Ever stopped to wonder if you’re doing what you’re doing because it’s what you did yesterday (and the day before that, and the day before THAT)? What percentage of the way you interact with the world is your conscious choice, rather than your programming?
Some would say we are the sum of our habits, and Keith Clarke is one of those people. His blog Breaking The Habit of Me challenges us to take back the reigns. When Keith sat down to read my recent post Living in Alien-Nation, he decided his Representative was no longer going to run his life. He didn’t just click a link in Google Reader, peruse an article, and go back to doing exactly what he has always done. Keith instead chose to switch off the auto-pilot and wrangle with some serious questions in today’s guest post. What have YOU lost by not showing up in your own life? I hope you’ll join the conversation:
Scared To Reveal The True You?
12 Reasons To Take Charge Of Your Representative
I read two articles that have had a massive impact on me. And I wondered - could they have a similar impact on you?
I believe that these two articles outline a serious flaw in the thinking habits of many of us. This thinking comes from a fear of being our true selves because of the possibility of rejection by others.
I know you are busy and I am asking you more than maybe I should, but these are profoundly powerful insights that you should hear.
You need to read the two articles first or what follows will have no context
The articles are Living In Alien Nation and My Representative.
(I have written this as a response to the author, and it should be read in that context.)
I resonate so much with what you are saying but it freaks me out - in a good and a bad way. Firstly, whatever I say following this sentence is NOT meant to be patronizing (THAT is my representative speaking for me).
I have spent my whole life in this place.
That is why your two articles hit me so hard. Firstly, you are in no way alone [Note from my Representative: Remember earlier caveat]. Regrettably, I see this in many people, including myself.
1. Ulterior Motives
Every one of us has them, and they are not always nefarious. For example: Am I going to feel better about myself? Gain something from this? Look good in someone’s eyes? Etc. You included. We are human. We need validation. What is f#%ked up is we don't look for our own validation first (or, we don't trust it).
2. Personal Dysfunction or Societal Dysfunction?
It doesn't matter! You are self-aware enough to know the 'dysfunction' is there. That is evident. Whether you like it or not, it is up to you now. The door is already open. And yes, you are happy about it now, because it is the comfort of the known. It is the unknown that scares you.
Every rejection you received externally was firstly an internal rejection that you just sought validation of externally. You expressed yourself perfectly with: "We all have this dichotomy; it’s the human condition (though of course we are convinced otherwise). What’s even worse than being unacceptable to others…is being ashamed of your own feelings, and the mask you hide behind." So I know you know this, but bear with me :)
4. Our Representative
What we hate most is that they are good at their jobs. And that disgusts us. We have this twisted admiration for them and hate them at the same time. Why? Because the better our representative is, the less we are ourselves. The name of my representative is Keith. He currently has more entitlement to my name than I do because he has been stronger and more in control than I ever have up to now!
5. Being Fake
Every time we feel we are being fake (and we know when this is) our representative gets stronger. Every time they get stronger we feel safer behind them. It is a downward spiral that the "I" needs to break before we become lost and end up inserting ourselves back fully into the Matrix. Sorry if the reference is too 'geeky,' but it is the most fitting I can find.
I have never truly been able to trust anyone, because I can't trust myself. I know this. As you said, I know my own M.O. now. This is merely awareness, however. It truly has to translate into action before it becomes useful. And most action - I am coming to learn - takes risk.
7. A Representative is NOT a Bad Thing
We do have to remember, though, that the Representative works for us. And we call the shots. What has happened with me is I have let the Representative become the leading entity. The creator of my identity. From now on, he’s allowed to advise, but I need to make the final decision on how he portrays me. And not how he portrays him.
8. Perceived Threats
The threats we feel every day are part of our spiritual journey, and our growth. Or else they are just another way of giving unilateral power to our Representative. But it is up to us.
9. Is Our Representative Truly Representing Us?
For some time the Gandhi quote, “One man cannot do right in one department of life whilst he is occupied in doing wrong in any other departments. Life is one indivisible whole” has kept coming into my head. This is where the 'representative' f#%ks us up! We get caught up in being good at what we are doing, rather than being good at who we are. Yes, our Representative can do stuff that we can't. But do we like what they are doing? Have we sanctioned it from the core of who we are?
I think we all use dissociation as a defense mechanism. I don't believe that this is a bad thing in and of itself. There are times when it is critical to our survival through periods of serious trauma. It enables us to get through, function and survive. But if it becomes a habit, and distances us too far from who we truly are, then I think we are more dangerous with our representatives than we are without them. Every heinous act in the world by a human being - I believe - is founded on the strength of that dissociation. It is a way of finding validation in something other than ourselves that gives us some kind of respite from our own fears. From our own self-doubts and self-recriminations.
11. Reality as Illusion
There are many religions that talk of the illusion of reality. And it is possible to adopt that perspective through periods of our life where it works for us. But I think the universe, the natural laws or way of things has a way of bringing us constantly back to ourselves. We cannot avoid ourselves. We have to be faced. And we have to embrace our dark side as well as our good. We have to accept the whole. Only on that acceptance, of the good and bad in us, can we see what really is illusory in our lives.
12. Accepting Ourselves
I thought long and hard about whether to start blogging under my real name, or to go anonymous, or use a pseudonym. In the end, I chose to come clean. This in no way is a judgment on you (and I understand your personal reasons for this). I decided to take the risk and crawl out of my cage (against the advice of my representative). In fact, this comment is probably more soul-baring than any of my posts so far (and I can hear my representative screaming in protest). But, if I am to let go, and to be me, then I need to push the boundaries. To shake things up (as Vishnu says).
Your final line is probably the most hard-hitting:
"What it tells me is that ‘I’ feel soooo unsafe in the world that ‘I’ can't bear to show up."
I don't know about you, but I am tired of this. Are you with me?
[Note from my Representative: Please do not take any of the comments above personally. These are the expressions of my client at this moment in time - and I am concerned at this time for his well being and understanding of how to play the game that every sane person 'should' be playing based on society's rules]
Thank you for a deeply personally inspiring couple of posts (that is ME speaking).
So, there you go. This article started out as a comment that has actually turned into a guest post.
(Thanks Bri for the opportunity to write for your inspiring blog)
Some questions for you now: Do you show up? Do you have a Representative running the show? Where are YOU in all of this? And how is that working for you?
Wow, Keith - what a post! I was just as inspired about Bri's 2 posts and really questioned the role of the personal representative in our lives. I'm more in line with the whole reality is an illusion concept. So it's not just our personal representatives who are living in the illusionary world but the whole world is illusionary:)ReplyDelete
And I think another way we can define our representative is simply this way - it's our ego. For me, and I think a lot of spiritual practices, try to break down this personal representative and take it for what it is - just ego. Then, we can try to chip away at this ego to get to the real us. Living that real us is living an authentic life for me. I'm nowhere near that point but that's my journey...if all this makes sense at all. lol
Thanks for this thoughtful post and for examining the role of the personal representative in your life.
Makes perfect sense, and the word you used, "authentic", pretty much captures it.