Are You a Mass of Contradictions?

Own Who You AreLast Friday night was one of those nights.

One of those nights when you don’t stop laughing.

When you laugh so much the backs of your ears ache.

The kind of night you share only with long-held, trusted friends.

The kind who know you really well.

The kind you can be your true self with.

The kind you don’t need to put on a front, or wear a mask, with.

Finding Your “Tribe”

Except these weren’t old friends.

They were, mostly, brand new.

I had met all but one of them that morning for the first time.

We had shared an intensive, honest, wonderful day of training together.

Supporting each other and feeling supported.

‘Seeing’ each other and feeling ‘seen.’

I knew within the first half hour that I was going to get along famously with these women.

Our responses to the first group exercise had evoked a list of raw, colourful four letter words for the course leader to write on her whiteboard.

Nobody was putting on a ‘lady-like’ front for the lone male in the room, the assistant leader.

He didn’t seem to mind. Quite the contrary.

If anything, his presence made these women’s honesty and vulnerability feel even more raw and authentic.

They weren’t holding back.

These women were my kind of people.

I felt very at home.

Not surprisingly, we continued our camaraderie and connection in the pub afterwards.

We shared the kind of stories you don’t tell to people you’ve only just met.

And soon, the evening disintegrated into a riot of fun, juvenile humour and carefree, shoulder-shaking laughter.

And wine.

It was a night to remember.

I was still smiling to myself when I got home.

And it got me thinking.

What Made It Special?

Apart from the amazing company I was in, what made it so special?

It was this:

I had permission to be totally ME.

And I recognised what a rarity that is.

We have our professional face.

Our mum face.

Our wife face.

Our daughter face.

And the dozen other faces we wear at the appropriate moment of every day of our lives.

Maybe we show our ‘real’ face occasionally to a few, trusted, carefully selected, confidantes.

But we dare not show the wrong face at the wrong time to the wrong person.

That wouldn’t do.

Because then, ‘they’ might find out we’re not what we seem.

‘They’ might find out we don’t quite fit the mould we’ve carefully carved out for ourselves.

‘They’ might find out we’re a fraud (whoever ‘they’ even are!)

But what if we are what we seem?

And a whole lot more besides.

What if all of who we are refuses to be shoe-horned into a neatly labelled box?

What if we owned ALL of who we are?

Even when different aspects of our personality seem to contradict each other?

Even when we’re afraid some people might not like everything about us?

What I Learned from my Night of Riotous Laughter

I am a mass of contradictions.

And so are you.

And it’s okay.

In fact, it’s more than okay.

It’s what gives each of us our own unique blend of amazingness.

It’s okay that we’re:

A consummate professional AND someone with a juvenile sense of humour who snorts with raucous laughter over a glass of vino or three.

Shy and introverted AND gregarious and outgoing.

Serious and focused AND flirtatious and whimsical.

Responsible and irresponsible.

We can be all of these things and more, often at the same time.

It’s okay to be who you are.

ALL of who you are.

Without apology.

In fact, living your best life depends on it.

Try it.

It feels amazing.

Not Sure Who ‘You’ Are in Your Marriage Anymore?

Have you lost your sense of ‘you’ in your marriage? Are you yearning to get ‘you’ back, but you’re not even sure who that is anymore?

If so, get in touch and request a complimentary 30 minute Mini Clarity Session with me.

I’ll help you get clarity on what’s not working in your life and marriage. Then we’ll explore if working with me may be the right solution to help you make the changes you desire in 2017.

 

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15 Comments

  1. WOW I love what you say in here… I’m a walking contradiction… one one hand I’m a super intellectual, academic, rigorous and analytical person, yet I laugh explosively and love to dress in chic clothes.

    I’ve found that even in the most serious environments, being yourself makes you a legend. People respect me for what I give, and have fun with what I say hehehe

  2. Thanks for your comment Alejandra – so happy to hear you’re embracing ALL of who you are!

    And as for: “Being yourself makes you a legend” – LOVE that!

    • Thank you Roger, glad the post resonated. Yes, they ARE amazing women! And you’re right, it took a brave – and authentic – guy to hold the space for those women to be ALL of who they are!

  3. I’ve had a bit of an ongoing war with myself over this for quite some time, but you articulate it so well. I’ve sometimes felt that if I’m not being “all of me at all times in all situations” that I’m being inauthentic. But I suppose inauthenticity would be trying to be someone different than who you are in a given situation. We simply are different things to different people but they are all true!

    Love your blog so much! You always get me thinking the deep thoughts!

    • Thanks for commenting Andrea. You make a very good point – we do show different sides of ourselves to different people and in different situations. And they are all part of who we are. As you say, we are only being inauthentic if we are trying to be someone we’re not.

      Great clarification – thank you!

  4. Julie, Oh, you don’t know how right you are…or maybe you do. My marriage ended because I felt I couldn’t be totally me. It would be met with anger and criticism. I was smart enough to get out before the cancer scare became a reality…that’s how important being yourself is. Best thing I ever did and now we are actually best friends!

    • Thanks so much for sharing your personal experience Silvia. I agree, not being able to be who we are can have such a negative impact, not just on our happiness, but our overall health and wellbeing.

      Sounds like the decision to be yourself has transformed not only your health but your relationship – brilliant!

  5. Beautifully written and poignant food for thought! I’ve been deliberating all week over whether I’m an introvert or an extrovert – and the truth is I’m both! When I’m around people who know me well, I’m extrovert, but I love my own company and become energised by solitude and thought. I accept both sides of me. Thanks for the reminder 🙂

    • Thanks for commenting Sonja. Yes, I think I’m a mixture of introvert and extravert too, and as you say, it’s great to accept both sides of ourselves!

  6. This is so so true…and I love what you say. I’ve been married for 29 years and for the last 4 I’ve had therapy and am finally beginning to see and understand how much of myself has been lost in my marriage. My sense of self had been completely squashed and I’ve been dealing with the anger and resentment that has resulted as a consquence…I am a much stronger person now and more able to understand myself and my emotions and to assert myself… but I’m not sure I’d ever be able to truly ‘let go’ around my husband because he is so controlled himself. Please keep the blog going.

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