I decided to write this article because I realized that there are always two sides to a man’s story. There is the lighter side and there is the darker side. Many famous people today and historical figures from the past tend to be idealized. They are made believe as if they were perfect, flawless, and in some cases inhuman. Not inhuman in the negative sense of the world, but inhuman in the sense that they do not poses, or did not poses human qualities such as anger and jealousy. It is often the case with modern figures that they are lifted so high that as soon as they fall, they fall fast and they fall hard. You can think of many religious leaders, political leaders, athletes and artists who fall in this category. From popes to presidents, to sports legends and superstars.
The issue has three main components. First, there is a lack of transparency in the individual’s life. Today, there are systems such as websites and social media channels that allow people to disseminate information to large amounts of people. However, this information is heavily filtered and does not show the reality of that person’s life and who they really are. The other side of that is the second component, which is the fact that most people, famous or not, don’t like to share they darker sides, sometimes referred as the shadow sides of our personalities and lives. When we add those two we get lots of emphasis on the positive and a hiding of the negative. The third component is the fact that people have followers, fans who tend to put this people in pedestals. They aggrandize them even more than their image already is. They create an even more perfect persona that is already greater than the idealized man or woman of their preference. This is sometimes made out of need, or mere negligence. It is usually accompanied by an inability and unwillingness to look at those darker aspects of this people.
And so it is that we end up following these peoples’ religious views, we take on their practices, we vote for these politician and we buy the athletes’ jerseys and the singers’ records. We spend money to see them and we invest not only our time, but also part of ourselves to be more like them. In some cases the glass breaks, and sooner or later we see what was hidden and we are crushed with rage, disappointment, dissolution and pain. In other cases we never get to see the truth, we live a life of illusion and create a dependency on this image that ends up controlling aspects of our lives. Compulsive behaviors, addictions and all sorts of social issues can arise from this. Some people end up giving up their savings, losing their marriages, leaving their careers and giving up their lives to live for someone else who is nothing like the person they imagine them to be.
Needless to say, I have also fallen on this sociological trap over and over again. I still do at times. In many ways I am still healing from these traumas. I am working on re-incorporating parts of myself that I gave up to become more like the idealized images that I thought to be better than me. It is taking me time and effort, mentally and emotionally, to realize my own greatness and my own perfection beyond everyone else’s. This of course, includes absorbing my own shadows, becoming a friend of them so that I can be whole again. By going through this process I am able to fully befriend myself again and be proud of who I am with all my darkness and all my light. As I do this, those external images that I had built up start to crumble down without angering me, because the disappointment I feel with each realization is absorbed in part by the joy of knowing myself to be greater than I thought I could be.
I decided to write this article to enlighten others about these dynamics and to free them from the weight of trying to live someone else’s life. Specially those who are not who we think they are. I also want to take this opportunity to set the tone to be transparent about my own darkness and shine light upon my shadows. This way I hope I will never be placed on a pedestal that is higher than myself. I believe it will also discourage others to make up stories about me to try to put me down so that they feel better. I know that it is a common practice for human beings to exaggerate or make up other’s flaws to devalue them in order to step on them and artificially elevate themselves. This is common among those who for one reason or another do not dare to or can’t shine their own light and show their own greatness. It helps them feel better about themselves. I believe that this is a counterproductive and unnecessary behavior. It would be a better use of our energy to appreciate each other and support each other into their being and allow others to support and appreciate us. I like to think that we are all special, that we are all perfect in our own ways, that we all have things to learn from ourselves and from each other.
I believe there is no need to hide our greatness nor a need to hide our flaws. I believe that only by being fully transparent we can fully be seen. I also believe that by fully seeing others we can truly connect with them. It is that connection that allows us to feed from each other and build each other up so that we can all grow together for our best individual and communal interests. By fully showing our greatness we can inspire others to do the same. We can share our gifts for others to enjoy. By fully showing our flaws, our darkness and our shadows we can keep the doors open to receive help, encouragement, advice and acceptance.
It is nice to be loved when we do something good, but it is nicer to still be loved when we make a mistake. It is here where we enter the realm of unconditional love. This does not mean that we should disregard our mistakes and flaws and live a life of sin. Instead, it means that we should be conscious of our errors and work towards improving them by becoming better aspects of ourselves, not someone else.
I hope you enjoyed this reading and that it was useful to you. I wish it gives you more permission and encouragement to meet yourself and share yourself fully with the world. If you have any comments or questions you are welcome to contact me.