Life Lessons – Over Corrections

Life is a series of over-corrections

Comedy is the portrayal of life exaggerating both the circumstances and the human response to plausible situations. I don’t mean to show my age but I am reminded of the Carol Burnett Show and her sketch of the dysfunctional family or Tim Conway’s old man shuffling across the floor. Why did I laugh so hysterically at what may otherwise be considered sad or even pathetic? In all likelihood, I saw humor because I could relate to the absurdity of how hard I try to be perfect when deep down I knew I was just a human doing the best I can.

What I can take away from the recognition of my own absurdity is seeing that I attempt to star in a slap-stick comedy show of my own making. I exaggerate my misconceptions when I fail to acknowledge obvious flaws in the underlying rational I give for my choices. I try so hard to appear normal or “put-together” because I fear being criticized, or worse, ostracized. In the background, there is a gnawing uneasiness whispering to me that I can’t hide who I really am yet I continue the charade as if no one can see my subterfuge.

Here is where I experience the fear of being found-out. My anxiety about being exposed means that as soon as I feel someone sees through the masquerade, I immediately adjust. More often than not my nervousness causes the adjustment to be more extreme than necessary. I intuitively recognize my overreaction which adds to my feeling of ineptness. Still I continue to “shuck-n-jive” to maintain my image, all the while completely destroying any semblance of dignity.

If only I could laugh at myself. If only I could take a bow to an approving audience who saw my parody of life, not my sophomoric attempt to play-act. In the quiet of my inner being, I know I am a fraud. In my cognitive being, I construct a narrative that explains how my life really does support my mirage. In my social being, I spring into the next scene ready to show-off my brilliance and primed to manipulate any situation that would otherwise taint my image. And when unexpected exposure looms, as it always does, I twist myself into a contorted illusion and pretend to be what I am not.

In truth, I can’t think of anything more absurd, yet before I started my process of self-examination, I seemed to be incapable of stopping the ruse. Today life is not only easier and more satisfying but my relationships are so much more genuine. The ability to connect with others is so much better when I am myself without regret or defense for being anything other than “just another smuck”.

Exercise:
Describe your persona (the nature of your personality that is presented to others.) and indicate whether it is an image you work at presenting. If it is, explain why that image is important to you. What happens when you feel others are not seeing what you intend them to see?

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