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Thursday, March 27, 2008

For Real???

Today, I am taking a break from posting my series of articles on Steps to Happiness - although maybe this idea should be included in the series. I have had a thought on my mind for the last week or so and I just can't get it out, so i thought I would blog about it. This is likely to be different from the usual blog post - more of a pouring out of my heart than a step by step post... It's about being authentic or real.....

A good friend of mine that I just met recently, David B. Bohl at Slow Down Fast, has written a blog post related to what I am going to blog about. He gives some great tips in his post called Are You For Real? (So if you are looking for some specific tips on being real I encourage you to visit his post.) It's interesting that after reading his article I just kept seeing this topic every where I went. Is that coincidence??? I don't think so.

Are they fake or real?
Can you think of someone you knew either personally or otherwise who just appeared fake? A few politician people come to mind for me, among some others.

How about, can you think of those people who you have known who were "for real" people - people that you could just relax with the minute you came in contact with them. We often call them "down to earth" people. I think I never thought of necessarily equating "down to earth" with being real until now.

Do you have to be real to be happy?
Call it being genuine, honest, real, "down to earth" - call it what you want, but can we really be happy and successful without it? The more I think about it the more I think no we can not.

As I was working to process a pain event this morning, this thought kept coming to me. I realized that at least part of the reason that the event was a pain event - one that I had tried to process before, but was having trouble processing - was because I was trying to be perfect and not real.

How do we learn to be "fake?"
When I was a kid, my family was thought of as being the "perfect" family. We were active in church (that part was real) and we put on a good front to people so they thought we were so good. Well, several years ago it finally all crashed and my parents split up and finally divorced. It sure was hard going from people thinking you were perfect to everyone seeing you fall apart.... Maybe I learned a great deal about putting up a front from childhood on. Now, I love my family dearly. I'm not dissing them. Everyone was just doing what they knew and had been taught to do. I'm just saying I probably learned very early on to put up the front.

I think we often learn to be "fake" to protect ourselves. It's a defense mechanism. We want to look good so we put on our happy good selves for everyone to see. We want to be accepted so we will go to almost any length to be accepted - including being what we think others will accept. Yes, I've been guilty of it. Have you? Acceptance is one of those basic human needs, so we will go to those lengths for it.

Especially when moving to a new place, we put on this front to protect ourselves from being hurt and rejected. Does anything really feel worse than being rejected? I would say not.

Another area in which I to tend to be fake is admitting failure. Who likes to admit failure? I'm afraid of apprearing weak and incompitent so I try real hard to not let anyone know I have failed - like people can't figure it out. :) Really, it's a matter of changing our attitudes and turning our failures into opportunites for success. If that is our mindset then we will not have to be afraid....

Well, whatever the reason(s) may be for our lack of "realness" it needs to be dealt with. I have figured out the hard way that the only way to live is to be real - 100% of the time. It's about realizing I don't have to be perfect. Wow! That's a relief. (And no one is, so I'll fit right in with everyone.:))

So from this moment forward I resolve to be real, sincere, genuine in all that I do. I will now constantly ask myself throughout the day, "Is this the real honest truth? Are you trying to impress someone or is this real?" If it is not real, I will not do it or say it. It's my commitment to myself, God and the world.

I commit to taking the focus off of myself and instead seeing how I can help others feel accepted BY me. It's just another reminder that it really is not about me, but instead it's about God and what I can do for Him by serving others. If that's the focus, there's never a need to be fake.


3 comments:

Shilpan said...

Jennifer,

I had to ponder for a moment after reading your article. It's amazing revelation. I believe that when we try to act fake, it is out of fear of loosing self esteem. This happens to people who live their lives to other's perception of their own self image. I also have made commitment, after reading this article, to remain conscious about my thoughts and living life that I love with utmost honesty and integrity.

David B. Bohl @ SlowDownFAST.com said...

Jennifer,

Excellent post!

It's a shame that we're conditioned to try to be things we're not. But all we can truly be is who we are today.

That doesn't mean that we cannot aspire to learn and grow and to become better people.

I have the following affirmation posted on my wall:

"Now is mine.
I can do what I want with it.
I own it, for better or worse.
What I do now, in this present moment, is what makes up my life.
My whole life is only a succession of nows.
I will take this moment and do something with it.
What I do with each now will make me or break me.

David

Jennifer said...

Shilpan, Well said... Being fake (or not totally honest) is directly related to the fear of loosing our self esteem. We do it without even being conscious of it. We have to become totally confident in who we are and not care about what others think. That's a very scary thing to embark upon, but well worth it when you do it.

David, yes, I too have pondered that about aspiring to become better. When we are working on bettering ourselves it will often feel fake at first, but that does not mean that we should not keep pushing through until it becomes who we are. We just have to be sure we are doing it for the right reasons to begin with. Excellent observation!

I love the affirmation!!! Thanks for sharing it. If we want to really live we have to see each present moment as a gift and vow to do the very best with this gift. All the moments do add up! They are what make up our life.