Owning My Inner Bozo

We’re all bozos on the bus, so we might as well sit back and enjoy the ride.  –Wavy Gravy

I’m notorious for putting my foot in my mouth.  Long-time friends and family members know me to be goofy, absent-minded, and foolish.  I get teased about this and it is mostly light-hearted and humorous.

But what about when I’m a bozo at work? Or with a client? Or with a stranger?  What do I do then?  When the other person doesn’t know me very well. When I’m concerned about the impression I’ll make.  When my being a bozo might damage a relationship?

Part of the answer, I’ve learned, lies in remaining vulnerable. This is certainly not easy…

I remember about 15 years ago working with my therapist while I was in grad school at Berkeley.  During one session she gently suggested that I was a perfectionist.  My response?  Oh no! Me? A perfectionist? Never. I was such a perfectionist I couldn’t even admit that flaw!

As I continue to grow, I am slowly learning to accept and often laugh at the ways I am a bozo.  Over many years of introspective work– therapy, coaching, reading, studying– and  friends who have helped in this process, I am happy to be include my “inner bozo” as an vital aspect of my identity.

Elizabeth Lesser puts it best:

… I believe that we are all bozos on the bus, contrary to the self-assured image we work so hard to present to each other on a daily basis…None of us are models of perfect behavior: 

We have all betrayed and been betrayed; we’ve been known to be egotistical, unreliable, lethargic; and stingy; each one of us has, at times, awakened in the middle of the night worrying about everything from money, kids, or terrorism to wrinkled skin and receding hairlines…

This is cause for celebration.  If we’re all bozos, then for God’s sake, we can put down the burden of pretense and get on with being bozos…It is so much more effective to work out our rough edges with a light and forgiving heart.

Imagine how freeing it would be to take a more compassionate and comedic view of the human condition—not as a way to deny our defects but as a way to welcome them as the standard human operating system. [emphasis added]

From Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser

What a relief to be human, vulnerable and imperfect.

When was the last time you kindly acknowledged and embraced your inner bozo?

* Thanks to my colleague, Natalie Kresen, for showing such kindness in sending me this book at a time when I really needed it.

3 thoughts on “Owning My Inner Bozo

  1. Thanks for this Elo! Your inner bozo (and your willingess to be vulnerable) is an inspiration and one of the most lovable things about you!

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