To share or not to share

 

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Authenticity: To be real without pretentions. It’s hard to be authentic when you’re doing what you do for acceptance or trying to meet someone else’s expectations. The ego has to be right, look good, be acceptable, and avoid rejection all of which are barriers to authenticity. This need for acceptance might breed pretentiousness and create masks that are worn to give the impression of authenticity.

We have to dare to be our real selves no matter how scary that may be.

When we allow ourselves to be defined by our past it becomes a barrier to being in the present that I believe is the only place that authenticity can happen.

Some believe it’s all about nonconformity but I believe it’s about choice, the choice to conform or not to conform based on what is necessary in the moment. Choice can only happen authentically if one can accept either the positive or negative and then “choose” what is best for the moment and situation.

It’s about allowing our true selves to be seen. But what is your true self? Is it someone who bullies to get his or her way? Is it someone who bends over backwards to please in order to be accepted by others? Is it someone who uses their charm to get his or her way? I believe that these behaviors are of the ego-self and not the deeper self, the spirit that motivates.

True belonging, one of the basic human needs, I believe requires being yourself ego warts and all. To present a fraudulent self separates others from you and affects the real sense of belonging. Should you be accepted as a person with a mask of acceptability, it’s only the mask they love, not you.

To be real means to be vulnerable. This is the birthplace for belonging and for love, courage and creativity. When my goal becomes about safety I can’t be vulnerable and miss out on most of the joy that’s available in truly belonging. When my goal is about seeking approval it is forever empty for seeking outside oneself is an insatiable quest. This is because people give or withhold approval based on their own mood and not as a reflection of who you’re being or who you are.

Every year at our church around New Year’s there’s a basket full of stars with a word printed on each and each of us is encouraged to dip into this basket and take a star and it’s word to contemplate for the rest of the year. My word for the year is “Share”. Try as I might I couldn’t really get excited about this word, after all I already share my butt off. For six weeks I’ve been staring at this word with nothing but emptiness or some contrivance or another so that I could claim some meaningful contemplation. Only none of it has been meaningful. Then a reading group that I belong to came up against the word “Authenticity”. The discussion led to what did this word actually mean for each of us and this lead me to see my word for the year in a whole new light. Perhaps I need to “share” my true self even the self who is pretentious, self-righteous, biased, sometimes prejudiced, sometimes needy, and often self-critical. Perhaps I need to share my struggle to overcome these barriers to expressing who I really am. Perhaps I need to share in order to be real.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting you share all your opinions, chances are you’ll be liked by no one after that. What I’m suggesting is that you share who you are and believe it or not you are not your opinions, you have them, but you are much more than them.

 

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6 thoughts on “To share or not to share

  1. You nailed it. IT is hard to be authentic if you are looking to be accepted or liked. If I told the truth all the time I doubt I would be liked by many people. I try not to ‘people please’ but I’m sure I am guilty of it. For women especially this is true. I don’t know why. I would admire a person for being honest over just about anything else.

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  2. Just wanted to be sure. Years ago when I worked in the Juvenile Hall as a Psychologist I made similar statements and a number of the young men and women acted as though that I had given them permission to say anything they wanted. What a disaster! Took me quite sometime to turn that one around. LOL

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  3. Thank you, even though I think, there is a vulnerability that comes with sharing. This is the hardest part of sharing. Because we humans don’t like to be taken pity of. And even though one may share when they completely care less about the receiving party’s opinion, the later tends to take it that way. When we share the truth, we are sharing our vulnerability. Begging for sympathy. It baffles me, how you can share yourself or opinion and that’s it. There are so many masks and the recipient’s end!

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    1. Sharing “the truth” probably means sharing “your” truth or “a” truth and not necessarily “the” truth. Opinion is not necessarily truth it’s just opinion. However, the willingness to open oneself helps one to become more authentic and less at the mercy of the culture or subculture or even of ones own past. The down side may be that one opens their self to some potential emotional damage so be prudent.

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