Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won. It exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours.
~ Ayn Rand
Disparity between our souls and the projected self should be small. Who we are and how we are perceived, by ourselves and by others, should be similar. They cannot be exact, cloned replicants. How others see us is through their eyes and occasionally they see parts of us to which we are blind. We also hold close parts of us that others cannot see. These secret pieces are vulnerable. We fear judgement or criticism. Maybe they are fragile or brittle and we don’t want to risk any further damage. We must be willing, at the very minimum, t o be vulnerable with ourselves. Denying that I am afraid or insecure is like denying I am woman or Caucasian. It is my avoidance of the fear that gets me in trouble.
A mangy, irascible dog chained in the backyard comes after you if you walk too close. Our natural tendency is to avoid the dog. But it is probable that the dog simply needs attention and compassion….and maybe to be let off the chain and set free to roam and play. That doesn’t guarantee that the dog might not snap at your hand; or worse, sink his teeth deep into your flesh, but taking the risk to play with it is the only way to find any joy. Keeping it chained up in the backyard simply guarantees that you’ll avoid your backyard. You’ll build a big fence and post signs saying “Vicious Dog, Keep Out”. And you just make the dog meaner and harder to calm.
It is in a dog’s nature to bite and be aggressive. It is also a playful creature that seeks companionship and affection. It is protective and loyal but it can turn even on a very beloved master. It is the nature of the beast. It is what it is. You accept that a dog is a bit unpredictable, never perfectly trainable. It will chew through a pair of loafers or claw through a laundry room door. It will eat your cell phone and bite the new neighbor’s child. We give this creature the permission to be what he is. Are we willing to give ourselves permission to be who we are….all that we are? Imperfect, unpredictable, bat-shit-crazy , silly, afraid, irrational, joyous, silent or weak? And are we willing to be these things in a way that other people can see our true selves and not just the giant security fence that reads “Keep out, High Voltage”.