The Outer Man
Yeah, it’s been a while. Look, I’ve been busy – two kids 3 and under. Dealing with change at work. Starting another blog to satisfy my social justice passions (which you can visit at thisforthatchallenge.wordpress.com). Forgive my excuses, because I really, really want you to like me. To find me interesting. To find me worthwhile to read.
So, that’s what this post is all about. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the things we do to show ourselves worthwhile in the eyes of others. It’s a bit neurotic, if you really stop and think about it. No wonder we’re a society so addicted to our prescriptions to make us feel better. We are making ourselves anxious for no lasting purpose. Hey, I’ll lay my silly preoccupations out on the table if you’ll do the same and we can all admit that’s all they are – silly preoccupations.
In the scheme of things, does it matter if we leave off the make-up and the perfume? If we don’t iron our clothes? If our shoes have a scuff? If the car is dirty (inside or out)? Hey, I was raised to be a good little executive, so these things are supposed to matter. As though the fact that I have a yellow crayon permanently sucked into the backseat of my dirt-road-driving black compact has any real bearing on how good I am at my job. As though the fact that I can’t eat in public without having something embarassing happen means I’m not as accomplished. As you can see, the lessons really stuck, but seriously, can we give up caring about the outer man?
One of the things I love about my department at work is that we’re big on giving one another permission to fail. Failure isn’t a core value, but we aren’t going to sit around and have a cry session (or a yell session) if it doesn’t go perfectly every time. We take risks, we have bad days, we’re all human. So, sometimes, we’re going to fail. It’s how we respond to our failures that matter, not that we failed. (I mean, don’t make a habit of it, but you get the point.)
What if we all applied this concept to life? When Martin Luther King Jr. talked about judging one another on the content of our character, he had it more right than he even said. It’s not about what color we are, what age we are, if we’ve worked out enough, if we’re graceful enough, if we’re wearing two different color shoes… Let’s hold one another accountable for what’s inside and stop considering the rest. I’ll do it if you’ll do it*
*Of course, if you don’t, I’ll be forced to continue to judge you out of the sheer mental exhaustion of trying to be all you expect all the time. Yeah, let’s not do that.