It has been a while since I wrote a blog. It isn't that I had nothing to talk about. It is that I have had too much to talk about. That is the conundrum for a writer who blogs and writes about life. So, instead of writing, I simply shared inspirational pictures and messages on my Instagram (link), Twitter (link) and my Inspiration with Sean Puffy Brown page on Facebook (link). It is always rewarding watching people react to my messages which fills my need to interact and connect with other positive people. It has been easy to stay away from writing anything in-depth like I do for my blogs, but now I am here because of a nagging thought I have had bouncing around the good ole noggin. That is why we are here and why you are reading my ramblings (which I thank you for taking time to do so). A couple questions have been lingering for a spell:
Who are you when no one is looking?
Who are you when nothing is going right?
Who are you when there are no facades?
Who are you when you feel taken for granted?
Who are you when you feel used?
Who are you when you have a chance to get ahead?
As I think of those questions I thought about my recent trip to the Raiders vs Seahawks game here in Washington State. The picture you see is me fully repping my Raider (LA boy) pride. As I, my wife, my biz partner, and one of my wife's co-workers made our way to the game, I got to talk smack to the Seahawks fans as they talked smack to me, and I got to whoop-whoop with fellow Raiders fans. On that day the guy in the picture was who I was which is a contrast to my dance fitness guy I don on a daily basis. Even now, I look at this picture. It is me, and it is not me. This is the thing about those questions: what is the "real" answer to the questions?
I am me. I am both cold- and warm-hearted. I am both forgiving and unforgiving. I am honest and deceitful. I am complicated and simple. I am me. This is the thing about being "me": I have to understand who and what that means, not only to myself but to the world. Who does the world see when I am not looking? Who do they see when I am? I am me. But I am not just me in others' eyes. I am me in the darkest of times and the brightest of times in my own place.
But that isn't what it's all about now, is it? It is about how you emerge from the depths of the darkness, the struggle and the lowest of lows. That's the thing those previously mentioned questions really were intended to reveal. Who am I? More importantly, who are you?
Many of us find ourselves in various states of interaction with the world. We fall back to our comfort zone in most cases. We fall back to the "I am" when push comes to shove. I ask myself if I was honest with me as I climbed the steps back up to the light, or did I do things, say things or not do/say things that I, inside, can be proud of when I look in the mirror? That is the trick of life, isn't it? We are always climbing and adjusting to the way life is and the way life hands us its "lessons." This brings me back to the point of this blog which is being true to yourself.
There are very few things that we can control in life. We can't control the weather. We can't control other people's actions and reactions to the world. We can't control death. We can't control life. We can't control why the Raiders can't seem to get over the dang hump or how the Patriacheats get away with cheating so much. Yes, I hate them. We can't control that either. Sport hate aside, the only thing we can control is how we react and act to what the world brings to us. Yes, we can control ourselves. Asking the question of who you are is getting to understand that the core of you is always the same no matter what is going on around you. To illustrate this I want to show two variations of the same picture.
When we are happy, "on", in the zone and the like, we are vibrant and full of color. There are things that radiate from us and things that catch your eye. It is us, in all of our glory.
When we are guarded, down, "off", sad and the like, we are void of color, vibrant colors to shine bright. Nothing stands out. It all just blends in, unlike our brighter days.
Here's the thing about those two shots. The only difference is the color. Look at them again and notice everything is the exact same with the exception of the colors. And this is what represents us because it is not the color that makes us who we are. It is, instead, the city itself. The buildings, the attractions, the highs, the lows are all part of the foundation of each of us as a "real" person. This person is the one we have to get to know intimately and learn to trust fully. But how do we do that? Well, I'm glad you asked. Let's make a list of 7 things we all need to be true to one's self:
1. INTEGRITY TO SELF-
They say a person's word is his/her bond. It is the most important aspect to a solid relationship. Being truthful to one's self and honest to one's "own" truths will allow a person to do things honestly. One has to answer to the person in the mirror.
2. PERSONAL PRIDE
Pride in a one's own word and how he/she is represented in the world can, more often than not, alleviate undo stress(es) added by outside influences. When we have pride in our self we tend to go out of our way to do what is right to our own being.
3. SHARE JOY
When a person embraces the things he/she enjoys and shares it with others he/she begins to truly embrace the foundation of his/her own happiness. The truth about joy is when we speak it from the heart it simply flows and the feeling of sharing authentically becomes addicting.
4. AVOID THE BLACK HOLES
Black holes are those relationships/friendships/conversations that drag a person into a place he/she doesn't feel comfortable being his/her self or speaking his/her truth. It can happen in group settings where everyone has one opinion and the person has a different one. Continuously being in those types of communication circles makes it easier and easier for a person to simply stop sharing his/her truth. If one is not comfortable expressing his/herself honestly then one should find new circles to communicate in.
5. CO-MINGLE STORY-TIME
One of the biggest lessons I teach my son is that he must socialize with many people from many different backgrounds. Sharing one's story with others instills pride in what one has honestly accomplished. It also, and more importantly, allows us to hear and experience life through others' eyes. This isn't the "one-up" type storytelling that turns into whale-tales and exaggerations. This is about sharing real-life events, wishes, joys and the such.
6. STAND ALONE
This might be the hardest thing for most people to do because we live in a world where we crave acceptance and belonging. Sometimes one has to be willing to stand on the mountain alone with his/her truth. Having conviction isn't a fault. It's a strength in most cases which brings me to.....
7. BE WRONG
If standing alone is the hardest thing for people to do, then being "wrong" is the next hardest. Being honest to self is also being honest with what one knows, doesn't know and incorrectly knows. When one co-mingles, shares his/her joy and has personal pride, one learns more about not only his/her POV but that of others which lends itself to us evolving as people. Remember, solid foundation isn't borne out of success but failure. It's okay to be wrong.
Now I can go on and add more lines and suggestions to this, but the truth is that being true to yourself is fairly easy when we think about it. Life isn't complicated. We, the humans, make it complicated with expectations, misinformation, misunderstandings and ulterior motives. Take away those things and we find ourselves in a much happier place internally. When we are happy internally then we spread it externally. Being true to self does that for each of us... when we allow it. In fact, it makes me think of another picture I recently took.
No matter how many things are going on in life or how many things are available to us, we are the one constant in it all. No matter if you stay on shore, go down the ramp, get in the water, stay on the dock, step on to the beach or set out on a journey across the sea, you are forever you. So, don't let the enormity of life make you forget that you are an enormity IN life, and the real you is the only thing you need to be.
That being said, when I started this post and looked for the pictures I would share I had one that resonated with me more than all the rest. The Raiders picture is me, but it doesn't represent all of me, and it doesn't represent fully the point I want to impart here with this blog. You see, what we are on the outside is only part of our story. What we are on the inside is what matters BUT we have to be both. With that thought, what am I when it is all said and done? Am I special? Am I unique? How am I and how can I be true to what that is? I bring this last photo...
Each of us are nothing more than this little flower (or is it a weed?) among the masses. In some ways we stand out and in others we blend in. In our lives we are all the center flower with the rest of the world being players in our own show. This is who I am. This is who you are. This is very much a life truth. We exist as we are and the only thing we owe anyone or anything is that truth. The sunset and layers may make this shot beautiful to the eye, but the little flower/weed will still be standing there no matter what is going on around it.
That is it. Be you no matter what is going on around you because, in the end, only you can live your life. Be amazing friends. LETME!