I saw a video of a woman lip syncing to a Kelly Clarkson song and my immediate reaction was: “WTF? Why is she posting this? Why does she think we want to watch her 4 minute lip sync dance party? This is lame.”
After seriously pondering this for a few minutes, here’s where I landed:
She posted it BECAUSE SHE FELT LIKE IT. Because she was having fun. Because she wanted people to lighten up, and shimmy to the tunes that speak to their hearts, the way Kelly Clarkson speaks to hers. Because this was her way of trying to connect, to inspire laughter and joy.
But why was this not my immediate response? Why did I have to exert so much effort to see her video through gentler, more optimistic eyes?
I’ve got a hefty dose of cynicism floating around in my head. (I went to business school, after all, where cynicism is pumped into the air at 15 minute intervals.)
A lot of my life’s earliest experiences primed me to only value the A+ excellent, the high production value, top-notch, super-duper perfect. Because her video was not these things, I snarked.
My tendency toward skepticism and criticism is something I’m working on. It’s happening less and less, but it still occasionally rears its head. It’s one of my works in progress. And when it does show up, instead of attacking myself for being unkind or too rigid (used to do that – it doesn’t help – ever), here’s what I do:
I ask to soften. I invite compassion and hopefulness. I return to my desire for a wide open life that gives me space to be my true self, which means extending that same spaciousness to everyone else.
We’re all always learning and growing. I’m working on my stuff. You’re working on yours. To pretend that we’re not is to lie; to present false selves.
We are all works in progress.
If we could all get a bit more comfortable owning our messy, en route, majestic lives, we’d be so much kinder to ourselves when our old stuff shows its face. And we’d be more patient and tender when our friends and family flounder with their own messes. But most importantly, we’d probably spend more time laughing and participating in lip sync dance parties and really, what is better than a lip sync dance party?
Puppies, maybe. But not much else.
So here’s to our in-progress-ness. May we never again be ashamed of the ways we’re still struggling. May we be kinder to our ever-growing selves. May we love our works in progress.