By Refuge Intern, Rachel Bollinger
No matter what age you are, or when you were born, the world is not the same as it was then as it is now. We live in a heavily technology influenced life surrounded by reality TV, social media, celebrity culture, and cell phones that are practically glued to our hands. Due to this, our sense of the world is completely skewed, along with how we view ourselves. We have moved away from a world where a person gains value and worth from the people around them and the work they are doing, towards a world that tells us we are only as good as the number of “likes” we get on Facebook or Instagram (Brown, 2012, p23). When looking at the world in these terms it is easy to see that we are living in a time where everyone is very inward focused with thoughts of “I have to be the best, I want the newest and latest thing, I went to Europe or Asia or Africa, I did this or I did that, I, I, I…” After all, my life is all about me isn’t it? Or at least that’s what most people choose to believe when they think about thoughts like this. What if though, these actions are purely a cry out for a longing to be seen and loved, because behind the wall of “It’s all about me, look what I did” is really “Does anyone even know me, I’m never enough, I feel so alone”?
In Brené Browns book Daring Greatly (2012) she stated, “When I look at narcissism through the vulnerability lens, I see the shame-based fear of being ordinary. I see fear of never feeling extraordinary enough to be noticed, to be lovable, to belong, or to cultivate a sense of purpose” (p.22). We as a people are not inwardly focused but rather we have become so outwardly focused that we compare ourselves to others to measure our worth. With that comes the fear of not measuring up to others so we create this façade of how amazing we are, or how much better than everyone else we are, to get people to accept us and love us, but in reality it just makes us more alone and the people who see us this was more alone too. Our lives have become over taken by shame of ourselves, comparison to everyone else, and eventually disengagement in sharing who we really are. Despite what our culture presents, we are not narcissistic, but rather, we are full of feelings of not being known, and not being enough. In order to change our life and our world we must challenge ourselves to become more vulnerable with others. Our natural instinct is to shut down and back away when things get too raw, but what if we were to open up and lean in even more in those situations, and along with that, embrace and encourage one another? Let’s challenge society norms by leaning in and engaging with one another, and hopefully not only be seen by others, but see others too, because you are enough to be known and loved. Are you up for the challenge?