I have delusions of grandeur. This is likely not a shock to you; I am a blogger. The mere fact I believe my thoughts have worth is fairly grandiose.
Before you pile on or point and laugh, I do not think I am alone. It is our most coveted American pursuit. Many of us have dreams of the grand variety.
The project I have taken for myself assumes I will only be a somebody when I break from the ordinary. When I emerge from good to great. When my read tally moves from double digits to the quintuple. Or when I am noticed for my fashion acumen or wit or my long list of Fantasy Football championships. I could continue, but you get the picture.
The issue with this project is I can never rest. I obsess over each move I make. From the prose I use to the skinny jeans I choose. I compare and contrast. Compete and convince.
The problem with this compulsive way of life is the way it washes over relationships. Human relationship is deemed impossible under the weight of constant climbing because every relationship is caught in a scheme to be grand.
Genuine relationship falls prey to networking as we jockey for position. Each handshake or connection is assessed for its future value. Even our most intimate relationships are caught in this struggle. It is no wonder why everyone is lonely even in a crowded room, or maybe that is just me.
Brene Brown, in her book Daring Greatly, calls this the scarcity impulse. (Brown also shares some of these thought in TED talks on Shame and Vulnerablity). The progress in all of us demands that we rise from the ashes of ordinary. Brown says, “We spend inordinate amounts of time calculating how much we have, want, and don’t have, and how much everyone else has, needs, and wants.”
Scarcity is the “never enough” problem:
- Never good enough
- Never perfect enough
- Never thin enough
- Never powerful enough
- Never successful enough
- Never smart enough
- Never certain enough
- Never safe enough
- Never Extraordinary enough
Her answer to the whole project is vulnerability, which makes me queasy. I have finely chiseled armor to resist such a thing.
I would love to say she is just a pithy idealist with little sense of the world, but Brown is an academic who resisted the research as long as she could. She says, “The opposite of scarcity is enough or what I call wholeheartedness. At the core of wholeheartedness is vulnerability and worthiness; facing uncertainty, exposure, and emotional risk and knowing that I am enough.”
Our wiring is for real connection; our longing is for authentic relationships. Though it seems the fix is more or better, our struggle toward the top has little life in it. Life is found when we begin daring greatly with others.