‘Be Yourself’

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Are you an extrovert or an introvert? A couple of years ago I mentioned in conversation that I was an introvert. The response? “Don’t worry, we can change that.” My mouth dropped in my mind. I was taken aback wondering why anyone thought I needed changing. I replied. “Oh, I prefer being an introvert.” They looked puzzled.

I am often reminded how deeply ingrained our social norms have become. We are all on very different paths of understanding ourselves and others. I believe our communication breaks down because of these differences. We really don’t know each other very well.

Susan Cain, author of ‘Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,’ did a TED2012 Talk on this subject. Giving this speech was an extremely difficult task for her, but she pulled it off with seeming ease. She won the 2013 Golden Gavel Award from Toastmasters for this speech.

According to Cain, extroversion is valued in our world society and Introversion is not, but should be. She is here to change that assumption. Introverts add much more than we might realize.

Cain gave a second TED Talk in 2014 with some lofty goals in mind for the workplace and for empowering children. She calls it the ‘Quiet Revolution.’

I wrote the poem, ‘Be Yourself,‘ to bring awareness to the subject. We are all here to do our part in helping create a better world, in our own way, together. Doing what makes us happy and fulfilled helps make Earth and her inhabitants thrive.

I heard recently on NPR that up to 40% of people on the planet are introverted. I am happy to be in that large minority and wouldn’t want to change a thing.

Note: If you’ve never seen a TED Talk, you can find them on a wide variety of subjects. Some talks are a few minutes, some an hour. They’re very informative and entertaining.

Behind the Scenes

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Dreams require more
Than empty thoughts
And weak wishes
You know it’s not just time
That cleans your dirty dishes
More than just time
Precedes their completion
It’s chosen action
With careful precision
Exertion of effort
Guided by a vision

Between your desire to grow
And your capacity for apathy
Use this time to write the words that you need to see
If you truly wish to realize all your soul’s dreams
Then you must always invest effort behind all your own scenes

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‘Ha’

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Have you ever wondered why we act as we do? Do you ever think about what makes us tick on a deeper level? Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud both shared many interesting theories, some of which are a little ‘out there.‘ I like to take what makes the most sense for me and leave the rest.

“Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.” This is a quote by Ronald Reagan. I can think of other words to use in place of ‘government.’ The id is much like this ‘baby,’ all self-important, wanting what it wants without thought for another. The id wants to fulfill our cravings. It has no rules or boundaries, no judgment, no common sense. It just wants satisfaction, period. Freud refers to the id as, “das Es,” or, ‘it.’ The word id has New Latin roots. Common definitions includes our basic needs and desires.

The superego is our conscience. We learn from those who came before us about cultural boundaries and laws and societal norms. We strive to abide by the rules. Our conscience learns traits from parents, family, teachers, friends, and others. Sometimes I feel like I was born with a conscience already built in. The superego is a perfectionist and an inner critic. Guilt is its mantra. Freud calls the superego, “das Uber-Ich,” which translates to ‘I over or ‘I above.’ Superego has New Latin roots. Common definitions include what is right and wrong.

The ego’s job is to keep the id and the superego in check. It is the great balancing act between the world we live in, the id (trying to meet our wants), and the superego (trying to be socially conscious). The ego tries to satisfy all of these by navigating through the challenging maze of life, desires, and the great good. According to Freud, the ego means, “das Ich,” or ‘I.’ The word ego has Latin roots. Common current definitions include pride or self-esteem.

The ego’s work is not easy and teeters often, tipping into less-than desirable realms and consequences. The ego certainly is a great mediator. As such, it  sometimes loses its way, wandering often into id territory or into the land of the superego, or weaving back and forth through both consecutively, like a snake.

Not all people have the same equalizing abilities, either. We all come into this world with an agenda. Nature and nurture influence our life plan in a powerful way. Some of us tend to meander toward id country more than we should. Self-satisfaction is a tempting morsel and is hard to resist.

Some of us are drawn into the green fields of the superego and can become consumed by denying our own desires and needs. We might give in to judgment and criticism of ourselves and others. The superego is no better or worse than the id. The ego’s difficult task is to walk the tightrope across the canyon in blustery winds.

Here’s a quick poem I wrote about this delicate and difficult balancing act:

Ego

Superego is entrenched in my DNA
Id only wants to come out and play
Ego is the one who saves the day

I’d like to hear what you think. Thanks for reading.