As you all know, I’m recently returned from Chris Ducker’s Tropical Think Tank in the Philippines.
And again, as you all know, I took much away from the conference. But there’s one line that’s kept prickling on the surface of my mind and it’s this one from Matthew Kimberley:
You know you stand for something when you become simultaneously magnetic and repellent.
This, of course, has stuck with me because while I love the thought of being magnetic, it appears I cannot bear the thought of being repellent; of (*gasp*) people not liking me or what I’m about.
Which is a funny thing to admit because, in the same way I thought I had my perfectionist tendencies under control, so too did I think I had the whole ‘not everyone will like me’ thing under control too.
But clearly I don’t because every so often I’ll catch myself going to post something on Facebook or here on the blog … and then stopping myself. Because ‘someone’ might think it a bit self-indulgent. A bit overly ‘woo’. A bit eye-roll-worthy.
Oh god, please don’t find me eye-roll-worthy, that’s the worst!
Logically, (if you’re me) the next step is to get existential and wail, “if I’m not happy with being repellent do I even stand for anything then?”
The answer to which is: Duh, of course I do.
In a nutshell, I stand for people’s right to be their best selves.
Who could possibly be repelled by this you ask?
Well, lots of people.
There are many who think an ongoing desire for self-improvement is overly-indulgent navel-gazing. There are people who think that striving to be your best self is a very first world privilege and perhaps one’s time would be better spent helping those in need. There are people who are simply not strivers and feel judged and threatened by those who are.
And the sad thing is, when I write here on this blog, or on Facebook and Instagram, I write for both the people I know are on board with my message, AND the people who are not.
I weave perhapses and maybes right through the narrative in a pre-emptive move to placate those who I imagine to be at their keyboards ready to jump over any absolute kind of statement. I also catch myself writing things to please people I admire, but who are not my target audience in any way, shape or form. (Should they stumble across my blog, I definitely don’t want THOSE people rolling their eyes at my words!)
What does this all do? It weakens my writing. Weakens my message. And, most disconcertingly, it subtly tells my readers to keep their heads down and watch what they say too.
Be your best self, sure, but go about it quietly ok?
And this is not cool. That’s not the message I want to send. And that’s not what I stand for.
A couple of months ago I had a weekend where I was particularly not my best self. I was snappy and grumpy to my parents. I was surly and sarcastic to my siblings. I was standoffish with Ant and the kids. Worst of all, I spent the whole weekend thinking about myself. How tired I was. How I could really do with a bit more help around the house. How no one has any idea of or appreciation for how much I do to keep things running smoothly for my family. How woe it is to be me.
Contrast that with my best self.
She’s cheery – able to smile and laugh and roll with the punches. She’s thoughtful – able to see where someone else is struggling and lend a hand or a kind word. She’s resilient – able to deal with the stuff life throws up on a daily basis without spiraling into a dark, grumpy hole. She’s feisty, and will stick up for others. She’s patient. She’s happy. In short, she puts good stuff out into the world and in doing so, influences the people around her to do and be the same.
How ironic that some people see it as self-centred and self-indulgent to strive to your best self when there is little more self-centred a person than ‘not-your-best-self’.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: when we’re our best selves we’re best able to serve the world in a positive way.
And of course, it’s easy to see that the more of us there are serving the world in a positive way: being good parents, partners, children, workmates, friends, siblings etc, the better a place this world will be yes?
So there you go, that’s what I stand for: ongoing self-examination and self-improvement. Striving for self-actualisation. The fact that we should all know what we want from life and be able to go after that thing because happiness and contentment are worthwhile pursuits.
Those of you who also feel the above is worthwhile? Stick around!
Those of you who don’t … I’m going to do my very best to become super-repellent to you. Let’s see how I go!
Do you know what you stand for? Do you ever find yourself holding back on the good stuff you bring to the world for fear of being repellent?