“As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person.”– A Proverb*
Who are you?
Do you ever ask yourself that question?
Who is the REAL you?
I am not talking about the social media you, the work or school you, the church you, the you you display for the benefit of others, or the you you wish you could be.
I am talking about who you really are?
When you are alone.
When no one else is watching.
When it is just you and your thoughts.
When you do not have to pretend anymore.
I really do believe that a big part of contentment comes from knowing who you REALLY are and what you believe about life, and then having the courage and integrity to be that person in EVERY part and place of your life.
Duplicity is exhausting.
Authenticity is freeing.
Authentic integrity comes when your boundaries, ethics and morals are the same in EVERY context. There is no need for lying, acting or pretense. You are not different with different people.
Because you know who you really are!!
“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do. “– Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
Of course we need to learn what is required of us in different contexts. We will not be as relaxed with a group of strangers as we are with our families at home. And yet I believe that we can still be authentic in every situation, without telling people EVERYTHING!
Authenticity is simply about being ‘REAL’ and genuine. It’s doing away with pretending. It’s linked to humility which is being honest about our reality – whether good OR bad.
You do not need to make yourself appear better or make yourself look worse. You are not trying to ‘impress people’ or trying to get them to like you. It’s just being honest in all you say and do …. however that makes you look, regardless of how others treat you!
I have learnt a lot about humility since I started this blog! I really do believe some people think that people like me start writing publicly or similar, assuming they are good at it and that people will want to read what they have to say. Or out of pride – to get their ‘name’ out there in the world and share their opinions.
Of course that might be the motive of some!
But I have learnt how much humility and vulnerability it can take to write and launch it into the public realm. Particularly when you decide to write with brutal honesty about both the good and the bad times, the pain and the moments of celebration, your strengths and your weaknesses.
Writing has been a humbling journey for me. When I post my writing online the ‘insecure me’ whispers…. ‘why do you bother, is anyone actually going to read it, what if they don’t like it, will it really help someone else, are you actually achieving anything here or wasting your time?’ But the ‘courageous me’ tells my insecurity to keep quiet and says… ‘I am going to post it DESPITE all of the above. If it helps one person then it is worth it and if it helps me to work through my own thoughts, then it has purpose there too!’
You soon realise people who ‘put themselves out there’ to write, produce music, create artwork, go on TV or publish talks etc, ALWAYS do so facing the challenge of ‘public opinion.’ Sometimes it’s actually easier to stay quiet and hide in the background, than it is to put your name to something and post it for all to see. Particularly when you are revealing very real, and sometimes very raw, information about your life journey.
“To put our art, our writing, our photography, our ideas out into the world with no assurance of acceptance or appreciation – that’s also vulnerability.”
– Brene Brown
But if we want to truly connect with others, we need to share our WHOLE story, even when it makes us feel vulnerable or uncomfortable. The story of the REAL us. And that will always be a challenge in a world of ‘opinions’. It is hard to share your heart when you are unsure of others reactions, or if you fear rejection.
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” – E.E. Cummings
It certainly takes courage to be bold in who we really are!! Regardless of what others think. To be the same person whether alone at home with our family or writing publicly for anyone to read.
Sooner or later our true hearts will begin to show and be reflected through our actions and words. People around us will begin to see who we truly are anyway.
So why try to hide it?
Why cover it over and try to present a ‘better version’ of me! It’s better they see the ‘real me’ early on so it doesn’t instead creep up on them when they least expect it. If I pretend to be someone I am not, people will just get disappointed in the end – when they discover I am still full of faults and weaknesses.
I want to be known as a person of integrity. Someone who is solid and unchanging in every context. A person who’s true heart is openly displayed for all to see.
The good AND the not so good.
So that there is no duplicity, there are no unwelcome surprises for those who are getting to know me. If I am being kind – I really do mean it! I am not then going to say ‘unkind things’ about you when you are not around to hear it.
It is only then that I can know a depth of relationship and human connection with others that comes from allowing myself to truly be KNOWN. A love that allows itself to be seen and shown, regardless of how it is received. A grace that accepts and opens it’s heart to who others really are – regardless of their weakness too.
A heart that is tender and open. And welcomes others to freely join with me on our challenging human adventure through life. An honest journey of…
Up’s AND downs.
Joys AND pain.
Failures AND victories.
So that we can learn, encourage, cheer one another on and grow together. Because it’s in the TOGETHER that we will find our true strength!
Especially when our together, allows us room to be our true ‘exposed’ selves as well – and chooses to love and be kind regardless….. Whether we always agree with one another or not!
There is such beauty in our unique human diversity anyway?
“Art finds its deepest value when it is the authentic expression of a deep human experience. Art becomes profound when it exposes us, explains us, or inspires us.” – Erwin McManus
*Proverbs 27:19 from the Bible.