Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Just be real

“We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.” 

― May Sarton

A couple of years ago, I was talking to my friend/boss, about people. I mentioned that I was finding it difficult to warm to a mutual acquaintance; mainly because I couldn't read them (I've always thought I was pretty good at 'reading' people). He said "it's because you are authentic, and you expect other people to be too."
When I thought about it a bit, I realised he was right. I'm one of those 'what you see is what you get' people. Even in my 'trying to fit in' moments in my teens, I was still reasonably...me. I slapped on the occasional face full of makeup and took part in a few questionable activities, but never really did anything that made me out to be something I wasn't.
It doesn't always work out the best for me. I'm not as exciting as I might be if I manufactured more of a personality (and scintillating conversation isn't my strongest suit), which tends to mean that I'm overlooked in many a social situation. But it works for me, because I can usually maintain my sense of integrity and morals.

And yes, I've always valued that in other people; hence the problem with warming to the 'fakies'. I'm a pretty easygoing person, and there isn't much about people that I don't like, but one thing that consistently puts me off is when people aren't authentic.
I like flowers. What you see is what you get. Photo by me. 
Unfortunately, I've met a few of them. From the 'air-kissers' that profess their joy at seeing you and then move on as soon as someone more interesting comes along; to the ones you know are hiding something; to the worst ones: the ones that have a different story from one day to the next. I don't know why it gets to me so much. Maybe because I can't see who they really are and that bothers me.

What is the value in being authentic? Am I worried about nothing? Should we expect people to lay themselves bare? Is it OK to put on masks, to hide little parts of ourselves? Is it a defensive mechanism?
And what level is acceptable? How can we come to know people, accept them as friends, colleagues, lovers, if they are not the person that we think they are?

Or am I reading too much into this? What do you think?

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