I heard or read somewhere recently that everyone who has ever seen you or met you, has a ‘version’ of you living in their head. Let that sink in for a minute…
We have all used the phrases ‘in my own little world’ or ‘in your own little world’. The terms sound cliché but are uncannily accurate. We all live in a universe of our very own, and our worlds do quite literally revolve around us. If each of us is, in fact, an individual universe, that means there are a million versions of “you” out there, and not one of them is the real you. Yet all these versions of you are living in these other universes. Sometimes our parts are big, other times they are so tiny as to barely exist. But we are there, living our imagined lives.
Think about this in your own world. When you pass someone in the mall or in traffic; at the doctor’s office or at the park, your subconscious immediately makes assumptions about people based on your past experiences. Within seconds, this person and the life you imagine they live now occupy a space in your universe.
You may have seen me drive by in a 2017 Dodge Challenger mean machine a couple weeks ago. You may assume I am wealthy, care-free, definitely Type-A, and all that means I must be a pretty confident and ambitious person, right? If I caught your eye, you might wonder what I do for a living, or where I was going. A version of me now exists in your world. What you did not know was that I was driving a rental car because I had just had a car accident. I really drive a total mom-mobile Toyota Camry. Driving gives me extreme anxiety ever since a bad car accident when I was 17, and this recent accident has just taken me back almost 30 years of progress. I am still living paycheck to paycheck. At 45 I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. And my bipolar self is FAR from a Type-A personality.
Let’s take this a step further with another example. You. Imagine the you that lives in your family and closest friend’s worlds. The people who would know you best. Do you think they see the same flaws you see? Do they obsess over your weight, the texture of your hair or the imperfections of your skin? No way. They are not aware of your internal negative self-talk (yes, we all do it!) or your struggles with anxiety or addiction or whatever specific personal issues you deal with on a daily basis. The version of you that they know is an effortless flow of your best qualities and your quirks. They love you for your strengths and accept your weaknesses. In their universe, you just…..are.
Now back to reality. My world. Your world. Am I a badass, mean machine driving, alpha female? Or am I an anxious, aging, bipolar mouse? What if I am just perfectly uniquely both? What if the real me is not the me that I imagine at all? But an intricate and precious blend of all of the “me”s that have been brought to life in other’s imaginations. I am an ever-changing free spirit who loves the way she feels in a muscle car, has to remind herself to breathe every now and then, needs lots of hugs to keep depression at bay and loves mimosas and sunshine. Are you the perfectly coiffed bombshell that I saw leaving the salon 3 weeks ago that I imagine has personal assistants, her own fashion line, and an Instagram following? Or are you the frazzled, cereal crusted, weary mom of
3 whose workaholic husband gave her the gift of a day at the salon for their 13th anniversary? What if you are a splendid combination of capable and vulnerable? A confident mother with a teachable heart who loves hard and is absolutely adored by her family. An independent woman who thrives on encouraging others and recharges with dark chocolate and solo adventures to the spa.
None of us are exactly who we think we are. As the saying goes, we are our own worst enemies. We know we shouldn’t judge others but have we learned to not judge ourselves? I have been trying to build a new habit of thinking of
and looking at myself from other people’s points of view. I try to see myself as I exist in all those other universes. It is such a difficult habit to create because I must replace my old habit of being self-critical. But, WOW!!!! This new me I am getting to know, she is pretty incredible. She is everything I want to be; loving, accepting, encouraging, carefree and everchanging. She has no limits!
You should try looking at yourself through her eyes. Or through someone else’s eyes; a stranger, the barber, your mentor, someone who you admire, and lastly and most importantly, someone who admires you. Next time you walk by a mirror and are tempted to judge, just glance and smile at the version of you that is beautiful, confident, capable, and worthy of so much love and acceptance. A perfect blend of all of the million imagined versions of yourself. That is the real you. And SHE IS SPECTACULAR.