“A man walks down the street, he says ‘why am I soft in the middle now. Why am I soft in the middle when the rest of my life is so hard.’ ”
Paul Simon from the song: “You Can Call Me Al”
Here’s A great question: How do you survive at work as an adult?
The guy does everything he can to be nice, play fair, and work within the system, and before he knows it, the relentless drift of events has done everything possible to erode his self-image.
He looks back on his life and he wants to jump off a 10-story building.
He thinks about his 25 year-old-self and remembers being 10 feet tall and bulletproof, and he says to himself: “Boy, if I could invent a time machine, I would go back and tell that dumb son-of-a-gun a few things.”
Here’s a better question: “What would your 25 year-old-self tell YOU?”
A person I care deeply about sent me the uncensored version of this cartoon (He knew I was feeling down and he wanted to cheer me up).
At first I wondered how we got “here”.
I mean, I’m going to be 52 years old next week, and I’ll be very honest, I thought I would be so much further ahead than I am at this point.
My 25 year-old-self knew for sure that my 52 year-old-self would certainly be “kicking butt and taking names”, have his own private island in the Caribbean, and be a New York Times Best-Selling Author.
Not so much.
I began to reflect on the cartoon my friend had sent me and I began to ask myself about the seriousness of the implications it suggests.
Another question began to emerge: “Exactly WHEN did I begin bargaining with life instead of forcing life to bargain with me?”
Compromise is an important life skill to develop, there is no argument there.
But, have we compromised on who we truly are?
I suddenly and without warning, saw something in myself that I hadn’t seen before:
When I thought I was compromising, I was repressing.
Isn’t that what the cartoon above is really implying?
Perhaps, we have lost the ability to assertively and positively stand up for ourselves in a meaningful and productive way.
All at once, I have come to understand that repression is dangerous.
Let’s face it, emotions don’t dissipate. They have to be expressed!! It is a basic law of nature.
I became alarmed when I recognized the myriad of ways in which human beings finally express their repressed emotions.
Repression can take the form of any or all of the following behaviors:
- Drugs and alcohol abuse.
- Sexually inappropriate behavior.
- Aggression and anger management issues.
- Abusive or violent behavior.
- God only knows what…
For me, it seems to come out as overeating, poor food choices, and procrastination; often hiding behind movies with ice cream or pizza.
I am sad to say that I passively (aggressively) take out my feelings on my own body and mind because I don’t like myself very much when I give in to fear, doubt, and worry.
Once upon a time, I was a total rock star and I knew it.
I let that mindset get away from me.
I’m tired of getting my ____ kicked.
I hate it when I become whiney and feel sorry for myself, and quite frankly I’m done doing that.
The erosion of my self image snuck up on me, and now that I recognize that, I have implemented a plan to do something about it.
There is no shame in messing up.
90% of the things we try don’t work.
There is no shame in limping to the finish line.
Life can be brutal.
There is however shame in giving up on oneself and in refusing to give life your best shot.
We are here for a reason.
We are NOT here on rehearsal.
We are unicorns, lions, rockstars, and heroes.
We are here to lift each other up.
We are here to tend to each other wounds, and to make the world a better place.
So what do you say we do that?
I am committed.
I am ready to win.
Man am I ready to win!
It might be ugly; it might even be hidious.
But, I can handle it.
I’m tired of feeling old and beat up.
I’m done repressing my feelings, emotions, and fears.
It’s never too late. Let’s do this!!