Why the world needs us to be deeply human

Buried in the storm of photoshopping, airbrushing, and social media lies our lost sense of humanness. Slipped beneath our skin like a shameful secret, we cover our humanness with unnatural lighting, glowing filters, and fake smiles.

We are fed ideas that we should be aesthetically perfect, everyone shouting a slightly different idea of what that looks like, and the issue only begins with our appearance.

Our body image is the louder of the screaming societal nudge toward perfection, but underlying every whisper toward super human standards is a terrifying urge to avoid our humanness within our souls as well.

On an internal level, we are straying further from the reality and beauty of how we were made to be. Experiencing emotions and actually expressing them in the most beautifully authentic way is too often seen as insane. Inherent to being human is enduring the deepest emotions, and yet the bravery to fully feel is labeled as too much, unstable, or crazy.

A screaming whisper rolls through society that we must be flawless, all knowing, and fully in control of our emotions. With each spoonful of perfectionism we inadvertently slip into each new generation’s mouth, society refills the drip plugged into their veins filled with unreal expectations. Living in this environment forces the toxicity through our pores, no matter how loving our family may be or how strong our own knowing is. There is always the whisper, the quiet hints that children absorb as they learn about the world.

My own reclamation of my humanness is still a grand work in progress.

The cracks in my self image began from the outside world, despite my mother’s praise and unwavering support, for which I am phenomenally grateful.

Her words to me were often of my perfection, and yet, I watched her fill her own head with other tales, ones of inferiority and unworthiness. I watched as she let everybody in her life walk all over her, dirty feet trampling her self confidence. She hides her magic from the world because the undercurrent floating through crowds tells her she is never enough. Her basic human needs fell too far down her list of priorities.

So I learned from her, despite the unconditional love she poured into me.

I began to hide my light, make myself smaller for others, plaster a smile over my pain. Every time she told me how perfect I was, I tensed and added another perfectly symmetrical brick to the wall I built to disguise my humanness. I internalized the belief that I must maintain a seemingly perfect standard in order to be loved, despite the truth being that she showed me the most love in the moments I screamed and sobbed us both into an ocean of my tears.

Her love was most forceful when my humanness poured out of me in waterfalls of messiness. This love didn’t come in the form of praise and compliments, it presented itself the way unconditional love does. It showed up as sitting with me in the dirt, not leaving when my darkest human parts exposed themselves, witnessing the fall and the rise and the immense strength it takes to step further into the messiest human experience.

In these moments and in other areas of her life, my mother demonstrated how fully embracing humanness creates far more success in the world than stifling it.

She started a business from nothing, and led it with heart to be one of the most successful in her field. She created a work environment that overflowed with love, and each employee was not only well cared for, but also every one of them still says that working for her was the absolute best experience of their careers.

She led with emotion, with her truth, and with her humanness. She felt deeply and used that to create a thriving company, making space for other’s vulnerability and raw tenderness. Allowing human emotion is one of the greatest ways to be a strong, loving, and successful leader. Her work would not have been so important in the world if she hadn’t infused it so deeply with her humanness.

The truth hidden below the false feed of perfectionism is that the gift of being human is magic power, and our greatest strength.

Human beings are wild and ridiculous and scarred. Our insides create chemical reactions that form intangible energies. Every action and creation that exists in the world was sparked by a feeling, from a deep, messy, human emotion that spurred us to make change.

We were not made to hide this gift, to contort ourselves into someone else’s idea of what we should be. Our world needs us to be deeply human because we have a great need for empathy today. Being understanding toward one another is fundamental to advancing our human experience and creating progress. We need to fully lean into our unique gift of emotion so we can enact positive change toward understanding and harmony in our world.

The world must be a safe space for all of us to express our truth. In a world littered with fear of our own humanness, our greatest courage is to allow ourselves to fully experience our emotions so we can use them to be better people and lift others.

To be real, raw, honest, and wild with emotions as we were created to be is immensely brave. Our basic truth is that none of us really want perfection at all.

We desire vulnerability, tenderness, naked emotion, and sensitivity.

We fall in love more deeply with those who expose their humanness, the ones who peel back their ribcage and share the view of the messy, flawed, raw and bloody truth of being a human. It is our imperfection that makes us so immensely lovable. Through embracing our messy and marvelous humanness, we can be better leaders, lovers, and humans in the world.