Are you for real?
“Where is she going with this?” you might ask. Well, last week I heard two comments that caught my attention and gave me pause to think. One was, “I just want to be real,” and the second was, “I don’t know if he is being real with me.”
“Interesting,” I thought. “These are words I hear so often that their meaning is taken for granted; but “What exactly do they mean?” In my mind’s eye I saw two images.
The first was of a person unzipping the suit he was wearing and letting it fall to the ground. After the suit fell to the ground a new suit unzipped, and it too fell to the ground. This went on and on until the person was left standing in simple clothes, radiating authenticity, wearing his “real” self.
The second image was of one person looking at another, struggling to find some evidence of trust, but only seeing a wall. The wall was missing a few bricks making it possible to catch a few glimpses, but never fully revealing what was truly behind the wall.
How would you answer the question: “What does it mean to be ‘real’?”
As Mr. Roger’s was fond of saying, “Take 10 seconds and think about it…I’ll watch the clock.”
I asked several people what being real means to them, and here are some of their responses:
Being true to who you are, being congruent, having integrity-what you believe is how you act
Being genuine-what others see and hear is really what you think, without hurting people
Turning off the filters for the audience
Seeing what is occurring in your life without “writing stories” (making up truths -about people or events)
Figuring out who you really are and being that person wherever you are, no matter who you’re with.
Doesn’t mean you have to voice every thought and feeling. You can be discreet and still be real
Not being a social chameleon
Taking the mask or costume off
What you say is what you get
Talking about hard things openly and honestly
Facing the elephant in the room
Not getting side tracked or distracted, but focusing on the issue
Being willing to tell a friend or loved one they’re messing up
Real- Real life is who you are when you are in the trenches trying to survive all of the blows that come your way. It means making big mistakes and it means doing incredible things – both without anyone there to see and knowing no one will ever know or see. It means crying and it means laughing.. and sometime yelling! 🙂 It means, to me, imperfection and accepting it. Being true to your values and beliefs
I’m not sure. Make a list of what’s real and what’s not, so you can see the difference.
Great answers everyone! Thanks for your input 😀 Nancy, Rich, Mike, Ben, Bruce, Cara, Richy, and others
Anderson Cooper said, “I think you have to be yourself, and you have to be real and you have to admit what you don’t know, and talk about what you do know, and talk about what you don’t know as long as you say you don’t know it.”
My thoughts on being “real.” As infants we start off being real, and somehow get “lost in the forest” trying to find ourselves. While developing our identities we try on different personalities and interests, but sometimes forget we are working on creating ourselves; not a mirror of the others we know. While it is natural to adopt traits of people we admire, when we base our identities largely on others and what they think… if they leave, where does that leave us? Sadly, we could be left asking, “Who am I, and where am I?” The journey to becoming “real” ends in the destination, which is our birthright. I believe we all have within us a Self; a longing to emerge, to become congruent with what we show the world, and to make a contribution which is uniquely our own. All of the responses listed above are evidence of being on the right path.
To be yourself you must know yourself, which is always a work in progress. If you have any question about your identity, start by saying: I am a son/daughter of my parents, a granddaughter to my grandparents, a sibling, a pet owner, a niece, a nephew, an aunt, an uncle, a friend, a partner, a Jew, a Mormon, a Catholic. I am a dancer, a writer, a reader, a piano player, a hiker, a builder, a runner, a gardener, a cook, a mechanic, a mom, a dad, a quilter, a woodcarver, a traveler etc… get the idea?
Then you can go a little deeper and say…I’m a caregiver, a dreamer, a problem solver, a healer, a learner, a risk-taker, an adventurer, an artist, a listener, a leader, a follower. Keep adding to your list and it will reveal a good picture of who you are.
The Shaker Hymn “Simple Gifts” says it well…
‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain’d,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be asham’d,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.
6 Guidelines for being “REAL”
1. Be Yourself
I would love it if you would contribute your thoughts on being “real” by pressing the comment button in the upper right hand corner of this post, and if you are enjoying my blog please like it on Facebook and share it with your friends. Shine on 😀