“It’s very you.”
I’m cooking dinner and as I move towards the stove, I dramatically move my arm to pick up a wooden spoon and perform a perfectly balanced turn before leaning over my chicken curry.
My husband walks behind me with a giggle.
“It’s so you.” He says.
I pause. My chicken dish can afford the break from my excessive worries about the potentiality of its bottom burning. Is that really me?
You see, I no longer take for truth what people declare about me. Such a common thing to say lovingly “It’s so you.” Nevertheless, my desire to be unstained by other people’s opinions of me burns stronger than my need for external gratification.
Yeah, sure, I’d like for this little dance step in the kitchen to be me. So let’s look into it and make sure it really is matching my truth before I stick it to my forehead as an addition to the hundreds of other labels I’ve been given in my life.
No matter how big or small, how well-intentioned or not, labels are one of the truths we carry deep into our hearts as our own definitions and adjectives to define our personality, and our perception of who we are. They are not benign.
Has anyone ever said something to you about you with such conviction, authority, or maybe even charisma that you could do nothing else but agree? And then carried that non-truth with you as part of the definition of who you are, leaving feeling as the definition therefore imposed? And by definition, we all agree here that in most cases I mean limitation.
These comments are made casually all day every day. They are so common, that the speaker often forgets them as soon as they’ve left their mouth, much more concerned about themselves than a casual observation they make about someone.
We all do it. (Is that true? Question that too.) We comment, mention, judge, compliment, note, assess, and praise with the confidence of a world leader, often about people we barely know.
The nasty comments can cause long-lasting self-esteem injuries to the often unconscious and fragile listener. The nasty stuff is easy to pinpoint, and identify, even though not easy to forget.
But the compliments can be harder to track. It’s hard to turn down external validation, praise, and lovely comments about how we are perceived by others. On any given day, most of us rely on them to function, feel validated, feel seen, feel valued, and deep down… feel worthy.
Here’s the danger. When you rely on compliments to feel your own worth, you struggle to get out of bed on the day when the person(s) who give those compliments aren’t here. You can’t focus, you can’t think straight, and you certainly can’t gather the motivation to get to work on what you need to achieve that day.
And on the day when you most need it, like a job interview, an audition, an important meeting, the day when you stand on stage delivering a presentation to an audience, you end up feeling depleted of all your self-worth.
And your work falls flat.
And you wonder why you don’t believe in yourself more.
Your face is so full of stickers put on by other people to define you in every way possible that you likely forgot who you truly are.
You forget what is truly you, or not.
What is right for you, or not.
What you really believe, or not. And whether this might have changed since your childhood, since last year, since ten minutes ago.
Take some time to look at the stickers people might have put on your face and question them. Is that true for me, today? (the today part is essential, because beliefs, truths, and lives change, removing that word is denying the true nature of life, and that’s just insane in my opinion)
When you catch the words as they fly towards you, question them, and then make your own decision about what to stick to your face, you get closer to your truth.
And sometimes, you’ll find that the answer is simply yes, this is true to me. Just like my little dance move by the stove, in fact, it made my very soul dance, and its truth rang loud in me.