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While in the midst of my most confusing, turbulent years, a relative casually commented about girls with implants, saying, “I’d rather have fake pretty over real ugly any day.” The word play sounded convincing, but at the heart of it was the sad sign of the times, where the core message falls into the bloated “WTF” category.
That comment may be an extreme expression of the sentiment, but it was brutally honest about a viewpoint that manifests itself in many areas of our society. I have a close friend who feels the need to “keep up” with her image to the world, and she has been on that treadmill for so long that she has become accustomed to it, and in her need to present “perfection,” any insinuation of human imperfection has her scurrying to try to validate against it. It’s both sad and frustrating to witness. A family member of mine has been in a series of relationships with people so disconnected from the truth of their own beings that any no real progress could take root, neither on personal nor relationship levels. I see people putting humanity and/or positivity quotes (the “new cool”) all over Facebook, yet defining success as accumulation of material things, among other contradictions to their campaigns.
It seems that this B.S.itis stems from deep insecurities, which is rooted from the lack of understanding oneself. When I wanted to start a serious blog, one that I could truly identify with and be able to consistently write about, I had no idea what I had to offer that could give value to others. I was a Jane of All Trades and master of none, simply because my life routed me every which way, so I could not develop any socially marketable skills – I only knew how to survive, and I learned about the funny ways of the world, and the misconception of the misconception of bad people. But mostly, what came naturally to me was my introspection, and through my “20 lost years,” this understanding deepened. The one thing that I knew how to do was be real. And I would learn that it was not a common ability.
I started off believing that I was doing the right thing, being genuine, kind, fair. The ridiculousness of chance: me, being this kind of person surrounded by completely opposite types of people. I stood my ground for a long time, but eventually, I started wondering if I was, in fact, wrong. At one point, I even thought that I should try to be more superficial, care about amassing money, care about what people thought, because, after all, when you worry, you scurry, and maybe I needed to scurry to fit in, because then my life would be easier and happier, right? Hypothesis FAIL.
The only thing I learned about that experiment was that such people lived a busy, frantic life. It was flashy and noisy, but without substantial joy. It was distracting enough on the surface to ignore the loneliness deep inside, and you had to keep chasing the chaos so that you don’t ever have to face the truth of how void of meaning there was in this impressive commotion in which you’re partaking. Although the power of introverts is coming into awareness, the perversion of extroversion is still society’s soup du jour.
All of this masking is really a disservice to us as a society, as well as individuals. What kind of society do we have if we’re a network of weak links? As individuals, how do you fix a problem if you are unaware of it, or if you hide it from others? Imagine if people could come out and be honest about their true selves because they felt safe in the world they lived in. If everyone in the world could feel unabridged safety, love, acceptance, there would be no need for validation through power as exhibited in its many morale-(and sometimes moral)-crumbling forms – we may have discovered the formula for world peace!
Well, that’s not a guarantee, but there would certainly be peace in the worlds of our individual lives. And I would imagine that not many people would be opposed to that scenario.
Being authentic, simply put, is being honest, humble, vulnerable, and human in the most edifying, interconnecting way. (Not to be confused with being an unapologetic jerk, although if true jerks took on this approach to authenticity by saying, “I’m an asshole, accept it,” they actually do us a service – who wouldn’t want such a fair warning?)
Most insecure, fearful people have been rubbed raw by hurts and disappointments, and so they wrap themselves in layer after layer of all kinds of numbing material, some harder than others, some pricklier than others, but all burying the truth. It’s no way of living, for we born to be alive, and unless life’s hurdles shut us down, we desperately crave living in this state of convergence of who we really are and who we pretend to be:
(“Breaking Bad”: Walter White – “Alive” Scene)
Authenticity removes the muffling layers, catalyzing self discovery, enhancing life experiences, and teaching the world not only tolerance, but celebration of the individual. I’ll take this real beauty any day.
Related: “Choosing the Red Pill”