to help remind us to stop thinking those thoughts. But instead we got addicted to the suffering and now we spend more and more time agonizingly trying be someone else, rather than just being who we really are.
Look, you have to be someone. You have to bring a perspective to bear, that’s what being alive is. Without that you’re entirely unconscious and I doubt you imagined enlightenment as a coma.
Enlightenment is being in the world without objection. No rejection of the world or of yourself. And how can you do this? Because you understand. What do you understand?
You understand that no matter how hard you or anyone else tries, all we see are a few facets of everyone we meet. We occasionally catch a bit of glint from some people and we assume it’s always like that, but that will be because we just caught them at the right time and from the right angle so they sparkled.
That same angle in a different context can go flat and dull. There is no way to be shiny from every direction all the time other than in your imagination, where your ego lives. But even it is under constant attack to improve. So just go quiet. It’s all just talk in your head anyway.
There is no need to feel guilty about who you’ve become. We all have to be someone.
The past does not need to hold us back even if it has been painful to deal with prior to now. Because every new moment contains a new now in which means you always get to keep making new choices about where to invest your consciousness.
Do not use your new ‘now’s’ to replay belittling, harsh or cruel things you or others have previously said to yourself or about yourself. It doesn’t do anything but make you weaker.
Yes, all humans experience negative reactions to who and how they are. All humans pay prices for who and how they are. But it’s also true that different people are good in different situations as well.
Our job is to ride out the people and situations we’re not good at, and move strongly forward in areas where we fit. Everyone will still judge us. But again, that’s irrelevant to having a healthy state of being.
Even the most successful people you know have people that hate them and that think they’re stupid. That’s just how the universe goes. The diamond can’t be well-rounded if it doesn’t have more than one side.
So stop trying to perfect. Stop trying to be someone other than who you are. Trust me, if you go quiet inside and just start loving yourself, and focus on the stuff that’s going great in your life, you will do all kinds of amazing growing without even trying.
Get out of your own way. Stop saying mean things to yourself and stop talking like your past dictates today. Wakes don’t push ships. Decide where you want your life to go, and then go that way boldly. After that, whatever happens happens.
No matter what, all will still be fine so long as you’re perfectly you. And it’s important to remember that, no matter what facet people see when they look at you, every one of them was forever, and always will be, looking at a diamond.
Have a fantastic day.
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.