Who am I? Who are You?

I’m Nobody! Who are you?

Are you – Nobody – too?

Then there’s a pair of us!

Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!

Emily Dickenson

While I am definitely Nobody, I thought it important to define my Nobody-ness, so that you, Dear Reader, can understand how that impacts my words. Geographer Jared Diamond argues that we evolved to consider GGNEE (gender, generation, nationality/ethnicity, education level/employment, emotion) when we meet a person. Gender and generation tell us about the other person’s potential as a mate. Knowing if they are from our group (their nationality/ethnicity), combined with their skills (education level and employment) and emotional state (particularly perceived friendliness) lets us know what we might expect from them more generally—are they a possible resource, a new friend, or a threat? I identify as a White, cisgendered, straight, middle-aged, ambulatory woman, who has spent a lot of time in higher education. These identities and their intersectionalities undoubtedly color my view of relationships, and my ability to present psychological principles about relationships.

As part of my Nobody-ness, I am insecure—AND—infinitely worthy. Physicist Niels Bohr, a founder of quantum mechanics, formulated the Principle of Complementarity. The Principle of Complementarity states that objects can have complementary properties that cannot be measured simultaneously. In other words, there are two truths that appear to be in opposition, or that we cannot grasp simultaneously. Bohr stated, “The opposite of a fact is a falsehood, but the opposite of one profound truth may well be another profound truth.” Being prone to dualistic thinking (‘it’s either this or that’), I both struggle with and find great comfort in the Principle of Complementarity. I used to think that I needed to resolve all my insecurities before I—or anyone else—could accept that my worth is infinite. Now, I am working from the complementarity belief that I am simultaneously insecure AND infinitely worthy. Extending this logic, my insecurities may be a part of what makes me lovable—they are certainly a part of what makes me human. Although it is not always easy for me to accept the seemly opposing ideas that I can be insecure and secure simultaneously, it has proved way more productive than beating myself up for being insecure and believing that I need to overcome all my insecurities before I can have worth.

I liken it to scaling a mountain. Previously, I was trying to reach the top of the mountain by attacking the shear, rocky, dangerous face; this led to minimal progress and a lot of injuries. Now, I have decided to take the winding trail on the backside; it’s still arduous, but I am making steady progress, there are lovely places to stop and rest when needed, the risk of injury is minimized, and I feel confident in my ability to continue onward. I hope that you are Nobody also and that the pair of us can be companions on our journeys.

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