August 25, 2015

How I Approach Life the same way I Approach a First Kiss.

People holding flowers (detail) 2007

Self-Annihilating Emotional States and the “Disappearing Vito.”

My name is Vito. I’m a husband, father, healer, writer, therapist and fan of food and football. I’m not defined by these roles—I define myself by how I show up for them. I am present. I am engaged. I am authentic. Because of this, I am my own version of these roles, rather than a generic model.

When we are authentically present, everything we do contains our individuality. Our essence.

Everything from fathering to microwaving the leftovers.

Sometimes, when we’re not managing our emotions well, we become a function of our emotions rather than our individuated selves. Oops.

The “Disappearing Vito” is what happens when I get all reactive about something. See, when I’m happy, joyous, passionate, and confident, everything I do has a specific flare to it that only I can bring. But when I’m scared, frustrated, angry or just out of it, I’m simply a generic version of myself. I’ll say that again. I stop being Vito and become “Generic Angry/Frustrated/Sacred guy.”

See, we think we’re special. And hey, we are—sometimes. We’re not special all the time. We lose our individuality when we allow “restrictive” emotions to dominate our being. And it’s not like we can always stop this from happening. If someone loses a spouse they are going to be “Generic Grieving Adult” for a while, and that’s fine. But our emotions that make us withdraw—fear—or act out predictable scripts—anger—erase our individuality during the moments they are dominant.

We are like children in front of an empty canvas. We have paints at our disposal and we are free to create whatever we want. When we’re healthy, happy, thriving, and confident, the painting will reflect our individuality. When we’re frightened, nervous, angry and frustrated, it doesn’t affect the painting—we simply don’t paint.

It may not seem like “fear” is something that is deeply present, but when it comes to making changes and engaging new possibilities, the fear of inadequacy and rejection is going to show up. If we are not careful, it can dominate.

This life demands adjusting and confronting opportunities that include discomfort and risk, and thus it is not exactly easy to avoid the possibility of having to engage our fear and overcome its self-nullifying properties.

Every new direction in life is like a first kiss. Every new challenge we undertake, whether changing houses, allowing our children to date, or getting divorced, is something we can do with love and confidence.

Every first kiss has a jolt of weighted electricity because of the newness of being born into a foreign situation. Butterflies are expected here. But even if we get rejected, the experience is always different, rich and full of wonderful tools to learn from.

Every time we bail on attempting the first kiss? It feels exactly the same. And not only does it feel the same, it feels like nothing.

Surviving in safety is continuing to exist with “nothing” as our general intake of the world around us. We are not forming relationships and we are not giving our personal stamp of individuality to anything we do. It is the avoidance that robs the world of our unique presence. It’s not “no risk, no reward”, it’s “no risk, no existence.”

Every success and failure, as long as we are present, is an example of thriving in our world. That is because all experience that resonates deeply within us creates vitality. It puts color on our personal canvas. It announces our presence. I live my life for lots of first kisses and fully loaded canvases. I hope everyone else does too.


Author: Vito Mucci

Editor: Rachel Nussbaum

Photo: Thaths/Flickr

Leave a Thoughtful Comment

Read 0 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Vito Mucci