I was sent this document and felt moved to share this with you based on how I want to continue to address our fear of showing people our creative selves….something to reflect on.
It’s Embarrassing To Be Yourself
Fear.less contributor and fellow writer Po Bronson blew my mind when he spoke of the “fantasy bubble” in which we encase our dreams. We hide our most sacred ideas and most comforting desires because it’s easier to shelter them on our shoulders as angels. To make them a reality, whether that means opening a blank document or starting a conversation, is to make them vulnerable. In our minds and when we are alone, our thoughts and fantasies are perfect,
whole and insulated. As soon as you take the first step to making them real, they are just a fraction of themselves. It’s disorienting, it’s not quite like you imagined, you’re confused, you don’t want to get caught, you shouldn’t have done it in the first place.
This is true of just about everyone, even if you’re type of person who says “I don’t have guilty pleasures because there’s nothing to feel guilty about” or “I am comfortable with who I am”. I started this by saying it’s embarrassing to be yourself, but it’s not, really. What’s truly embarrassing, and vulnerable, and exposing, is to show yourself. To show your enthusiasm and your sensitivity. If at your work, at your home or on your website, it serves you to be a 90% or 80% version of yourself, it’s easy to keep doing that.
It’s awkward to be the one who shows compassion to someone crying in the hallway, even though it’s probably worse to, you know, be the one crying.
It’s humiliating to divulge that what inspires or validates you is unusual for your age, gender or some other social norm, even if it really helps.
It’s embarrassing to confess that your fears and insecurities just keep coming back, even though it seems that way for most other people, too.
It’s shameful to admit that you haven’t taken any impressive steps toward what you really want, even though no one can support you if they don’t know, and even though it might not even be true.
This doesn’t always happen, and that’s actually what’s so bad about it. When we win a few easy victories, we can trick ourselves into thinking “Woohoo, authentic living! All eight cylinders ablaze!” Not to take anything away from small victories, which should be celebrated. But getting comfortable with less than we can achieve is less than we deserve. There is great satisfaction, fulfillment and power awaiting us on the other side of honest self-expression and deliberate vulnerability and that can be hard to keep in mind. What is your current level of sincerity doing for you? What would happen if you dialed it up?
Also, “authenticity” is a dodgy word that messes people up. I’m not trying to accuse anyone of being “phony” when I don’t even know you personally. But I do want to see what happens when people, including myself, don’t dial themselves back as much and surround themselves in support. Like Po Bronson says, “You need to be around people who think it’s okay.”
I’m glad we could talk about this. Well, I’m off to play some video games marketed toward children. It’s where I get my best ideas.
Executive Editor of Fear.less