"There's no weakness as great as false strength." ~ Stefan Molyneux
"Don't trade your authenticity for approval." ~ Anonymous
I wanted to bring up this concept of projecting falsity because it has come up for me several times in conversation over the last several weeks. I think it's important to note that in our fast-paced and social-media-driven world it's challenging to be able to decipher the truth about who we really are. So don't even get me started on how questionable it can be to try and gauge the authenticity of another persons relationship with themselves.
Something that has repeatedly come up has been the concept of "teachers" in the health and wellness world - whether it be mental, physical or spiritual. I have seen several examples of people who "look" like they have it all together and are more than happy to preach to others about how they should live their lives. Their approach has a subtle undertone of narcissism and something about them always just feels "off" for me. Several times I have ignored that feeling and thought to myself that for whatever reason they just didn't click with me, only later to find out that it their "teaching" was all a show. What I've now recognized is it's okay to listen to that small quiet voice when it whispers that everything they're about screams "trying too hard."
These "teachers" often have a great message, amazing gifts, talents and a genuine desire to help others. The problem that I see is that there are a lot of people out there desperately seeking help in the areas of wellbeing and when doing so they are forgetting to have a discerning mind. The important thing about being a teacher and a role-model for others is not egocentric, it is not important how well you can project an image of perfection - news flash, nobody is perfect and most of us barely have it all together. What is of the greatest importance in being a leader (especially on these subjects) is that you have taken a good look at yourself, the life you are TRULY living and taken inventory of what you find, inviting awareness in, without judgment.
People can be a mess inside, hanging onto any semblance of thread to look like they have it all together and project that false image onto the world. Oftentimes they're so deluded that they believe the mask they wear in public is their true identity, lacking true awareness. While their intentions and messages can be good it is important to use extreme caution in guiding others when you have not fully looked at yourself first. One of my favorite proverbs that I find so true about life is "the road to hell is paved with good intentions." You can do a lot of harm under the guise of assistance, oftentimes with the best of intentions.
I think I have developed a little bit of a knack for being able to recognize it more easily now, because in it I recognize pieces of myself. I was there, many times in my life. Trying so hard to be okay on the outside and convince others that I was a noble and helpful person; consuming my time with "helping others" so that I could avoid helping myself and dealing with my own personal pain. I hadn't yet fully accepted myself, dark side and all, and while I have made incredible headway in this aspect,I imagine that it will be a lifelong practice. We live in a world that continually tells us to run from ourselves, that we aren't good enough, that we always need more OUT THERE which inevitably leads to the avoidance of what is IN HERE.
I think this is especially relevant now as we have begun to see a wider acceptance of health and wellness and the continual development of ourselves, as they have become rather trendy these days. While I welcome things that are universally beneficial to the world, such as wellbeing, becoming trends I also hold some concerns. Living in a world that makes money off of us staying perpetually lost to ourselves helps me to value the true weight of responsibility that teaching entails. People are waking up and genuinely seeking guidance and it can be more damaging than beneficial to be "taught" how to live and experience things for further growth by somebody who hasn't looked within themselves fully.
The more people I come into contact with and the older I get the more I realize that none of us really know what we're doing in this wild thing we call life. We're all just doing the best we can with what we know, the issue is that we live in a society that doesn't emphasize the right things, the things that truly give life meaning. Unless we welcome our deprogramming, in that area, some of us are much more confused than others.
"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." ~ Daniel J. Boorstin
The ego is clever and very admirable in its ability to survive, it can convince us that teaching others how to live the way we have chosen to is a noble and beneficial act, when in reality it is a mere scheme to avoid dealing with our own baggage. A genuine teacher will not promise to have all of the answers and they will not tell you how to live your life. They may offer guidance and share the tools that they have seen work for people which may or may not work for you. There is no one right way of handling the complexity of all of life and its plethora of unforeseeable circumstances. It is not a teachers place to judge where their students are, but it is the teachers responsibility to meet them there.
If you are seeking guidance in the health world, I remind you all to follow your heart and use a discerning mind in choosing whom to take advice from. If you are a teacher in this realm, I urge you to be cautious with your abilities and be aware of the responsibility of impact that you have on another's life. Listen to your intuition above all else, you will always be your greatest guide.