Do you know? I mean, do you really know who you are?
It’s an important question. When you’re young, it’s not clear yet. Sometimes, you need to be able to ask for other people’s feedback. Asking for it is vital because you can direct your steps and do your best to get from where you are to where you want to be.
Once you’re my age, though, things are different. You’ve already made a few mistakes, and you’ve had your share of successes. When you need help, which is always the case somehow, especially if your commitments to the world and humanity go far beyond your well-being and sometimes your most precious relationships… I have had that experience; it’s a delicate balance.
In any case, when you’re my age, you seem to know better who you are, for better or worse. If there are things you can change, you know what you have to do. But the question is, do other people see you for who you are?
Suppose they do, which is rarely the case; why is it important?
For us to be able to continue our work in the world, people need to see us.
It’s like art; if you don’t ship the work and get the feedback, you don’t know its real value; why? Because you may start your creative work from what interests you, but when your work goes out there to your audience, your ability to touch and move people with it is vital for the future of your career and the possibility of continuing your work.
I belong to that breed of people who create the realities they wish to work in. I do. I don’t work in any organization, and I’m not fond of bureaucracy, politics, PR, and public opinion. I am utterly unemployable. But, I care deeply about people, about what is between a person and humanity. The impact we may have is of tremendous interest to me.
I must admit that at times during my professional circus career, it’s been evident that people who could help me were essential for the progression of my work. What they thought about it made a world of difference.
I was lucky in this sense. Some great generous people saw me for who I was. I can count them on one hand, but without them, I wouldn’t be writing this blog, helping so many other creative people, living the life I do now, or searching for what lies beyond what I know of myself today.
So, yes, people must see you and your work if you want to grow and contribute.
It is crucial to take care not to lose yourself in the appreciation of other people, especially if these are people whose opinions you value.
You need to be able to maintain your freedom to choose. This is easier said than done.
The secret is in understanding that no one but you knows how to keep going being you.
This is the million-dollar question. After having gone through all of the above roadblocks, possible forks in the road, plainly inevitable setbacks, and all other travel metaphors you can imagine for a life journey, the question always is, and always will be: Where is your bliss now?
I believe this is a question you need to ask at least once a year and give yourself an honest answer. Then ask the people you genuinely believe know you and who you trust, where they think your bliss lies, then make your choice.
In my humble experience, there is no other way to proceed.
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