Yesterday I continued reading a book about creating authentic relationships. I am not one for self-help books, but this one struck me as I was wandering around Mumbai Airport in November.
What’s authentic by your definition, the authors ask…and I really had to start thinking about that question.
– being myself at all times?
– not using a mask to protect myself?
– letting go of the masks I have created to protect myself?
– being “emotionally” naked?
– cutting the crap?
I am pretty good at a lot of these things. Maybe too good at some of them.
There are so many different ways to look at what authentic is in my life.
But one thing I know is that I want to be more authentic in all areas in my life.
Being authentic might not always be practical though, like at work. In which case I suppose my best definition of authentic is to stand up for what I believe in, to ensure that my boundaries are being respected and you know, the rest is just to suck it up and do a great job and to realize that people around me are as imperfect as I am.
I think I have perfected the entire “protecting” myself bit. And I don’t think I have been completely honest with myself in that regard. I have become an onion with layers and layers and layer and unless somebody pulls out some serious harakiri chopping block knife action, those layers are staying put.
Maybe they can remove one or two, but that is it.
I think places I have been more authentic than any other is in the relationship with my friends, where I can show weakness and strength and be myself and am loved and accepted and vice cersa. But in relationship outside of my friends, I haven’t done a very good job with being authentic.
At work, I sometimes joke about things that I really don’t find funny. They always have to do with me. Humor has become a layer of protection too. Which is great, cause I love to make people laugh, but now that I realize that sometimes, not always, it’s part of the onion, I might have to revisit that method of deflection.
At the end of the day, the one thing I expect from myself is honesty with myself. I think I am probably harder on myself than others, but I also know that I am not always completely honest with myself.
So there you have it. I read the first two chapters and so far have figured out that a tremendous part of authenticity in my mind is being honest with myself. Not so much how I relate to others, but how I relate to myself.
We are taking stock, aren’t we?
I never dreamed of being Shakespeare or Goethe, and I never expected to hold the great mirror of truth up before the world; I dreamed only of being a little pocket mirror, the sort that a woman can carry in her purse; one that reflects small blemishes, and some great beauties, when held close enough to the heart. ~Peter Altenberg