Are you a hypocrite? Or just a human?
I think I just might be the most anti-social extrovert there ever was.
As much as I love to be around people, and am totally energized in groups, at events and parties and whatnot, I never feel “open” to talking to strangers in coffee shops, on airplanes, in the sauna at the gym. I’d rather just be left alone. Sometimes, and this is embarrassing to admit, I even wear my ear buds, even if I’m not listening to anything, just to send a clear leave-me-alone-please message to any friendly stranger that might dare talk to me.
And if I should make conversation with a stranger in line at the grocery store, or even the cashier, I sometimes actually shake with adrenalin or nervousness and while I am energized by it, I leave slightly trembling, maybe even sweat dripping down my armpits!
I see strangers making friends in public places and a pang of envy washes through me, for their easy, carefree connection and comfort with chatting it up with total strangers. Yet, some of my very best friends were strangers I was brave enough to talk to. And I create events for a living.
This is one of my many contradictions. I’m full of them.
And so are you.
And that’s what makes us complex, interesting and layered. That’s what creates our divine totality.
“Do I contradict myself?” Walt Whitman said. “Very well then, I contradict myself. I am large. I contain multitudes.”
Yeah, that’s me. That’s us.
Here’s what I notice: For some reason we’ve adopted this belief that we should be one or another of everything, that there is no room for being both or all things, yet we are designed to hold within us the full capacity of everything that is available.
Why must we be so “either/or” about every damned thing? We equate being complex and containing contradictions with being a hypocrite, because we have black and whited our world, our lives and our potential.
I’ve spent hours and hours, year after year, with clients, with friends, in relationships, in my own heart, on that tenuous tightrope of “either/or” thinking…
“Am I selfish or giving… logical or emotional… good or bad… right or wrong… gay or straight… honest or dishonest… bold or shy… scared or fearless… spiritual or sinful… left brain or right brain… doubtful or trusting… a little bit country or a little bit rock and roll… “slutty” or prudish… healed or wounded… tough or vulnerable… satisfied or yearning?”
I’m not quite sure how or when we as people started thinking we could only be one half of two opposites. When did we cut ourselves in half and why do we feel the need to limit the fullness of our existence?
It’s really kind of weird when you think about it. But that’s what we learned, that’s what we thought. That’s what we often believe.
Do you remember Highlights for Children magazine? There was a regular cartoon in there called Goofus and Gallant, about two brothers– one who did everything right, all the time, while the other brother (guess which one…) was consistently messy, selfish, rude, he didn’t put his toys away. He didn’t say thank you. He never said “please.”He threw rocks at birds.
This little cartoon, in spite of its good intentions to teach kids manners, is just one way I was imprinted, the imprint growing roots in my belief system that there is no room for extremes or contradictions within one person. As a small child just learning how to be what the world wanted me to be, I knew it was “wrong” to feel a little bit Goofus and a lit bit Gallant.
Can you trace back to a message or experience that taught you that you could only be one or the other of something?
And now… Can you entertain the exciting notion that you are everything?
I highly recommend it. For when you do, when you can, there is no more war. The battle is over. The forces retreat.
When you allow yourself to be the wide, vast and magical container for everything that you truly are, the game changes. The world, and your place in it, shifts.
You are made of curves and edges. Countless textures. A thousand flavors. Embrace them all.
You are designed to be spacious enough for every feeling, every possibility.
Your divine totality is vast and limitless and there is absolutely no reason that you cannot be a contradiction, or even a thousand contradictions, whenever you want to be.
Do tell! What is one of your contradictions that you are ready and willing to embrace?
Share in the comments below.
I’m working on other things right now so I thought many of you may like to read or re-read this blog, originally published in May, 2014.