originally written as Distortion on goodgirlbad.com. This is the cooler version.
Have you ever heard a band that had a terrible sound guy? I’m talking EQ jacked to the max, no discernible instruments or voices, volume set to full-on aural destruction. You think to yourself, can’t he just balance out all that distortion?! It’s not an enjoyable experience, at least for someone who––call me crazy–– likes to hear things.
There are times in our lives when we have the EQ set to “high” straight across the board, when we’re going full throttle. No thought is given to balance or beauty, or how all that “noise” can distort how we perceive ourselves, and in turn, how that distorted perception affects those around us. We aren’t being true to our awesome self.
1: Do you take time to think about your self-image? How is it; good, mediocre, not so good? Are you pulled in so many directions or have so many plates spinning that you barely have a strong footing on where you are, where you’re going, why you’re doing all these things, what you look like during all of the chaos?
I talk to so many people who habitually self-deprecate that I feel a nearly uncontrollable urge to grab them firmly by the shoulders and shake the crap out of them to jar them back into reality. When you have gotten yourself to such a stressful place in your day to day that you nitpick your own physical appearance, things need to change, especially when what you see is nothing close to reality. It’s a defense mechanism. I understand it, as I am still working on it myself. I will say something despicable about my appearance before you have a chance to critique my job performance, or my parenting skills, or the designers I don’t wear. Yikes. Someone isn’t very comfortable in their own skin.
2: Give yourself a break. We all have responsibilities that need to be met; some of us have demanding jobs, others have 4 kids, or a spouse, maybe an ailing parent, or perhaps no one but ourselves on which to lean. We all have things that jack the EQ to the max, that distort how we perceive our lives and, more importantly, ourselves. We don’t have to do everything all the time.
Take a look at your EQ: is there a nice balance, not too much bass pounding through the floor, not too much tweeter screaming in your ear? Take some time at your desk, or in the car, and reconnect with your breath–– for those of you in a constant state of panic, let me remind you that the breath comes in and goes out. In for two counts, out for three or four counts. Repeat this until you feel your shoulders leave the vicinity of your ear lobes, till that twinge in your lower back unknots, and you’re no longer white-knuckling the steering wheel. Do you have a visual of how ridiculous you look when all those things are going on? That, my friend, is the reality of imbalance and distortion.
3: Toot your own horn. Look in the mirror and say something nice to yourself. I don’t particularly care if you think I’m insane for having said that: DO IT.
If you march to the beat of a different drummer (I could’ve used a picture of Gene Krupa here instead of Louis Armstrong, oops) then march to that beat. Set your own groove. When you’re allowing yourself to be who you truly are, you’ll be shocked by how that will draw people to you.
If we do not start balancing our lives, we only see ourselves in that distorted way and therefore can’t love the true “you.” And what have we heard repeatedly about loving ourselves? Right, if you don’t love yourself, you cannot really love anyone else or let them love you in return! Now where is that going to leave the people about whom you care?
3 1/2: Tomorrow was made to catch the things that fall through the cracks of today. I’m not living in a fantasy land where there are no deadlines, no soccer games, no violin lessons. There are things in our lives that demand attention and put us on a daily schedule. Take a look at that schedule. What’s the motivation behind the things you choose to do? I don’t mean superficially looking at the tasks/projects in your life. Take a good, hard look at the impetus for them and apply that to the choices you’re making, for yourself and for others.
So many parents I know have their 4-year-olds in everything from violin to Mandarin lessons, and I admit to looking at them cock-eyed as to why they do this. I’m not poo-pooing any parent who wants their child to experience anything and everything. I am asking the question why they do it. Is it for the child, or is it because that’s what everyone else is doing for their child? Are we presenting ourselves, or our children, as the people we/they aren’t, because we feel we have to do what everyone else is doing? This is how we start deviating from our true self and is what begins to distort the development of a healthy self image.
4: Emulation and Frankenstein-ing are two different things. We live in a culture and a time where we are connected to the entire world. We have access to the food, the clothing styles, the cars, the music and art and dance of every country on the planet. It stands to reason that we will identify with some of these things.
We may incorporate them into who we are, into our sense of self and sense of life. To me, that’s the beauty of a global community.What starts getting scary (pun intended) is when we “try-on” so many different personas that we turn into pieces of other people, a kind of Frankenstein. Where are we in that collection of fancy cars, nose jobs, designer bags and million dollar homes? Why are we choosing these things?
It’s easy to start making choices for designer duds or that amp up our schedules to be so busy that the volume of our lives is reaching decibels over 150! Our culture is sort of set up that way. In my day, we called this “Keeping up with the Jones’.” One may argue that–– for some ––an updated version may be “Keeping up with the Kardashians.”
5: Is this of value to my truest self? I often have to ask myself that question (mostly when I’m shoe shopping) to hack-down to the core reason for a purchase, or a gig I’m taking, or why I’m choosing to spend time with this group of people. Am I doing this to elevate my outwardly-perceived status? Do I really like these people? Did I have to have the Fendi? When we know why we are making these choices we can better gauge how they reflect our truest self. This… is how we begin to balance the EQ.
When we’re staying true to who we are–-without distortion in our lives–– we are presenting ourselves to others in a way that can inspire instead of being the copy of a copy of a copy. It’s how we attract love and give love. The best part of the whole deal is the sense of love we gain for ourselves, which then radiates out to everyone around us. We stop living with a near-sighted view of ourselves, with the volume jacked so high we can’t hear our inner truths, and we begin sharing all our imperfections, oddities, kookiness, talents, virtues and love with those around us: we’re an amalgam of our experiences and choices.
NO MORE DISTORTION!
Cool, right? That can only happen without distorting the way we view ourselves. If we are spinning 37 plates at a time, and they’re all in alignment with our true self, we can do it with ease. When the 37 plates cause us to feel drained and frantic, that’s when we need to hack away at our motivations for the items on those 37 plates.
Now let’s go balance our EQ levels; I’m pretty sure the distortion is giving us wrinkles.