I recently read a post on Johnny B. Truant’s blog that really hit home. So much so that I wanted to do two things: share it with my readers and 2) think on and write about each piece of his post. The post is “20 Truths About Life No One Wants To Believe” and the seventh one I am going to tackle is:
7. You should always be yourself.
Ask any gay person if they’d rather go back into the closet and go back to pretending to be someone they’re not. I’ll bet you don’t get a yes. It’s always better to be open about who you are, what you do, what you like, and what you want out of life. I don’t mean to open a can of worms on this one, but sex is a huge issue here. We had a whole episode of our podcast about this if you’re interested. Just be warned that it is EXTREMELY NSFW AND NOT APPROPRIATE FOR CHILDREN. (You’ve been warned; click here to listen.)
Whether or not you click over and listen to Johnny’s podcast, his advice is sound.
When you pretend to be someone else you send a message to yourself that what and who you really are isn’t okay. That somehow you’re not good enough.
The only thing that isn’t good enough is one’s behavior.
The call to “be yourself” isn’t an invitation to be an @sshole. The imperative to be a good and honorable human being always endures.
What I’m talking about it is different. We’re all unique and special, and that’s what makes the World an interesting and exciting place.
We just need to make sure we’re being a decent version of ourselves. I say this because we sometimes confuse who we’re being with who we are.
The example Johnny offers of a gay person is striking, but useful. Most times, the choice we face isn’t so stark.
We often go-along to get-along, but sacrifice a bit of ourselves in the process. We do these things to meet needs. We, as humans, need to be included and accepted. This is a vestige of our time on the savannah where solitary humans perished. We are hard-wired to connect and join groups.
We don’t however have to remain a part of a crappy group. I can assure you that you can meet your real, human, needs for connection and belonging in healthy ways. You need not sacrifice your true self to resolve the cognitive dissonance created by associating with jerks.
And by “jerks” I mean everyone from the true @ssholes whose behavior really does suck to folks who, are truly nice, loving, sweet people but operating from places of weakness, hurt or ignorance.
Perhaps I should call them non-resourcefuls. People that, for whatever reason, in myriad ways, are consistently not accessing the amazing resources we all have as humans.
The cognitive dissonance I speak of is the difference we all must resolve when relating with others: we cannot spend (much) time with someone, or a group, and consistently hold divergent views.
What we do do, generally, is gradually (and unconsciously) adopt the views of the other or group. To not do this is to reject the others, and our need for belonging negates this.
The way our human psychology works is we need to understand and be congenial with those we spend time with. This is why it is so, so important who we spend time with – choose wisely.
I am realizing I could on and on here…
Let me sum up by saying that you are wonderful and perfect at your core. Don’t try to make yourself happy and meet your – undeniable – human needs by settling in your associations (i.e. your friends, even your co-workers). Who you surround yourself with matters.
And, while you are perfect and infinitely resourceful, your behavior matters. There’s a way to live that is ethical, honorable, sustainable and authentic.