The Person vs The Performance

Dear Stranger,

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” – Maya Angelou

It has been a while, but as you know this beautiful thing called life has a habit of getting the way of even the most neatly laid plans. Not that I am complaining, every day that I draw breath is a blessing, but sometimes somewhere in the middle of it all I question whether it is me as a person or a performance?

Many who know me know that social situations are not my shinning moments. To honest like electricity, I find a ways to take the path of least resistance, especially when avoiding people. I will admit that I am a lot better than I used to be but nowhere near where I hoped I would be either. Naturally this leaves me mentally exhausted most days, with anxiety levels on 1000 from just trying to navigate the day. If that is not enough, all the chaos only leaves me feeling isolated and lonely.

Yet until recently I had not questioned the root of my behaviour when I saw it in someone else. They were feeling mentally and emotionally drained because they had not been themselves for the last couple of days. After talking about it more, I realised they were just doing their best to fit in and that there was some part of them that did not believe they would be accepted by the rest of the group. In that moment I saw myself in them (I would just like to mention that I am studying psychology and understanding people comes naturally to me. It’s understanding myself that is hard).

The reality is most of us are putting on performances. Saying yes when we want to say no. staying silent when we want to speak up. Hiding our truths, our inner most selves and only presenting the socially acceptable template that sets that standard for all our interactions. Sadly somewhere along the way, the pressure of the performance only leaves us feeling like what is real will never be accepted even though 1 Samuel16:7 says “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

So asked myself who are you living for? Why am I waiting for the world to accept me when I don’t accept me. A simple question but an honest answer is not always the easiest. Then I’m reminded of Psalm 139:14-16 that says I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

So I ask you today, who are you living for?

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

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