You Are Not You: Never Be Too Quick To Judge Yourself
A couple of years ago, as I grappled with a lack of professional success, I started seeing myself as an abject failure. That view of myself affected every other part of my life. I no longer wanted to meet people for fear of being asked how well my business was doing or being reminded of my own failures when they spoke of their own success. It was an awful, awful place to be in.
Three years later, my work picked up and in a span of a few weeks, I went from being a “failure” to a “success” in my own mind. Three years and my entire perception of myself had changed.
So was the girl grappling with failure the real me or was the real me the girl tasting success?
A few nights later I had an epiphany – an inner voice cried out – “YOU ARE NOT YOU”.
Temporary Failures Don’t Define You, Neither Does Instant Success
Let me explain – I had judged myself based on a 360 degree view of myself at a point in time. So, temporary failure at work made me a failure in my own mind and as the first rays of success set in, my mind did a U turn. I never took into account how far I had come or the distance I would travel in the future – the many milestones that would be firmly engraved on that journey. Was it fair to judge myself so harshly based on a moment in time?
For the longest time, our parameters of judging ourselves have been – money, fame, popularity and physical beauty. Are these an accurate assessment of our complete potential and our complete journey? Should other people’s perceptions and facebook likes create our self equity?
I am reminded of something Meryl Streep spoke about on the Graham Norton show. Before she became famous, Meryl was called in to audition for a lead role in the reboot of King Kong to be directed by the famed Italian Director, Dino De Laurentiis. When De Laurentiis brought her to his son, he replied, in Italian, “Why do you bring me this ugly thing?” To which Streep replied, also in Italian, “I’m sorry I’m not beautiful enough to be in King Kong.”
Had Meryl paid heed to the harsh comment and lost faith in her abilities, would she have gone on to be nominated for and win multiple academy awards? Should she have let that one moment of unkindness, a point in time in her eternal journey, shape her entire perception of herself?
Walt Disney was fired from Kansas City Star in 1919 because, his editor said, he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” Had Walt Disney judged himself in that moment, Mickey, Donald and Minnie would never have become a part of our collective consciousness.
There are many more stories – some written about, some unspoken, but they all beg the same question – Is it fair to let a moment in time define “YOU”?
A discussion on this subject matter led to an even more interesting thought – we know that we are spiritual beings having a physical experience; and that while our physical self will perish and cease to exist when he die, the spirit continues its onward journey, to different dimensions and different lifetimes.
Don’t Judge Yourself in a Moment
So how do we judge ourselves in a moment, when we aren’t aware of where we’ve been or where we are headed? In most of us, our forced conscious awareness is limited to physical memory of one lifetime. Also, we are products of multiple lifetimes, multiple individuals, and multiple layers of conditioning.
So would judging ourselves at point M on a journey from A-Z be fair?
I may be “ugly” today but go on to win multiple awards from an industry that set that bar for what is cinematically beautiful tomorrow. I may be creatively deficient today but go on to become a name synonymous with state of the art animation so much so that my name is the standard bearer for excellence in film and animation. I may be a spiritual pauper in one lifetime and begin my ascent to higher spiritual realms in the next. Our judgments of ourselves are pretty limiting and limited in their scope. Judgements of any kind are limiting and should never become barriers to self-growth and evolution.
Yes, YOU ARE NOT YOU, and its time you stopped judging the YOU that you recognize harshly because a point in time never reflects accurately the journey without or within.