It seems like the whole world is obsessed with image and the way things look. What about the way things really are? Shouldn’t that matter more?
It should, in my humble opinion.
In a world full of scammers and fakers, isn’t it so refreshing to meet those people who turn out to be exactly what it is they appear to be? I hope to be one of those.
Hypocrisy is nothing new. I would say it is a universal struggle. Wherever there are humans, there will be hypocrisy.
So before you accuse me of being all self-reightous, yes I have been a hypocrite before. More times than I care to admit.
I’d venture to bet you’ve been one too.
Why is it important to be authentic? For one thing, it is exhausting and counter-productive to try and maintain some sort of image that isn’t really you. You have to keep track of two different realities – what’s real, and what you want everybody else to think. On top of that, you have to give convincing “performances” to convince others what you are saying. See what I mean? Ugh, so not good! That is no way to live.
To your body, the behavior feels like a lie. The human body has actual physical responses to lying. Lying causes the release of stress hormones (hello polygraph!). Also, deceitful behavior snowballs. The more you deceive, the more you have to keep covering your tracks, and so on. The stress grows accordingly.
If that is not enough to convince you, know that your kids “hear” what you do louder than what you say. Also, they are little copy cats. If they see a parent say one thing and do something else, they will learn to do the same thing. This could cause them a lot of pain and stress. And confusion.
With some effort, we can all work to be more authentic. I would definitely say that becoming authentic is a process, not just a one time action. We grow and change with time. What we place value on changes as we mature. Our behaviors too ought to adjust to reflect that.
I’ve been thinking about how I can become more authentic. I came up with 4 steps:
1. Identify and acknowledge my strengths and weaknesses. Figure out what I am good at. Everybody has limitations too, and it is best to acknowledge those and try not to get too caught up in trying to “fix” something that is just in my nature.
2. Define my values. What do I think is important? Writing these down would be good. Faith, family, friends, health, job? The answers will be different for everybody.
3. Take inventory. It’s gut check time. The two universal currencies are (1) time and (2) money. Where I put my treasure shows where I place value. How do I spend my day? How do I spend my money? Looking at my bank account and/or credit card statements can be a very eye opening exercise.
4. Connect my actions to my values, embracing my strengths to propel me along. Do my current actions reflect the values I wrote down in the 2nd item above? If not, why? Time to make adjustments?
I have really been focusing on number 4. As you can relate…post-kids is a point at which the time and the money start to funnel into new directions. There is not a ton of excess to go around.
Priorities definitely change, and everything has to reshuffle accordingly. I just want to make sure that things that are important to me don’t fall by the wayside, even if it’s unintentional.
Nobody’s perfect. And there is always room for improvement.