I chatted with a close and dear friend of mine today, and he told me that he thought that doing some performing would help him deconstruct the barriers he’s put up around himself from being too self conscious. As the day went on, I kept thinking about it; being self conscious and erecting walls. My friend was responding to my having recently leapt from my comfort zone to create and perform The Princess Show, and I thought to myself “I’m really self conscious, and I’ve got crazy walls around me too.” In fact, I put myself out into the world with self consciousness and walls fully intact for all to see and inspect. It’s kind of what the show is about. Sort of. I think we’re all self conscious and we build walls to help protect us, but recognizing how and why we are can make a big impact. We can move to a more comfortable state of self awareness. The difference? Self consciousness implies inner judgement, self awareness implies self acceptance.
In the end, I do indeed recommend creative expression as a way to get out of your own way. In art and life, people want to see a person for who they really are; vulnerable souls. People want a genuine connection. Communion. To give that to one another we have to be willing to show ourselves fully, and say “This is who I am.” When the haters inevitable rear their ugly heads to judge and discredit us, we’ve got our walls to keep that shit on the outside.
Maybe we don’t need to completely destroy our barriers, we just need to learn how to open the gates and put the psychological National Guard at ease. Let ourselves wander the surrounding lands and invite the beauty that lies there inside.
Interested in reading more about vulnerability and shame? Check out Brené Brown – a wonderful Researcher + Storyteller (awesome title) who has dedicated much of her work to the topics. She has several books well worth reading but you can get started with her Ted Talk for a quick 20 minute boost to your perspective.
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