I was recently talking to a musician who said that when he’s performing he comes alive. In the day to day he’s pretty low key, but as soon as he steps on stage this energy bursts out of him. When I asked if this seems normal in the performing world, he paused to think and then said yes with hesitation. He was torn because he knows some performers who are more about technical performing than putting on a show. On the other hand, there are a number of people like him who are more about getting the crowd going while off stage, they’re pretty dull. I fall into this latter category. For instance, performing a wedding I’m hilarious while afterwards I’m a snooze-fest. I first realized this contrast when I was seventeen. I performed my first comedy sketch at my high school and the teachers who knew me as the quiet goody-goody were shocked to see this whole other side. This leads to the question I had to ask myself: Am I bottling up my true personality in real life, am I faking it on stage, or do I simply have different sides? If you asked me this question when I was seventeen or even in my first few years as the outgoing youth pastor, I would have said that my true personality was simply being bottled up. My anxiety had been preventing me from being the fun person I really was. Later into my youth pastor years, however, I realized that this wasn’t the case. I may have been outgoing as a youth pastor, but that was part of the show. No matter how fun I might seem at work, when I was with my family or friends, I’m really boring. In fact, at holidays I’ve always felt more comfortable doing the dishes by myself listening to people talk in the other room.
The reality is I have different sides of me; we all do. To better understand this, consider a cube shaped die (die is the single of dice in case you’re thinking I’m accidentally drawn to death). Like a die, we have multiple sides of us that are brought out depending on the environment, who we are with, and our physical state because hunger and tiredness can play a toll on us. Within these six sides of us, we can be more selfish or loving depending on how well we’ve developed our heart. When we go numb from grief or fear, this is like we’re temporarily stuck between sides, but a side will soon take over. The following is a not a scientific breakdown, but from my own observations. I know one person said we have twenty sides us, but I find people less complicated:
- Spectator Side: This is the quiet side in us that watches others rather than be involved.
- Engaged Side: This is the side of us that is involved and a participant. This can be engaged in an activity by ourselves or with other people.
- Showy Side: This is different than the engaged side because it’s more about being the performer in some way. Some people put on a show to fit in with a crowd while others like me are more the performer when I’m working.
- Behaving Side: This is the side where we are more submissive and obey the leader.
- Rebellious Side: This is the side that makes us question what we’re told. This can be very helpful or make us super annoying.
- Fighter Side: This is the side that makes us stand up for ourselves and those around us. Sometimes we can train this side to be a loving fighter who addresses tough issues assertively or it can be the wild and crazy side in us that gets us in a lot of trouble.
I find that we have all developed these six different sides with different weight, which means they stand out more than others. For instance, I have a lot of weight on the Quiet Side, but that can be trumped by my Showy Side when I’m performing. In general, I’m much happier being a spectator and being in the background. That being said, when I’m alone, my Engaged Side can become in full force as my head is clear from distraction of others and I can just be in the activity. This is why when I was in school I struggled to do work in class, but I was great doing it alone at home. It’s also why I won’t go to a coffee shop to work whereas I get my best ideas alone in the car talking to myself. My Engaged Side is essentially handicapped by others because I want to perform and joke or be a spectator.
No matter what the weight is for us to these different sides, we need to try to act out of love. For instance, if I’m going to be a spectator, it needs to be without judgement or criticism; if I’m going to be a fighter, I need to do it in a loving way that doesn’t hurt the other person. We have different sides to us, but we never have an excuse for being rude and mean.
This week may you consider what side you want to bring out more and/or work on in order to be happier.
Rev. Chad David, ChadDavid.ca, learning to love dumb people