Here and there we hear about influencers, and see doctored photos on social media and elsewhere. It seems that such people are not happy with themselves and wish to present an enhanced image of themselves. This requires plenty of time and energy output just to impress total strangers. Keeping up a façade requires the abandonment of self-respect. That said, most of us eventually see through fake images anyway.
We perceive such individuals as having no real selves. Superficiality is off-putting to us. Meantime people who are the real deal are easier to be around and more trustworthy. Being real without oversharing helps genuine folks bring positivity to society. We know these things either instinctively or by way of learning the hard way through experience. Dishonesty is eventually discovered anyway, so putting up an elaborate façade is a waste of energy.
In an unanticipated way, I was fortunate to discover the value of being the same person personally, privately, and publicly early in life. I was outed by some bullies in high school. After much worry and inner turmoil, it turned out that the rest of the class couldn’t care less. They had their own adolescent, existential problems. This was not only a huge relief, but in an important way, it disempowered the bullies. By spending less mental energy on hiding myself, there was more to spend on studying and school activities.
Maintaining a false self requires a lot of mental energy. Like other forms of dishonesty, one must keep track of what one tells people. Getting caught up in the hamster cage of propagating half-truths distracts one from the business of living a full life. Having to look over one’s shoulder, having concocted a false identity, is ultimately not worth the struggle. Such a lifestyle is only a shadow of what is possible. It would be great if more people could feel the sense of freedom and liberation that being the real deal enables. The lightness of being oneself is the nectar of the gods.
One major benefit of being genuine is that we don’t have to be perfect in our dealings with others. Trial and error in our efforts to interact with others is OK. By being the real deal we are actually worth connecting with.
At the same time, it’s important to remember that being genuine does not mean one must exhibit insensitivity and rudeness. Telling people off is arrogance, which is a mask to cover up insecurity. Arrogance is the tool of bullies and demagogues. Bullies and tyrants do not understand that intimidation does not inspire true loyalty. Minions will conspire to overthrow the dictator and throw him/her under the bus at the first opportunity. Authentic, effective leaders understand that the way to influence people is to allow them to feel they are important. There is a time in the limelight for everybody. Hoarding attention generally creates resentment in the hearts of others.
One of the best aspects of striving to be the real deal is that one lives life with a clear conscience. When we are honest about ourselves and how we approach others in an honest and true manner, we live more effectively and ethically. We remember that we are imperfect humans and that’s OK.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes movie and tv actor, Peter Falk. “The entertainment industry is loaded with extraordinarily talented people. But the true, genuine originals, they’re rare.”