Being Yourself - In Life and In Music
Yesterday I was having a conversation with one of my students and we got to talking about some very popular artists and what reflection and influence they provide for people in general, but particularly for young people. My student astutely commented that so much about many artists is presented in such an over the top way, that it is hard to see the real person underneath – even though you know they are in there somewhere. It got me to thinking that covering up who we truly are in favour of an image of how we will be accepted in life has become normal. It’s definitely not just confined to the music industry, however it is a place where we can very obviously see the lengths we are prepared to go to cover up who we are.
Lets face it, we are all simply gorgeous in our surrendered natural state, but how often do we allow ourselves or others see this? It seems it’s become normal to put on an act rather than share who we really are with the world, but what is the price of this and what does it show to young people about how to go forward in life? Surely this is to the great detriment of our society.
On reflection, I personally know this very well. I learnt this the hard way in the 90’s and early 2000’s, when I was putting all my efforts into becoming a ‘successful’ artist.
I twisted and turned myself into what the order of the day was – fun, cute, sexy, smart, cool, in order to fit a picture of the perfect pop star. But it didn’t mater what I did or how much I tried to fit in, the real me was underneath and the person I was trying to be on the outside was not even close to who I really was. And in truth, this was a huge tension in me. I had to reduce myself, or leave myself behind to fit the picture of what was being asked of me. And this happens all the time in life where we can feel that there is a mold we are being asked to fit into. It may be that nothing has even been said about how others want us to be, but the reality is that we have already sensed it, so quite often we reduce ourselves to fit that picture, rather than remaining in the fullness of who we are and taking that to what we do. We are certainly not stupid, in fact, on the contrary, we are sensing that who we are is too big and too grand, to fit into many of the boxes we are being asked to squeeze into. So we are faced with a choice. Do we allow ourselves to be honest, open, vulnerable, powerful, true to our inner feelings? Or do we reduce ourselves and toe the line to fit in, opting for more of the same?
Sounds crazy doesn’t it? Why would we lessen ourselves to fit in? Now that is a very interesting question…
What I am learning is that it takes a deep commitment to honouring who we truly are, to not be swayed into reducing ourselves to a lesser version of who we are to fit in.
In my everyday life, I’ve been working on letting go of the mask and being myself for a few years now and although I have not yet fully mastered this, I can say when I let go and let people in to see the real me, it’s such a lovely, real and deeply healing experience. There is some thing that happens when we allow ourselves to be completely present and let go of any agendas, preconceived ideas or judgements. We can ‘just be’. Other people feel this too and it allows them to let go. The understanding comes that we are all, at our innermost, the same. There is something overarching that connects us all.
I have had some amazing conversations with people I have just met where this has happened, and I have felt so deeply connected to the ‘stranger’ in front of me it’s like I’ve known them for years and years. To feel so completely at ease in your own skin that you’re able to just be completely yourself in that moment with others is deeply healing. These connections stand out and are memorable because we are being real with each other and there is so much joy in that. This is true medicine, developing a way to be who we really are with each other. I wonder what music would be like, if it was made from that same basis? Without the facacde, the image and the posturing. Perhaps it would be truly memorable too and so much healthier for those making it and for all those listening.