Day One: Who needs to be Profound?
I am making space for the possibility that this is just me, but I find that on days like today — which are supposed to be more meaningful than other days — there is a large pressure to be profound. Can I write a resolution or an intention for the New Year that is so salient, so raw, so important, that it affects not only me but the people who read it as it is blasted across social media channels? What if other people think my intention is stupid? What if, when I get up in front of all of these people and hold space and teach and lead, they roll their eyes — or as one person audibly said during a class one day, “ha. like what does that even mean?”
The psychology of it breaks down to something like this:
I need approval from people outside of myself to know that my goals are “good” or “right” or “valuable”.
My own belief in the worth of my thoughts is “not enough”.
I am not enough.
People need to see me as smart or funny or wise or graceful.
All of that, however, is exhausting.
As a teacher of mainly adult humans, it is a moderately terrifying act to speak in front of a large group of people very personally, and yet with enough vagueness that no one would ever guess the characters that I’m talking about directly. It is the height of vulnerability to wear no mask, to play yourself so fully, to speak words that come from the heartbreak and turmoil of being alive. Humans search for meaningful and authentic connection. Everyone wants to be treated with integrity. Everyone wants to feel that they matter, that another person truly sees them, that they are not alone in their experience. No one wants to be lied to. Even if we aren’t able to articulate it, there is an alarm that goes off in the mind and body when we feel someone is not being genuine. In the attempt to be profound, we force the opposite of true connection. If my intention is to go out into the world and speak these large platitudes to appear knowledgeable or wise or profound, the immediate reaction from others is that almost imperceptible energetic shift, the one that says, “I’m not sure if you can be trusted”. But if I go into the world with a more pure intention of telling the truth, of simplicity, of meaningful and honest connection, most of the time, people respond by meeting me halfway.
So, on the dawn of a new year, one I hope will be filled with more joy and less strife than last year, I’m embarking on a mission to offer my truth, my simplicity, my story. It will not resonate with everyone. Some people might actually hate it. But it is what I have to offer. Hard-won lessons turned into blessings. I’ve always considered myself a storyteller. I enjoy speaking and writing and creating visceral experiences for other people. On the onset of this, what is to be a 90-day intentional writing challenge for the new year, I aim to simply, and with integrity and grace, tell stories that matter to me. There is nowhere to go but forward.
See you tomorrow.