You Are Not Who You Think You Are
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(Lose the Net by Rasmus Faber Courtesy of Epidemic Music)
Isn’t it just amazing how good questions lead us naturally to good answers, and how beautiful questions lead to even better answers. When we open ourselves to the things we don’t know, we open the doors to discovery and greater understanding.
I’m Scott Lennox and you’re listening to The Beautiful Question, a weekly consideration of things that matter every day.
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You know as well as I do that it’s hard to know the truth about ourselves when we’re busy listening to thoughts that don’t honestly reflect who we are.
Join me this week as we consider a bit of personal myth busting. Stay with me.
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Photo: K. Ferguson
Dressing as I have for decades—broad western hat, fancy vest and silk scarf, pocket watch and silver chain, tall cowboy boots with my jeans tucked inside—people often jump to conclusions about who I am and the things I do.
They don’t know anything about me, but they feel free to make up stories in their minds based on how I look and then treat me accordingly.
I’ve been mistaken more than a few times for film or television actors or local figures, even though there are striking differences between us. One of those people is a good friend and I’ve laughed with him about it for years. In fact, I once jokingly told him that I’d be happy to go along with people mistaking me for him if I was sure it wouldn’t get me arrested, shot, or served with a subpoena.
A few years ago, a woman stopped me for an autograph outside a restaurant in Fort Worth’s historic Stockyards.
“Oh my gosh,” she squealed. “You really who I think you are, aren’t you!”
I had no way of knowing who she was referring to, but I was certain it wasn’t me. So, I smiled broadly and tipped my hat and put on my thickest Texas accent.
“Well, Ma’am,” I said, “I’m not sure ‘bout all that. If you wanna know the truth, I’m not even who I think I am.”
She grinned and held up one finger and gave me knowing look.
“Oh, I get it,” she said, “you want your privacy, don’t you?”
“Go with that,” I said, smiling even more broadly.
Satisfied with her assessment of the situation, she took half a dozen steps down the sidewalk, then stopped and turned around again, winking at me like she had just deciphered a secret code. I still laugh about it.
I’ll admit I was being playful with her, but I told her the truth. None of us can honestly say that we are who we think we are.
We’re not our thoughts or the ideas we’ve believed about ourselves, regardless how long we’ve held them. We’re not what other people think or believe about us, no matter how well they know us. And whether it’s good or bad or altogether neutral, we’re certainly not what other people have told us about ourselves.
They don’t know us from the inside-out.
My old friend CW is right when he says, “Your opinion of me is none of my business.” Yet, how often we consciously or unconsciously take the fantasies and opinions of others to be true about us.
The fact is, when we look deeply enough, we discover that the fullness of who we are can’t be grasped or understood at the conscious level. It’s far too vast and complex, and at the same time, it’s far too simple. And it has little to do with what can be seen on the outside.
My clarity about all of that came long after the turbulence of my childhood and early adult life. As far back as I can remember, I earnestly believed that I was dirty, broken, stupid, and guilty, and that I was not worthy of being loved. The saddest part is that as false as those ideas were, I believed them, and I treated myself as though they were true, even when the reality was and is quite to the contrary.
Healing came when I finally faced my own inner fictions head-on. I began to discover the blindness I’d been living with. I saw how strongly I had minimized and jeopardized my own happiness and wellbeing. I realized that I had taken countless risks, missed innumerable opportunities, and pushed genuinely caring people away from me.
And all because I believed the lies I was telling myself were true. When I think of the harm that created, I still shake my head in wonder.
You can easily see that while we’re busy believing our own lies, it’s hard to see the truth, and it’s even harder to see the miraculous possibilities that are always available to us, that are always part of who we are. To paraphrase Marianne Williamson, the miraculous is naturally revealed to us when we shift our consciousness from fear to love.
That may sound like a lightweight or ineffectual solution, but I promise you it isn’t. It’s one of the best and finest and strongest things we can do.
The poet William Blake expressed the same thing in a different way when he wrote that if the doors of our perception were cleansed [if the ways we look at ourselves and the world were freed from our distortions], everything would appear to us as it truly is—Infinite.
Stating that another way, as we start looking at ourselves through the lenses of self-love and self-acceptance—everything becomes miraculous to us, including our own lives.
This week’s Beautiful Questions might help clear those misperceptions.
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Question One: Are you willing to open yourself to the possibility that you are far more capable and valuable and beautiful than you have told yourself?
Question Two: What erroneous thoughts have you been telling yourself?
Question Three: What are you willing to think instead that is simple, positive, and true about yourself?
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I can think of no greater gift than the gift of coming home to the luminous truth about ourselves. When you’ve considered this week’s questions, write and tell me what you discover. I’m listening.
As I say each week,
My Light with Your Light!
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I’m happy that we can engage this way every week as we consider things that matter and what to do about them. If nothing else, I hope you feel inspired to look more deeply at ways of caring for yourself. You deserve that.
You can be further inspired by visiting my friends at Kosmos Journal. That’s K O S M O S Journal. Their mission is to inform, inspire, and engage global transformation in harmony with all life. You can easily find them online at Kosmos Journal dot O R G.
And each week at thebeautifulquestion.com, you can read the illustrated transcript of each podcast as you listen. We’ve also included an archive of all previous podcasts, including guided relaxation audios that can help you practice letting go on a daily basis.
If you find these podcasts useful, I encourage you to share them and tell others about them. That’s a great way of helping me get a voice of calm and collaboration and balance and encouragement out into the world.
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I’m Scott Lennox, and this has been The Beautiful Question.
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The Beautiful Question is a One Light production, written, produced, and engineered by Scott Lennox at HeartRock Studios in Fort Worth, Texas, as a way of paying forward to life, being fully present, becoming better engaged with things that truly matter in a complex world, and committing to a healthier future for all of us.