Monday 18 October 2010

Don't Be Fooled By Me- Calling the "Pretend" Game

Been a few weeks since I've been able to post anything due to hectic set of commitments inside and outside of work. I intend to rectify that as quickly as possible and get back to posting on a weekly basis.

A good Coaching friend of mine sent me on this reflection and thought it made excellent blog posting material.

Don’t be fooled by me. Please hear what I’m not saying.

Don’t be fooled by me. Don’t be fooled by the face that I wear.
For I wear a mask. I wear a thousand masks that I am afraid to take off, and none of them is the real me.
So don’t be fooled by me, I’m good at pretending.
I give the impression that I’m cool and confident, but inside, it’s different.
I’m not in command.
I’m often confused, lonely and desperately need someone to understand me.
But I hide and I don’t want anyone to know.
That’s why I frantically create a mask to hide behind,
I’m afraid to show the real me.
I’m afraid that you will not accept me.
I’m afraid that you will think less of me and laugh at me.
You see, deep down, I’m afraid that I’m nothing, that I’m no good,
And if you knew me, you would reject me.
So I play my game, my pretending game, and thus begins my parade of masks.
My life becomes a front to protect the real me.
I chatter idly to you about everything but tell you nothing of what’s going on inside me,
My fears, My worries, My doubts.
So when I’m talking, please listen carefully and try to hear what I’m not saying, what I’d like to say but I can’t.
I’d like to be genuine, honest and sincere, but I cannot without your help.
My trust grows very slowly, so you will have to be patient with me.
Each time you are kind, gentle and encouraging, each time you try to understand, I am given new hope and I start believing in myself in a new way.
You let me see its o.k. to be me.
So I can take off the mask and be happy in your company, I can let you see the real me.
Who an I you may wonder? I am someone you know very well.
For I am every man and woman you meet.

My own take on this is we each have our own precarious relationship with ego. These are the defences we have in place that protect the current picture we hold of ourselves and how we want to present to the outside world. I made a conscious effort some years ago to tackle my own ego head on and in real time where possible. In Coaching parlance this is referred to as being "authentic", "congruent"....I guess "real" is the word we hear these days. We humans are programmed to recognise "realness" when we see it. We like it when people are real with us and become defensive when they're not. That's normal!

My interpretation of that "programme" is we were born with the capability of being perfect but spend much of our lives in our own way. There is an assertion that we are all born geniuses but then, life, parenting, school, family and finally work messes that up on an ongoing basis.
I firmly believe that an easy relationship with ego allows us to be more like we can.

Here are some practical examples I'd see this would help.....

- People would find it easier to climb down when the position they've taken is unwise
- Men could feel comfortable asking for directions!
- Women would stop competing with each other on the grounds of looks and telling each other and us men that this is all for us!
-Government would find it easier to say "I'm sorry, we got it wrong , we made mistakes"
-Parents would find it easier to change the way they interact with their kids and try asking instead of being perpetually on transmit.
- People at work would feel more comfortable saying "right now I need to focus more on my family" instead of pretending to be a superhero and getting stressed out pretending everything's ok.

In my works as a Coach I try to help people connect with what I call "their own story". This takes time, it's "depth" work. Often personal, sometimes painful always rewarding. The reason why, I believe is, people stop worrying about how they look and place the emphasis on who they are. The more of that we do the more we like ourselves and the more other actually like us too! My noticing is we model a different way of being. I also notice this leads to more real time creativity and flexibility. All told a price well worth paying.

Your comments on this would be especially appreciated.