‘Hi, my name is Janet. I have a reoccurring ingrown hair, longstanding issues with my mother, and I get a bit irritable when I am late for anything.’
I have heard that there are cultures where people introduce themselves this way. They state their name, followed by 3 personal faults. This tradition was established to help lower the barriers between 2 human beings, who immediately recognise that neither is perfect.
It is ironic, because in today’s culture, we make every effort possible to hide all of our imperfections from one another. We spend precious time covering up sadness with make-up, frustration with fake smiles and depression with paper-thin positive attitudes.
The common question: ‘How are you’? can easily demonstrates my point. The most common answer is: ‘I’m fine thanks, all is well. Work is great, the husband and kids are a joy. You think that I look tired? No, no, that’s just a new look that I have been trying out. ‘
The truthful answer may be: ‘I’m not doing well at the moment. I am completely broke, my kids are constantly arguing with each other, I barely spend any time with my boyfriend/husband and all I seem to be doing is putting our proverbial fires. I’m tired and I need a damn break.’
But we would never dare to speak these words. Not only would it be considered inappropriate, but it would make the person enquiring feel very uncomfortable indeed.
When did this happen? Who taught us that we had to be or even act perfect in a world that is as flawed as its inhabitants? Nobody’s life is easy, and absolutely nobody is perfect. That is a fact, and we all know it. Then why do we go through the efforts to pretend otherwise?
If we can remove the expectation that life must always be great, we would also remove the enormous pressure that we place on ourselves to be happy, self-confident and positive. Think about what that would do to the self-esteem. It would soar to unexpected heights, because you would have the permission to stop criticising yourself for not being like everyone else…because you actually would be like everyone else………
Love from JT, who currently has a spot just below my nose, and has overspent the monthly budget.