Rihanna, Mick Jagger & the Fear of Being Your Real Self
"All the crazy stuff you do, even when you feel like you're being awkward; that's the BEST part of you. I guarantee you somebody thought Mick Jagger was weird when he started performing, but Mick Jagger is dynamite on stage because he is not afraid to do anything." - Rihanna
We're all afraid of being our real selves. We're afraid of being shunned, or ridiculed, judged and/or talked about. We're afraid of not being understood, or valued or accepted by the group.
We're afraid that the people we want and need to love us the most, will abandon us if we start really loving and honoring ourselves.
We can almost feel them whispering behind our back, "who does she think she is to love herself that much?"
The thought of not being loved and accepted can feel like too heavy a cross to bear. So we learn over time how to silence what we really want to say and how to hide the ways in which we long to be seen. We begin to feel bad about the parts of ourselves that seem different from everybody else and in doing so we buy into a destructive story that somehow we're not good enough.
We want so badly to fit in and feel good that we exchange all the things that make us unique and resign ourselves to living as a watered-down version of our most powerful and authentic self.
Susan B. Anthony once said, “Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputations can never effect a reform.”
Whether you're trying to effect a global reform or a deeply personal metamorphosis; cautious and careful, playing it safe, hiding the truth of who you need to be, never really gets the job done.
In all my years of helping people get unstuck, one of the common factors I see from those who feel hemmed in, is the longstanding habit of 'going along with' [our family, our friends, the other mommy's at school, a lover, our colleagues, the cultural norm], so that we may feel accepted and loved and understood.
This approach, my friend, never works.
It never works because no external force can give you what you don't have enough of yourself.
You can't attract authentic, meaningful relationships without being your real self. You can't attract great love if you're disrespecting yourself. You can't expect greatness when you're hiding parts of yourself.
Although it might not feel this way to you when you begin, the path of least resistance towards learning how to enjoy your life, always comes by way of loving your whole self.
The way towards personal reform is to cast aside caution and concern and let your real self out.
Steven Pressfield in his book, Turning Pro, addresses the calling some of us have to let our Real Self out as Turning Pro. Here's his powerful take on it.
"When we turn pro, we give up a life with which we may have become extremely comfortable. We give up a self that we have come to identify with and to call our own. We may have to give up friends, lovers, even spouses.
Turning pro is free, but it demands sacrifice. The passage is often accompanied by an interior odyssey whose trials are survived only at great cost, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. We pass through a membrane when we turn pro. It hurts. It’s messy and it’s scary. We tread in blood when we turn pro.
What we get when we turn pro is, we find our power. We find our will and our voice and we find our self-respect. We become who we always were but had, until then, been afraid to embrace and to live out."
We're all afraid at times to let our real self out, but what we get by releasing ourselves from the ties that bind is the chance to know our greatest power, our greatest life, the chance to test the waters of what's possible for us.