We strive to feel connected. To belong.
It’s not a surprise we try so hard to conform to societal standards. But do you ever wonder who is building the construct? We advertise belief and preference just by existing. We build the constructs with every choice we make.
“Who are you?”
Chances are you have difficulty answering this question. It’s a big question! How many decisions do you make based on popularity? How many times do you follow recommendations blindly? We tend to do what makes us feel connected.
Decide who you WANT to be. Realize what you do matters. Your choices create the standards people will conform to tomorrow.
When you know who you want to be, choose your friends wisely because they influence who you are. This is an important concept because they help you become a role model for others to follow.
My guest today is Lizzi Lewis. She encouraged me to run this series and has written several inspiring pieces:
Llizzi is challenging harmful constructs and connecting with people who help her build better ones.
She challenges me to #BeReal
When Hasty asked me to write about something I’m passionate about, I ran through all the causes I try to support or lend my input to, and no single one of them seemed strong enough to really tell you about – there’s not one mission or effort I care deeply enough about to really pin my colours to the mast about it.
Then I realised; it’s PEOPLE. The thing I’m most passionate about is people.
It might well be something to do with my inherent (and burgeoning) extrovertiness – I absolutely love being around/near/with people. I get energy from it, and I love interacting with people in real and online – those connections awesome, and those which deepen into friendships are wonderful and meaningful and beautiful.
But further than that, I can’t help the edges of my mind sneaking away from me and beginning to encompass all the people who I don’t know in real, and somehow I begin to care about them, too. I care about orphans in Eastern Europe. I still wonder about the people in Nepal…Haiti…China…Burna…. I still wonder whether all the Nigerian schoolgirls were found yet and reunited with their families. I still worry that Princess Kate isn’t going to get the chance to just sit around and bond with her kid. And more, I worry about the huge huge numbers of people who struggle big, huge struggles, whose hurts are insufficient to be newsworthy, and who don’t have people around them to help.
Everyone’s fighting something – we all hurt for something – and I hate when people hurt. And worse, when they hurt other people. I kind of feel that my mission in life is to love, because Love Wins, and to care for/about/ near as many people as I can, and to inspire others to care about other people, too…because if we all care for the people near to us, then eventually it will go full-circle, everyone will be looked after and loved, and no-one need be lonely or outcast or harmed, because we will all matter.
And TOGETHER WE’RE STRONGER!
What does being real mean to you?
It means trying to accept the messy, complex, damaged individual I am, and make the best of it, and know that others will also accept me, that further others will reject me, and that amidst those dichotomies I need to learn to find a place where neither of those things matters to the point that my self-esteem and self-worth lives or dies according to how others find me. And I need to make sure that my OWN view of myself isn’t one which harms me – I’m learning (slowly) to cut out the BS and embrace the good bits.
How do you think people see you when they only have an image to go by?
I think they see an image they expect to be highly self-edited to attempt to convey a particular attitude. Hmmm…someone a bit fun and funky, and perhaps not a person to take themselves too seriously.
I want them to see someone they think is awesome and beautiful and fit; someone they want to know more.
I hope they don’t ever see what I see – someone desperately trying to fit into an image which might render them acceptable, and who is failing on every level, because no amount of pictures are sufficient to sate the monster ‘inadequacy’.
And what do you think people are most surprised to discover about you?
You’d have to ask them! Maybe at how rude I can be sometimes (if I’m in the right (wrong?) mood). Or that I really don’t like chocolate that much. Perhaps…they might be surprised by how much I struggle with self-image. Which, ergh, sounds like humble-bragging now (so I’m feeling a bit wobbly about that) and it’s not meant to be…but I grew up being very belittled and bullied at home and everywhere else, for how I looked (amongst other things) and my experiences in life have since reinforced my status as someone who is ‘less than’ and ‘repulsive’…so I’ve come to own those, because they were so consistently pushed at me from all quarters. Trying to get through that mind-set and out into the sunshine is TOUGH.
*I* am most surprised to find that I’ve begun to believe my own PR, so in spite of all the times I go on about being self-edited and that I’m not that nice of a person, I’m often surprised and disappointed when it transpires I’m actually not. I’ve had a few experiences lately where I’ve been shown a rather damning view of myself, and I kind of hope that I can somehow sort myself out so that I don’t turn into someone horrible. I least of all want to be that.
Guess I’d kind of like to be as good as many people think I am. Or might be.
Or could be one day, if I keep trying very hard.
Lizzi is a Deep Thinker, Truth-Teller and seeker of Good Things. She’s also silly, irreverent and tries to write as beautifully as possible. She sends glitterbombs and gathers people around her – building community wherever she can.
If you like the idea of the #BeReal campaign, and want to share your views on it, please link up with us. You can help make this a bigger, brighter movement than it already is.
All opinions welcome – it’s about being real, after all!
To help spread the message, read and share one another’s posts.
And remember – be YOU! #BeReal.