Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Who Do You Think You Are?

When you are sitting alone or lying in bed thinking, who are you?  Or rather, who do you think you are? Do you tend to review the past several hours, finding fault either with what you did or what you didn't do?  Or do you congratulate yourself on your accomplishments, no matter how "small" they might seem to others?

In other words, are you your own worst critic or your own best friend?

How we talk to ourselves, how we truly see ourselves, manifests into reality. Unfortunately, the sword really can cut both ways.  Some people are never satisfied with themselves. They only find fault and shortcomings. They stop and admonish themselves internally at every opportunity.  "Why did I say something so stupid?" "How can he love me when I look so fat?" "I can't go to dinner with them anymore because they are so much more educated.  I will look stupid." "My kids are probably embarrassed by my looks or my lack of success." "We can't invite them over. Our house is nowhere near as nice as theirs."  The internal list of shortcomings goes on and on.  Oh, and on.

Then there's the opposite side of the spectrum. We all know some of these people.  We may even be one, but these people tend to not realize they are.  I'm talking about the people who think whatever they do is perfect.  They are smarter, richer, happier, have more talented children, a better sex life, and more exciting vacations that anyone else on the planet.  They never cease to tire of talking about themselves.  Never. If some lesser being has the audacity to actually try to get a word in, they are quickly interrupted by these people. Surely humanity does not want to hear opinion from others not as blessed! They always have advice, and they never wait to be asked for it.  Worst of all, they brag continuously. 

I used to think braggers had low self confidence.  Now I realize that's not always true.  Some of them actually do think that they are superior to most of us mortals and are only too glad to let us know it. They probably had parents that constantly told them everything they did was perfect, genius, and if other adults said any differently, those parents flew to their defense.  Ah, yes.  Your child came out of the womb perfect. Everything they touch is blessed.  Every thing they do is sublime, and they never have to learn from others nor should they have to work their way up. Because they are so exceptionally smart, they should be the president of any company they apply to, right out of college.

Remember the blog yesterday about balance? It applies here, too. We have to be very careful about self criticism, but we also have to be careful not to see ourselves as the exception to the rule.  None of us are more important than others.  Some of us are smarter.  Some of us are prettier.  Some of us are richer.  Unfortunately, not many of us are kinder.

We all need to develop skills.  That means listening to experts in whatever area it is we are trying to succeed in. It doesn't mean you are "less than" if you actually respect and learn from others.  It means that you are mature enough to realize that there is knowledge to be gained from those with experience.

Nor do we all have the capability to do whatever we damn well please and do it well.  It really irritates me when people tell children (or adults) everyone can paint.  Or sing. Or whatever.  Sure, everyone can.  Just, not everyone can do it well.  A good amount of people will never do it well, no matter how much they love it.  That's okay. Do what you love.  Just don't plan on doing it and making a living if you are not much good at it. Maybe it should stay a hobby.  That doesn't mean you're a failure.  If everyone could paint, it wouldn't be called a talent. It would be a developed skill that everyone could learn.  Yes, everyone can learn to paint.  Few have the talent to make the leap to being an artist.

Hey, I suck at singing.  I have always wanted to sing, though.  When I was younger, my voice was passable for karaoke.  I would never have won a contest, but I wasn't booed off the stage, either.  Now, as I get older, my voice has changed and I can't even do that.  I suck.  And that's okay.  I have other talents, and I still sing.  It just happens to be at home!

So, who do YOU think you are? If you fall on either end of the spectrum, I hope you take the time to slide along the scale to the middle.  You are wonderfully made, and have been blessed with unique gifts. There is a reason you are here and the universe considers you valuable.  On the other hand, the whole world does not owe you its stage for hours on end. Yeah, you are wonderful...but so is every other single person out there, and we all have a voice that yearns to be heard.

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