|Is It Possible To Show Our True Colours At All Times?
This topic came up recently between my friend and me and it made me think. What is authenticity and can we always be truly authentic?
I think I mentioned in another blog post recently how some of my TV role models are the characters Phoebe from ‘Friends’ and Miranda from UK TV sitcom ‘Miranda’, both honest, authentic, always real, always themselves. But what does authentic mean? Does it mean we express all of who we are all of the time? Or does it mean we express our most wise, peaceful, open-hearted self, or is there a lot more to this being authentic malarkey?
Many spiritual and self-help teachers profess the need to be authentic and how important it is, but after a trip up north to see family I realise being authentic is not always a) welcome or b) easy. It made me wonder, perhaps we don’t need to be outwardly authentic all of the time, but to be aware when we are not being a full version of ourselves?
Not everyone relates to us and who we really are. Let’s be honest, how many of you have family who totally relate to you? Your inner thoughts, your deepest darkest secrets, your inspirations, your interests? They say we can choose our friends but not our relatives, but I feel we also choose our relatives to learn a lot about relating and relationships. I can probably be said to be a bit quirky (some would say a lot!), a bit strange sometimes; sometimes my imagination and the way I look at the world pretty much does not match with probably 99% of the world’s population, so I have to make some changes in my relating to the world.
For example, when meeting family, you may want to tell them about your latest insight, your dream, your mind-boggling idea, but you know none of them understand what you talk about, and none of them are really that interested, but you are family, you want to keep in touch, you want to still connect with them. So to me it is all about being a shape-shifter, but being a conscious shape shifter – not a people pleaser.
|The shape-shifting chameleon
Shape shifting and camouflage are great ways of fitting in, but knowing consciously that you don’t fit in, you’re not trying to be someone you’re not, but you are also not trying to be something simply because others want you to be. You are simply mirroring the situation and environment, blending in, wearing a conscious mask for the sake of social lubrication. There is nothing wrong with this, but is it still being authentic? I would say yes. You know who you are, you’re choosing to shift into that environment in a way that is comfortable for you, relaxing into what is. You are not resisting or trying to force your views, your daydreams onto people who are clearly not interested.
Now if I did something else; if I met family and spoke all about myself, all about my inner world, my insights, my ideas, my meditation practice, I know what would happen. Eyes would glaze over and I would feel a resistance to what I was putting out there. Most people are interested in their own lives, sad, but true, so instead I become a social chameleon for my own self preservation, for now anyhow.
We can make conscious decisions to connect with like-minds where our real authentic selves shine out. And I know that in time this will spill out into everywhere we go, much like Phoebe, our families will naturally experience who we really are, but this too takes time to adapt and shape shift into.
Communicating Personality/ Ego Or Wise Self?
“The curious paradox is that when I accept just as I am, then I can change.”
~ Carl Rogers~
photo credit: Copyright 2013 Kelly Martin