“When we strive to impress or outdo others, we strengthen the underlying belief that we are not good enough as we are.”
This is a powerful statement by Tara Brach, in her book, Radical Acceptance. Just to be clear, my intentions for sharing this blog are to evoke a feeling that will cause someone to recognize something in their life, put some light on it and lessen any isolation that they may be feeling. Possibly galvanizing a change in themselves for the better. Most importantly, I am not claiming a moral position or pushing my point of view.
First, writing has opened me up to an acute awareness of my surroundings and other people’s behaviors, as well as my own. It’s as if I have become so much more conscious and the fog that existed in my life was lifted. I am “Claritin Clear” and have become a better writer and person as a result. The lessons I’ve learned by observing others have been trans-formative and beneficial for me and my relationships. However, even with this new insight,
I find that the question about self-love remains…why do we base our self-worth by how we think we measure up to the perception we create of the other person? Especially when we know that perception is likely not the reality.
Assuming someone is a bitch is a great excuse to avoid talking to them for fear of being vulnerable or feeling insecure. “Creating an enemy imparts a sense of control-we feel superior, we feel right, we believe we are doing something about the problem. Directing anger at an enemy temporarily reduces our feeling of fear and vulnerability.” Tara Brach.
Secondly, it is important to note that all of us possess both good and bad personality traits, and to be a whole human living a whole-hearted life, we need to accept all aspects of ourselves and learn from the ones that create the most grief. Learning the difference between seeking internal and external validation has allowed me to see both the negative and positive aspects of my personality. Internal validation can be defined by seeking approval from within, as opposed to external validation in which we are dependent on gaining approval from other people. Flaunting material items to impress someone manifests from a deep level of insecurity. It is normal to seek acceptance and crave belonging, however, the way one goes about obtaining those can be questionable. Brene Brown states in her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, that “Fitting in is about assessing a situation and becoming who you need to be to be accepted. Belonging, on the other hand, doesn’t require us to change who we are; it requires us to be who we are.” Loving expensive materialistic items doesn’t make you an ass… it’s the intent behind wearing those fancy items that can display one’s level of assholyness.
My husband and I had an interesting experience a few years back that speaks to this point. We were out to dinner with an old friend and within 30 seconds we knew he owned 5 luxury cars, a collection of designer shoes, and wore very ostentatious jewelry. Owning those items and enjoying them is great. It’s the intent to impress us that was off-putting. This “friend” was so focused on trying to impress us that he was completely unimpressive.
Part of being “Claritin clear” is recognizing those unattractive characteristics that we hold and then being open to change them.
Here’s the love…
Disappointment and a false sense of self will result from depending on external validation. Impress people with your confidence, compassion and vulnerability… not your possessions.