Remember when the whole “Ellen DeGeneres and her Dog” fiasco happened? A re-cap in case you missed it:
Talk show host/ love-of-my-life-if-I-were-gay Ellen DeGeneres had adopted a dog and given it away to a young girl and her family, only to find out she’d breached the contract of her adoption by giving the dog to new owners. The adoption agency paid a visit to the home of the young girl and her family to whom Ellen had given the dog and reclaimed the puppy, saying it was now property of the agency since Ellen wasn’t technically allowed to give the dog to another family. The next day on her show, Ellen graced her live audience and millions of TV viewers around the world sobbing in tears. Explaining what had happened and that she was desperately fighting to get the agency to return the dog to the sweet and now very sad recipient of her pup, she made no apologies for her expression of grief, saying that it just wouldn’t be “her” to act like she was happy when she was feeling so upset. Here’s the actual clip:
I was in awe when I watched this – perhaps because if I were to grace an audience of millions everyday and be that authentic, there would probably be a lot more tear-filled episodes of my show than just the one that Ellen has had. To share who we are with the world, to observe courageous vulnerability as sociologist Brene Brown refers to it, can be a very tall order. Ellen has always moved me with her courage, and the way she has used it to set other people free. As a friend of mine put it recently, she gave the gift of saying “Hey. Me too.”
In a world that says “be yourself, except don’t,” I think we’re all feeling that desire to hear “me, too” in some way. It was recently that I realized the only people who I tend to compare myself with and think I need to “be more like” are people who I’ve only met once … or people who I don’t know very well.
In walking around the world recently, I’ve done my best to keep an eye out not for what’s different between me and everyone else, but for what’s the same. It turns out I always lose in the game of comparing my insides to other people’s outsides, but in being myself – or being faced with others doing the same – I find that I’ve given and received more gifts than I could possibly pay back in return.