Who are we really kidding?

September 20, 2010

Image: Craig Martin

Is there anything as scary as taking an honest look at ourselves?

Fear. It’s the reason so few of us are willing to look beneath the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves. Yes, we’re afraid others won’t like/love us.

But here’s the truth: we’re really afraid that if we face our truths, we won’t love ourselves.

So we stay in a state of protective denial by telling ourselves stories. And we all do have our stories. The ones that are about self-image, rather than self-worth.

But there are consequences to being dishonest with ourselves. {Yes, the tsunami’s going to come anyway.}

If we’re not squarely confronting our truths, there’s no way we can love ourselves. {Much less anyone else.} At heart, we know we’re not being honest, and in those invisible, deep places, we’re ashamed. But we put up a good front to the contrary. {A good offense is the best defense.}

Hey, we aren’t kidding anyone. Our friends, our kids, our partner already know, so we might as well come clean with ourselves. Because if we don’t, those relationships are going nowhere, fast. When they crash and burn we might revise history to save face, but the revision doesn’t change the facts. No, we aren’t fooling anyone. {Not even ourselves.}

The stories we tell ourselves about ourselves are obstacles to growth. They limit our accomplishments, our achievements. If our rationalization is that we’ve “always been this way,” then for sure we’ll always be that way. Soon, we’ll find ourselves getting mail from AARP and still walking in place, walking and doing the same things we’ve always done.

And here’s a good question: who are we taking down with us? Our children, who are learning just by watching? And who lose out when we do not face our responsibilities? Our spouses, who love us with open hearts but never get back anywhere near what they’re putting into it? Who deserve more? Our parents, who love us unconditionally and worry, worry, worry about what will happen to us when they are gone? Our work, which suffers when we act out? {Or are passively aggressive?}

Who are we taking down with us when spend a life hiding from ourselves? When we refuse to take positive steps — or define incremental ones as “great progress?” When we recreate history to protect our self-image? Rather than create it and, along with it, a sense of self-worth?


Happiness and fulfillment lie in looking at what’s true, forgiving ourselves our trespasses and loving ourselves with all the compassion we have in us. Considering the changes that must be made to support a more fulfilling and happy life. And making them.

Yes, it’s possible to change, even after AARP. Scary, but possible. We just have to be sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Hey, we’re safe and secure in our stories. Comfortable. Even if they’re dysfunctional.

Oh, in the deep, dark night the the truth sometimes pops up, fighting to escape. But some of us beat it down with all our might, like it was a demon out to destroy us. {It’s the ultimate game of Whack-a-Mole.} Sometimes, it’s the only passion we can muster up.

In our denial, we can even pretend to love ourselves.

So here’s the deal. There’s no change in needing to change. We all could use a shake-up from time to time.

What’s more shameful is being okay with living in our dysfunction.

Questions I’m asking today: {Yes, I ask myself, too. The examined life is hell.}

What truths are you avoiding? And what might be different in your life if you faced them? What would it be like to be really happy? Would you be willing to change to achieve it?

2 comments on “Who are we really kidding?
  1. Anonymous says:

    I think this is only SCARY if you do not love yourself. I think if you do love yourself then you will realized the value of having an open and honest relationship with yourself. At the end of the day YOU are all YOU really have in this entire world…not your husband, kids, pets, friends…it is all YOU baby! 🙂

    Namaste

  2. Yeah, I think that’s the point. You are exactly right.

    If you truly love yourself then you don’t need to hide from anyone. Including yourself.

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