Starbucks Identity Crisis
Whenever I go to Starbucks I pretty much have an existential crisis trying to communicate my name to the poor Barista who has to write it on the cup. Finally I got wise and just started making up names. It was a great plan, except that I was about to discover lying about who you are brings with it a whole host of new challenges much worse than having your name butchered.
The practical problem: Invariably, while waiting for my drink, I’ll be working away on my laptop wondering why they haven’t called me, only to realize that “Jim’s” drink was ready twenty minutes ago.
The mental problem: I can barely remember my kid’s names, let alone a all of my Starbucks aliases, and on more than one occasion I have forgotten the name I gave.
The moral (and marital) problem: But here’s the real reason I stopped using fake names. At one Starbucks I used Jim so many times that I began to get called Jim beyond Starbucks. Once, when I was out to dinner with my wife, a not unattractive female barista said, “hi Jim.” I spent the rest of the night explaining to my wife that it wasn't as suspicious as it sounded!
Whew, lessoned learned. Lying about who we are is a hell of a lot of work. It’s confusing and it’s even dangerous. But the truth of the matter is we do it all the time - and I’m not talking about Starbucks.
Inauthentic Self Creeps In
Even if we don’t explicitly lie about our identity, or make up aliases, nonetheless we all lie about who we are. We do it through living as our Inauthentic Self.
What is our Inauthentic Self?
Each of us has within us what I would call the Authentic Self.
The Authentic Self is who we really are. She’s not a version of us, she is us. She’s our deepest longings, our true desires, our ultimate purpose and reason for being here. She flew solo within us as a child, up until that moment when little Johnny made fun of her favorite dress, and she never wore it again. Or her big brother made fun of her drawing, and she put away her Crayons for good.
And in crept Inauthentic Self.
Inauthentic Self is that version of us that shows up, but is not exactly us.
She's a yes woman. She’s a people pleaser. She’s a good time gal. Yes, she's us in body, but hardly in spirit. She says things and does things because she wants a life of ease, comfort and happiness - even if it is at the expense of the truth. In fact, truth is the first thing she abandons when the going gets tough or the tough get going - going to town on us, confronting us, antagonizing us, or walking all over us. In comes Inauthentic Self and out goes Authentic Self, bags packing along with her truth.
- Her mother-in-law is unhappy with the Thanksgiving plans so in walks Inauthentic Self and says, “no problem, we’d love to come to your house, again.” All the while Authentic Self is sitting there on the sidelines saying, “we would? WTF!!!”
- Her friend asks her for yet another favor that she really doesn’t want to agree to. Just as Authentic Self is about to say, “hell no, not this time,” Inauthentic Self bursts out “of course.”
- Her husband talks at her, not to her, making her feel like a child, again. And just as Authentic Self is about to unleash holy hell, Inauthentic Self becomes a prosecuting attorney turning this around on her as if it’s her fault. He’s the victim and she’s the perpetrator in some weird Inauthentic Self reasoned way.
- And when she looks in the mirror Inauthentic Self goes on a authenticity rampage. Authentic Self is begging with her, pleading with her to see her beauty, her loveliness, her infinite worth. Inauthentic Self, however, will have none of it, and sits there screaming a thousand reasons why she is not beautiful, not lovely and not worthy.
Inauthentic Self - The Bitch
Whereas Authentic Self is gentle, kind and quiet, Inauthentic Self is a ruthless, mean spirited bitch. She lies. She cheats. She withholds. And she steals. She robs us of our worthiness. She cheats us of our authenticity. And steals from us of our truth.
My friends, we may write on that Starbucks cup our honest to goodness name, however, each and everyone of us spends way too much of our lives lying in other ways.
We lie when we fail to speak up for what we want.
We lie when we fail to speak out for what we believe.
We lie when we send Inauthentic Self into the difficult situations to do our bidding, to keep the peace or to get ahead - always at the expense of truth.
Our true work in this lifetime is to let Authentic Self in and kick Inauthentic Self to the curb, lock her out and make sure she never gets back in again.
And that happens when we speak our truth.
And that continues when we love our truth.
And that is what will be when we live our truth.
We are not here to have two versions of us. We are not here to live a life with Inauthentic Self running the show. We are here to live a life of authenticity, to live our Authentic Self, only.
And that can and will only ever happen when we learn to speak our truth, love our truth and live our truth.