“I prefer myself liking people
to myself loving mankind.”
I love the way Wislawa Szymborska put together a splendid picture of preferences in her poem Possibilities. Every time I read it, it makes me think about all the countless ways out there for us to be and to choose from; about my own past, current, and future choices. And also about authenticity and integrity.
How difficult can be at time to share a true story of ourselves – be it in a professional or personal setting – and how hard it can be for others to understand it! What we show every day to people around us (in person and online) are bits and pieces of an enormous picture of ourselves, a picture that might not be clear even to us in its entirety. In addition, the story is continuously written and changes every second…
How often do we find ourselves in the situation of telling something about ourselves? To family and friends, colleagues at work, sitting in a taxi or while getting a haircut… and everywhere we show a tiny piece of who we are, be it through words, gestures, body language, social media. Storyline and tone of voice tend to change depending on counterparts, topic, circumstances, channels.
Adapting is often necessary to cope with our so different roles and situations. In this line of thought, would compromising on our true self be a legitimate option if it would make it easier to progress, be liked or reach a goal? A naïve question, you might think. And here is what it might appear a naïve answer – not for me!
It´s with mixed feelings that I see my birthday approaching every year. Not necessarily because of my age [believe it or not I don´t think in terms of age yet (or anymore)], but more because of the all the question marks surrounding it. Not the bigger life questions, it´s the more insignificant, practical ones that bother me: How to spend the day? If I don´t celebrate, how to express this wish in a diplomatic way? What kind of presents do I wish for?…
I never really believed in and enjoyed my own birthday celebrations and I most probably never will. But what I learned for sure is that it´s NOT an ordinary day. There is no other day in the year on which I am asked to blow a candle and eat a strawberry cake at 6:45 am; I have my colleagues be in the office before me with a tasty self-made tiramisu, flowers, and champagne; I get the most sincere best wishes and lovely presents all day and get to meet and hear from wonderful friends from all over the world.
Many thanks to all of you who find a way to celebrate (with) me on this day despite my often stubborn unwillingness to do so! THANK YOU!