YOU CAN'T BE PERFECT AND LEARN TO DANCE
I was pondering why people have a difficult time accepting who we are, when we’ve decide to show up as ourselves and no longer play our customary role or “part”. When we’ve taken on a persona which we’ve created, that hides our imperfections, our vulnerabilities, our secrets, and we’ve been that “person” with our friends and family, we’ve become predictable. They’ve either accepted certain things about us, or not, but either way that is the person they expect to show up each time. When we do, they in turn can be in their role.
I’ve seen this most recently in my own family. Even when a sibling behaved very badly, as long as everyone knew that’s who “they are”, they had no problem with it. However, another sibling attempting to do the right thing and changing up the dynamics, doing something helpful for the group, is now seen as the “bad guy” because he stepped outside of his role. They know how to interact with us and to be in a relationship with us, when we stick to our part. The dance has been “perfectly” choreographed. Now if I let down my hair, and I show myself to the world, I am not as predictable anymore. My friends and family may not quite know what to expect or even how to act. I’m choosing to play me, not a role I’ve typecast myself into, and now people who’ve known me might feel threatened. They can no longer follow the same choreographed steps, I’m not dancing that dance. There are many more chances of a misstep, and no one wants to mess up. Now, either they can get angry and not dance at all, or they have to take a chance with their own vulnerability. Which will it be?
You may have experienced that when you are around your parents or with your kids or old friends. You’ll try something new that feels right, and step out of line a little and they in turn might say something like: “What’s wrong?” “Are you ok?” “You seem kinda different today”. Or they might think, yeah it’s probably because you’ve had a few extra drinks, that’s why you’re acting strange. So I think it’s important to understand that if we choose to show up as “me”, “you” , we need to be prepared for some resistance from those who have known us for a long time. Realize it is not rejection, but fear of having to be vulnerable, of making a mistake by saying or doing something that will reveal their own imperfections. Something we might consider trying when we know that someone we are close to and care about is hesitant and uncomfortable “showing up”, is to be supportive by taking the first step. Trying out new dance steps,even if we suck at it , or step on their toes, or look a bit goofy. Let’s dance!