If I say the word “duality,” what immediately comes to mind?
Take a moment to think about the word – maybe the places you’ve heard it before, how it’s been used, how you use it, why you use it, if you love it or hate it, the feelings it brings up in you. Sure, it’s just a word, but let it sit with you for a moment.
I’ll start with my own feelings about it.
When I hear this word, my first thought is that it’s one of those woo-woo words people throw around in spiritually profound ways to explain something that feels inexplicable – like there’s a secret club I don’t know about. I then go back to my first reading of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – how every one of us has good and evil inside of us. My brain then wanders further into the realm of fascination going toward understanding bipolar disorder, mood swings, and even schizophrenia. Yet I find myself sitting in my own duality – clearly wanting to know what it means while also wanting to stay far away from it at the same time.
As this word flooded me with interest, I dove into what duality really means and started becoming offended at how simple a concept it is. AND that I was using it all the time. To explain personal branding, to help others see themselves and their work clearer, to describe my own way of being to the world. I even started getting upset by how often I use it without even noticing.
You’re probably sitting there saying, “cool, so are you going to explain it?” Yes. Of course.
But first, let me ask you this: Are you happy?
Honestly – I want to know if you are happy in every single area of your life. Are you happy at work? At home? With your friends? At the PTA meeting? Dropping your kids off at school? At the gym? When you get dressed? When you fall asleep? With your spouse? Alone? In your body? Every minute of every day?
Now, let me ask: Are you fulfilled? In EVERY area of your life? All of those same places…
I bet you have places where you’re not happy – or not fulfilled. Maybe those are the places you’re growing, healing, learning, working, becoming. And that’s amazing! You’re right where you’re supposed to be. You are allowed to be unhappy or unfulfilled in parts of your life. In case you needed permission. YOU ARE ALLOWED.
…AND YET (you knew this was coming) – you are also allowed to become happy and fulfilled in every single part of your life. Becoming happy and fulfilled is why you’re here. It’s your life mission – the reason you were put on this planet. To step fully into who you really are – and who you are meant to be. Who you were created to be. Full stop. Period. Not because you have to do it for other people (I know, I know – you’re a giver) – but because YOU ARE HERE TO BECOME YOUR BEST SELF. Then and ONLY then can you help others fully. You becoming happy and fulfilled is WHEN you are able to do that.
I know it feels like I went on a tangent, but I’ll explain in a moment. Back to duality. Let me fully explain this word from a few different angles.
DEFINITION: the state or quality of being two or in two parts; dichotomy (British definition on dictionary.com)
CONCEPT: As hinted at by the word “dual” within it, duality refers to having two parts, often with opposite meanings, like the duality of good and evil. If there are two sides to a coin, metaphorically speaking, there’s a duality. Peace and war, love and hate, up and down, and black and white are dualities. (as explained on vocabulary.com)
You are a human who is both sides of the same metaphorical coin. You are two parts – one perfect, the other imperfect. You are love AND fear (btw, hate is not the opposite of love, fear is). You are light and darkness. You are greatness and smallness. You are abundance and scarcity. You are healed and healing. You are whole and growing. You are all of it and none of it.
You can also be scared and excited at the same time. You can be ready and not ready. You can feel safe and unsafe. You can feel healthy and unhealthy. You can be all in while also wanting to run for the hills.
Here’s the thing about human duality – it’s not all half and half, like a coin. You are always rebalancing each side of who you are. You are defining who that YOU is – and allowing yourself to accept BOTH parts of you with love and understanding, patience and tenderness. You are NEVER going to be perfect, yet you can always keep striving toward perfection. You can NEVER be all-knowing, yet you can always be striving to learn more. You can NEVER be happy all the time, yet you can always be striving to find bliss. You can NEVER be finished, yet you can always be heading toward the finished line. Your humanness allows you to use this life as a path to find yourself – your duality is the whole you.
As I dig more and more into this beautiful word, I find my own personal brand in it: Approachable Badass. Approachable is the friendly and easy-going part, Badass is the “I’m scared but doing it anyway” part. These aren’t half and half, yet they’re always balancing each other perfectly. Right now I’d say I’m 65% approachable and 35% badass. It feels like a solid balance for where I am in life, but ask me in a year and I’ll have shifted again.
When I defined this, I began using Approachable Badass as a filter for everything – from the way I dressed to the emails I wrote clients. I filtered my marketing, my relationships, and my way of being – and even applied it to how I decorate my home. Even my car, Roxie Jean the Hot Rod Machine, is on brand. She’s a cherry red MINI Cooper with the John Cooper Works package. She is the epitome of Approachable AND Badass.
If something in my life doesn’t fit my brand, it doesn’t get to stay. (My closet is next – watch out!)
If you fully accept your own duality, how would you describe yourself? I ask because this is really what it means to define your personal brand. Accepting ALL parts of yourself for what they are – knowing you’ll continue growing into who you are meant to be – and also knowing how you want to show up in all parts of the world. I’ll even take it one step further if it’ll help.
Duality is happening around us all the time. It only takes awareness to notice it. Even in the words we use every day.
As I began writing this post, I received a text from a friend/client who had sent me a birthday message at 11:11pm the day before. I replied with gratitude and noted the angel number. I’ll just show you what happened next.
Another form of duality in such a simple form – recognized immediately by two people who were in tune with the signs that were happening, even in the word choices. Wild = perfect. She had 1111 on a necklace around her neck after wishing me happy birthday at 11:11pm. This was wild AND perfect – duality.
Did you also just notice that I called her my friend/client? Another duality. One person can be both. (I feel like that could be a blog post in and of itself, amirite?)
As you sit there reading this blog post, your insides might be still struggling with the topic of duality. There might be a part of you that wants to agree with what I’m saying and a part of you that wants to oppose it. I get it! I feel the same way about this concept – and just saying that while writing an article/blog/whatever about this feels insane. It feels like I shouldn’t even bother to share this post because someone will think it’s bullshit, while I know I need to write it because someone else needs to hear this. Oh, duality.
So, what’s the real point of me even writing about this? Is it really even about the definition of duality? This is where I’ll get back to that tangent I went on earlier.
You are here for a reason. To become your best self.
How can you become your best self? By accepting every single part of you. The beautiful AND the messy. The happiness AND the sadness. The powerful AND the powerless. The whole AND the incomplete. The healed AND the healing. The lovable AND unlovable. The wild AND the perfect. (The dainty AND the bitch.) I could go on, but I think you get the point.
You are a whole human – one whole human with one life. One beautiful big life to live – with all of its complexities, uncertainties, anxiety-inducing, fear-filled worry AND with all of its beauty, thrill, opulence, luxury, heart-filling pleasure. You get to choose how you live it. And once you finally see the duality in yourself, you can balance it any way you please. That’s when you can accept all of you for who you are. YOU! And THAT, my friend, is how you become happy AND fulfilled.
Duality is happening around us all the time. Duality is happening IN us. Duality is human.
Duality is happening around us all the time. It only takes AWARENESS to notice it. You’ll see it in yourself and in others – and my hope for you is that you’ll have more grace and patience. More love and more respect. For yourself AND with others.
So, my last question for you is: What will you DO with this one big beautiful life?
That’s the real million dollar question. And I’m SO HERE for your answer.
(Leave a comment below or send me a love note.)
Have your WHAT and your WHY yet still struggling with the HOW?
Do the work you were actually put here to do.
Join me for our next Brilliant Rebels Retreat