Truly. Who are you, deep down in your cream-filled center? If you had a five minute interaction with a complete stranger, would she come away knowing the you that you want to make known? In those five minutes, would your words and actions be in line with your core beliefs and ambitions? For me the answer is – sometimes. It depends on the stranger and the day and time that I meet her.
Different versions of me abound and sometimes it’s good to take a look at myself and figure out just exactly who I am and who I really want to be. Once I clearly know who I want to be, my daily thoughts, communications and actions take on a whole new level of importance because who I am is made up entirely of what I think, say, and do.
I can feel all kinds of physically fit, but if I’m not moving my body and the bottom tier of my food pyramid is chocolate, then my feelings are not in touch with reality.
Companies call it brand messaging. Most people think of it as identity. When it’s consistent, it’s called integrity. Are you the same person inside and out, at home or out in the world? I’m working on it and I spend a lot of time thinking about it, questioning myself, “Why did you say that? That’s not who you are. You’re better than that.”
I started thinking about this as a topic for a post when I recently overheard a third-grade belching contest that never really got off the ground.
I was walking Magoo home from the bus and one of his friends started burping with an intensity that only comes when someone is playing to a captive audience. I was several feet ahead of the impact zone but could feel the vibrations of her massive air expulsion. She giggled.
“Now it’s your turn, Magoo.”
“We’re not in class anymore. We can burp as much as we want.”
My ears perked up at this interchange. Like I said, I was several feet ahead, talking to my four-year-old, and I’m pretty sure Magoo and his friend thought I couldn’t hear them. But, do you know how loudly eight-year-olds whisper?
“Yeah,” Magoo responded, “But if we start acting like that here, it will be hard to remember where we are and we’ll end up doing it at school and getting in big trouble. I’d just rather not do it at all.”
My jaw dropped to the ground. My son? Turn down a belching contest? Because he didn’t want to live a duplicitous life? Pure parenting gold. But it wasn’t just parenting gold, it was a good wakeup call. Because there are certain things I don’t think I should do but I do them anyway. Sometimes. If conditions are right. And you know what? It spills over.
So maybe I don’t want to criticize others harshly, but it’s okay to notice people’s faults. How could I not? And it’s probably fine to vent to my husband, seeing as we’re married and all and toxic negativity can’t possibly affect my spouse, right? I’ll probably never vent to someone other than him. Almost for surely not. Mostly. Unless I forget who I’m talking to. Oops.
Of course I can’t expect to be perfect all the time, to be consistently consistent in all my thoughts, words and actions. But if I’m not thinking about it, not trying to know who I am and be who I am, wherever I am, then I’ll just be a third grader belching at the wrong time and getting sent to the principal’s office. That is not my jam.
So think about it. Who are you? What about when you’re stressed? Are you still you then? What about when you want to impress someone? Is the you you’ve created good enough or do you have to pretend to be something else? Decide who the best you is and make her amazing, someone you’re proud to be every day.