Be Authentic

We all know when somebody around us is being fake. Why can’t they just be real? It usually drives me CRAZY. What about you? Society dictates I should respond to their external personality, even though I KNOW that isn’t the whole story. Blurg 🙂
On the other hand, we can also tell when someone is “being real.” It means they are being their true self around others. Telling their truth, like it is – and holding nothing back. Sometimes it can be a bit much to handle – like they’re shining too brightly compared to everyone else’s current state.
I think of “being real” and “being fake” as two polar opposites on a spectrum. At any given time, each one of us falls somewhere on the scale.
But is it always the RIGHT TIME to be 100% real? Probably not. For example, it may not always be appropriate, or kind, or relevant. Hard as it is for me to admit, putting on a fake persona may be the right way to go (sometimes).
Or is it?

Learning to Be Real: A Little Story

Recently I spoke on a panel. I was very excited and wanted to do my best.During the event, a touchy subject came up – people reporting mental health struggles. I could JUST TELL that the person running the panel wanted us to skip the topic. Because it wasn’t pleasant, and therefore not appropriate. At that moment, I was faced with a choice: Move along or plunge into a sticky subject.KNOWING ME, CAN YOU GUESS WHAT I DID?I took the plunge.I said aloud that YES that is an actual real issue. Not only is it real, but there were real resources on how to deal with it, and I shared those resources with the audience.As soon as I stopped talking, all of my doubt and guilty feelings started to roll in. I started wondering whether that was the right thing to do. Should I have kept my mouth shut? Did I do the wrong thing? Was the whole world going to explode now? At the end of the panel, I found out.Afterward, I chatted with a few people who said “thank you for speaking!” They had learned a lot from me. That felt great to me. And you know what? ABSOLUTELY NO ONE SAID I WAS OUT OF LINE. Or that I had brought up an inappropriate topic. Not even the panel coordinator. In fact, it seemed a completely natural part of the discussion.Sooo… something I thought might lead to planetary explosion had no negative impact at all? Yep. That’s right. In fact, the judgment I felt from the panel coordinator was probably all in my head…. whoa.

A woman poses confidently

People resonate with the real you

Nobody is convinced that everything is perfect. When you are real, and talk about real life as you see it, people resonate with that.I’m not talking about the standard exchange we all know so well: “How are you?” “Fine and you?” “Good!” exchange you have with your grocery clerk. (Would things really be so weird if you said, “I’m craving sweet potatoes tonight, isn’t that funny?” Hmm.. I wonder what they would say back? Why don’t you try it and see how it goes?)But even more, I’m talking about the deeper interactions we have with those around us. My speaking experience really opened my eyes to how positively people respond to honesty. Kind honesty about your own personal experience. And that is pretty powerful. 🙂

A woman prepares to take a leap!

The right time to be real is…

All of the time! Around your bffs, at the grocery store, in front of a panel, and in your pajamas. All good, legit times to be real.Give it a try! “Being real” might help you remove the burden of portraying a perfectly fake version of yourself, which is a big burden indeed. And it also creates an example for others of how awesome it is to be yourself. You never know who else is watching, struggling with whether they should be real too.

Sincerely, Erienne Dr. Erienne WeineFresh Philosopher signature

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