So I’m busy reading The Fear of Success by Jonathan Kis-Lev and I’m getting some real value out of it. The first thing to hit me so far is starting to identify what it is that I believe about myself. In a way, these could also have been words spoken over me that I’ve internalized.
A couple of memories have surfaced:
- When I was in grade 1 and there was a particular boy who’d been bullying me, and I was crying myself to sleep that night, my dad heard me crying and came to enquire about the issue. I told him about it, and dad, being a man, immediately gave me some self defense lessons. He left me to go back to sleep. Meanwhile, I started imagining the next day’s events, and the look on this boy’s face when I didn’t back down… and I started laughing. My dad, hearing me laugh, interpreted this as me having lied to him, and laughing at him for believing me.
- Fast forward to matric, and a my brother’s had organised for a whole crowd of us to go and see Star Wars. There was 11 tickets, including 1 for my mom, but not for my dad, who was away doing contract work. My dad returned early, so mom backed out, leaving 1 ticket spare. So the debate ensued about who would use the remaining ticket. When my brother came to fetch me, he’d brought his girlfriend with him, and I remarked “Oh, I thought you were too embarrassed to introduce her to the family” meaning too embarrassed OF THE FAMILY… of course she interpreted my statement to mean too embarrassed OF HER. They broke up as a result of this, and my boet didn’t talk to me for 3 weeks (which, when you’re a teenager, is like, FOREVER)
- Another 3 decades later, and I’m launching my book at Skoobs, and I find out that a comment I’d said to a friend’s recently ex-boyfriend was interpreted in a way I didn’t intend.
It seems that I’ve learnt that in order to be successful, I cannot be ME. I have to constantly consider other people’s point of view (which I can never know all the facets in their mind at the time), in order to not be mis-understood (and offence taken). When I don’t take this course of action, I tend to blurt out words (even F words) and the conversation goes off at a tangent and my point is all but lost!
Which boils down to “I cannot be ME”. And, I need to preempt others’ reactions in order to protect myself. If I am myself, I won’t succeed, I won’t be liked, I’ll be “found out” and I’ll lose friends. So long as I’m this “socially acceptable, nice to be around” person… all is ok.
Here’s my question – what if God designed or destined me to be the stirrer, cutting through the cr*p to get to the real issues?
I don’t know, it’s just a thought – because putting up a mask is exhausting.
PS – I’ve just watched Eric Johnson’s message on Authenticity Creates Trust, and he talks much about this topic, and while being authentic doesn’t mean we have to live “in a hole”, but we need to have the freedom to express exactly where we “are” in order to process the situation, which enables us to come to a situation of victory.