A Company of One: Brilliant and Bumbling Happiness
Thursday, February 18, 2016
Around the conference table in my head sit all of my sub-parts. The overarching CEO provides the glue and the team-building for the motley crew of subcontractors: the responsible me, the funny one, the reflective one, the artistic one, the analytical one, the nudgey one, the empathic one, the goofy one. . . etc.
“Look,” the (my) CEO pronounces, “You all have a role, you are all employable, but lately you’ve been working at cross purposes and not listening to one another. It takes a village to raise oneself, as you all know, and as a masterpiece in the making we need cooperation. Our moves can look just as bold, when backed by all of us—even those who remind us of the caveats, the exceptions, and the threats–as can that of a wiseass gone rogue. But our outcome is likely going to be a lot better when we have thoroughly considered what generates all the problems and what all of the impacts of our actions will yield.
I know some of you interface with others (while some of you operate behind the scenes). And in that interface I expect you to remain true to the group; authentic. Presenting a false facet presents a false self. We need all of us because every situation calls for different strengths, a variety of nuances, and different levels of energy. If you are called upon then go for it, but don’t shame or guilt the rest of us. Check in if you feel unsure of what to do.”
We don’t show all of ourselves in every situation. We are like gems, multi-faceted, but fused into a whole. And not only a whole of our own parts (and a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts), but a whole in the broader netting of gems—families, communities, etc. When each facet is true, the interface between our facet and that of others, in context, is clean and clear. It represents our best at that moment; our most sincere and honest at that moment. It represents us as authentically as possible. If that facet is our responsible and dependable self then we show that with consistency, and not just when it will benefit us or manipulate a situation in our favor. When we lie, cheat, or deceive someone else, they may feel hurt or offended, but for us we have betrayed our own character; we have chipped away at our gem; we have marred our authenticity. It takes the encouragement of a courageous sub-part to help other facets reveal themselves when they are vulnerable or weak.
Falsehood, or the making of a false self, derives mostly from fear(s). We fear not being loved, not being worthy, not being good enough. We fear rejection and criticism. We feel overwhelmed. We feel nothing we do is going to garner the respect or admiration or love we so desire. We feel ashamed. As an adaptation to that we evolve a false self or false selves. These are “fronts,” or “acts,” or “facades” behind which our more vulnerable, sensitive, and insecure facets can hide. The result of false selves causes suffering. You might hear someone say, “If he/she only knew what I am really like, then she wouldn’t like me. . .” The false self betrays the true self. The sub-parts cannot cohere. When we present a false self we cannot trust others because we do not trust our real selves to be worthy or beautiful as they are.
We feel happy when we live fully alive, and instead of censoring ourselves, let the spontaneous laughter, the unfettered hug, the lament about our clumsiness emerge, freely expressed. All of our unabashed ignorance, our clumsy footing, our hundreds of aspects that miss perfect calibration are just as dear and expressive as any facet we cultivate to please others, to succeed, to get ahead. Be real and your beauty will serve you well. Those who love you will truly love you. Those who criticize or judge will be critical and judgmental, and mired in a place you do not need to live.