Becoming confident enough to be yourself
‘I’ve never been to me’ is a song by Charlene which went to No 1 in the UK charts in 1982. For many it is the worst Motown Number One ever, but is pertinent to the situation (COVID-19) we find ourselves in now.
The cheesy lyrics include the lines ‘I’ve been to Nice and the Isle of Greece… but I’ve never been to me’. It is about having to always be someone else and never being allowed to even find out who you are, let alone actually be that person.
Forward to late 2019, and many in the music industry, as in many other industries, are forced to subsume themselves into industry norms and accordingly standardise their personalities. Paradoxically the most successful have not done this. Good recent British examples have been Amy Winehouse and Adele who refused to follow the norms. An outstanding American example, even subject to a BBC Radio4 Profile, is the singer Lizzo – larger than life in every category, a phenomenal singer and performer who has no need of pitch correction in her performances.
Come 2020 and COVID-19, the requirement of the performers to be who they are and deliver has never been on show quite so much as the ‘One world’ show where performers such as Lady Gaga, Sam Smith and Andrea Bocelli, and many others sang together, each performing from their own home. No lavish productions or autocorrect to prop them up. And, of course, it is significant who is not performing and the conclusions we can all come to about their skills.
How does this affect us?
Many of us are now in lock down and the only places you can go are shops to buy food or pharmacies to pick up meds – the rest of the time, you are at home, either by yourself or with some version of immediate family.
It is the perfect time to discover who you really are – a great opportunity for self-examination, and if you don’t like the ’me’ you actually are, you can set about changing it.
Many are using this period as a great opportunity to organise themselves, deal with all the filing and position themselves for the future. And then see others, via Zoom, who are in a bad way, and cannot cope with the uncertainty.
Sphere of influence
The ‘sphere of influence’ model is useful here. Issues divide into three :
- Inner circle: those issues you can deal with by yourself;
- Outer circle: those issues you can deal with by collaborating with others;
- Outside both circles: those issues which you absolutely have no influence over.
Many of the issues thrust upon us by COVID-19 are things we have no influence over, so the first step is STOP worrying about things you can do nothing about.
Divide the things you CAN do something about into three categories:
- Things which are essential to your well-being which you can do on your own. (If you don’t look after yourself then you won’t be able to look after others);
- Things which are essential to your well-being, which you need to ask or influence others to attain;
- Things which are essential to others’ well-being which you can deliver to them (whether or not they have asked).
These can include:
- Ensuring you eat enough healthy food to stay fit but not fat, with, if you want, exercise;
- Keeping your distance when out and wearing a face mask to assuage the concerns of others;
- Really learn to appreciate yourself and potentially change the characteristics you don’t like;
- Keep in remote contact with others and support them when they need in the best way you can;
- Decide what you will do when this is all over and prepare yourself for it.
And finally: examine the way you communicate with other people:
- Do you understand them well enough to understand how they prefer contact?
- Do they understand you well enough to understand how you prefer contact?.
Always assuming you understand yourself well enough to know your own preferences.
This downtime is the lifetime opportunity to discover who you really are and what you really need. The chance to ‘be to me’.
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