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Professional human

In all areas of our life, we humans seek to connect with other humans.

This is a fact I know very well intellectually, but have been quite poor at integrating.

You see, historically, I have had a tendency to corral myself into roles that I then have trouble switching out of.

The professional. The host. The customer. The student. The stranger.

I haven’t let my whole self be seen, for fear it will be deemed inappropriate. Instead, I’ve revealed facets – rigidly constructed, minimally designed, situation-specific facets. And they have always, without fail, been a barrier to connection.

I’ve done it with fairly good reason – I’ve also had a tendency, when given free rein, to say weird shit that no-one really vibes with or even understands. My mind is too fast for my mouth, or my mouth is too fast for my mind, and chaos spews forth; a hot geyser of poorly-aimed utterance.

That’s fine in some situations – a filter for character, even – but in others (multi-organisational meetings where I’m the most junior attendee, for instance) the stakes have seemed too high to risk it.

But, often, the facet I’ve picked out for the occasion is so restrictive that it leaves me with nothing of substance to say.

I think most people present only facets of themselves, especially in their professional lives – they’re just better at it than I am. Their facets are more flexible. Their rhetoric is somehow organised in an appropriate gradient, so if the moment calls for a bit more spice, they just open up their coat a little, and find what they need.

Meanwhile, I seem to do the equivalent of taking off a shoe and showing everybody what’s inside.

Perhaps that’s why I’ve felt so called, for so long, to pursue the shining beacon of authenticity: I’m just too clumsy with the facets. It causes me too much anxiety.

Sure, I could learn to get more skillful at changing my outfits. But I’d rather just be the same person, regardless of the room I’m in.

And, maybe this is my bias speaking, but I think facet management is becoming a legacy skill. I don’t think the world we’re moving into is conducive to confining ourselves to roles. If we don’t learn to bring all of ourselves, we’ll merge into the background noise of our technological age.

Humans are seeking connection, now more than ever, and the avenues through which they can pursue that are changing. Many people don’t know where to find other humans anymore.

I believe if we pursue the shining beacon of authenticity, we will become a shining beacon of humanity, and other humans will want to be around us. That’s a responsibility, but it comes with a lot of benefits.

So, who are you? Who are you really?

I think we all need to practise being whoever it is we are.

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