Check out anyone’s Facebook page, and you’ll get a story of who they are. Yes, a story, but not necessarily the real picture. Not the manifesto of their lives or the depths of their souls.
What we put out to the world and how we present ourselves is just the overcoat of our true selves. It’s the glossy surface of the deeper, more complicated, and frankly more interesting people we really are.
I find people with histories, baggage, flaws, and regrets far more compelling than those who lives appear perfect and “normal” — whatever that is. Give me a messed up soul who’s examined their lives and can embrace their flaws over the veneered perfectionist whose mask never slips any day.
I’m fascinated by people and their stories. I want to know the authentic person on the other side of that computer screen. What are their dreams? What are their longings? What are their inner motivations? I want to know their personal operating system in this world and on what terms they want to connect and interact.
It’s surprising how few people even know themselves under the surface of their Facebook page character study. Sure, they know the roles they play in life and the socially acceptable responses to the questions, “Who are you?” and “What are your goals in life?” But who takes the time for a deep dive? Who spends the energy to poke around in the guts of their psyche to ferret out their true selves.
As Socrates says, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” That may be a bit harsh, but there’s enough truth there to sit up and pay attention. There’s a lot more to you than meets the eye, but with the complications of daily life, you may not have taken the time to get to know yourself. Couple that with the fear we carry about what’s really under the hood and what people will think of us, and we may prefer to stay unexamined and contained forever.
The problem with ignoring the deeper parts of yourself is that you disengage from a more sacred, dynamic experience of life and people. You leave the bests parts of yourself on the table, and sadly, you may not know what you’re missing.
That’s why it is so valuable to embark on a journey of self-exploration and self-awareness to create your own personal manifesto. Uncover your core values and spend a considerable amount of time asking yourself the hard questions like, “What am I passionate about?” “What are my greatest strengths?” “Who am I and what do I stand for?”