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Getting Real: Embracing Authenticity

tree frog reclined looking in a mirror

Why not get real?


We don’t get today back, so why would we spend one more moment not being real or sharing who we authentically are? Why would we forfeit the opportunity of letting others know us and how we truly feel? 


How can we point fingers if the other person doesn’t know how to show us compassion, how to be a listening ear, or how to reach out during those times we just need a hug? How are they supposed to know who we really are if we wear a mask and never really let them in?

 

Why do we do this? For acceptance? Fear of failure? Worried about how we look? Afraid of being vulnerable? Maybe we are protecting ourselves, so others don’t take advantage of us. Or maybe there is a lack of courage that keeps us from allowing others to love us. I say this…

 

Don’t let another moment pass you by without “getting naked” with the world, showing all of who you are, and being all that you can be. Don’t waste another second not letting people in, missing the opportunity to share your magnificence.

 

Once we begin to recognize and embrace the gift we are to the world, we have the freedom to come out and play—we get to live life fully. I have come to realize that people who truly want to know us don’t care about how we look. They don’t care how much money we have, or how smart we are. They don’t care what we do for a living or what status we have in our community. 


What people want to know is who we are deep inside. They want to know the core of us, the essence of our being, and how to be in relationship with us; that is all that matters.

 

When Did We Start Complicating Things?

Have you ever wondered how kids can arrive at a new place, join a new group of other kids and just jump right in? Why don’t they stop to size up or interview their new buddy? I’ll tell you why: they don’t have time for critiquing or judging their new playmate; they just want to play—to have fun and enjoy the moment, without wondering what their new friend is thinking about them.

 

Do yourself a favor and take a moment to sit in a park, close your eyes and just listen. Listen to the happy chatter. Hear the joy and most of all, hear the laughter.  

 

Why do we make it so complicated?

Why do we stop laughing?

Why do we lose our sense of humor?

Why do we hold ourselves back, missing the moments right in front of us?

 

Unlearn Inauthenticity to Get Real

When I was growing up, my parents never allowed us kids to witness conflict. I didn’t know they were unhappily married until they got a divorce 29 years later. The message I got was: hide everything and stay tuned, it will more than likely end.

 

I can still hear my late mother’s voice saying things like:

  • “Don’t ever bare your dirty linen in public.”

  • “Don’t ever let your guard down or you will be taken advantage of.”

  • “Don’t let people see you cry. They’ll see you as weak, so you better get a hold of yourself.”

  • “Make money, money, money because it gives you power.”

  • “Money will get you to the top of the chain and then you will be respected.”

  • “Love wisely.”

 

To this day, I’m still not sure what that last one could have possibly meant…  To me, love is love.

 

As you can see, I learned to be inauthentic—I did not dare be real. I feared trying out for sports, drama or anything that would expose me, so I missed many opportunities. I learned how to not cry and paste a smile on my face no matter what. I starved myself to stay thin and my looks became my focal point. I spent most of the time in the mirror learning how to manipulate people by using my looks to advance in life.

 

People never knew I needed them.  


I became a workaholic, intent on the goal of financial success, and missing out on so much fun and laughter. I would wake up each morning and wonder why no one lent me a helping hand or showed me compassion and love. 

 

I had many broken “love” relationships because I was only halfway present and available, and intimacy was role played. I lost my passion for life; my sense of humor had died and I lived in survival mode protecting myself. I truly had stopped living.

 

Now ask yourself honestly: did any of the above ring a bell, push a button, or make you feel sick inside?

 

When I was finally ready to examine and change how I was thinking, who I was being, and how I was living my life, I started to fully live. 

 

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am the “real deal;” that I wear the badge of authenticity with pride. I get to show the world daily who I truly am. I laugh a lot, and I think I’m pretty funny when I poke fun at all the silly things we get caught up in. But if you think for one minute I gave up caring how I look, I would be lying. I still look in the mirror frequently, but it doesn’t dictate who I am in a relationship and will never again hold me back from “getting real.”  

 

Here is your homework if you dare to take the challenge:

In silence, stand naked in front of the mirror. Keep looking for a while and allow yourself to truly see yourself. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the core of me?

  • What do I show to the world?

  • What do I hide from others and why?

  • What do I truly want from relationships with others?

  • What am I willing to risk to become real and authentic?

  • What do I love about myself?

 

Now, go write down what you discovered. Make a list of the first steps you are willing to take to get naked with the world and begin your authentic journey.


If you're willing, share in the comments what you discovered, or what steps you're going to take.
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