How To Be Authentic in a Fake World
Authenticity is being real. How much of the time are you real? It seems a great deal of the time we are caught up trying to put on our “best face.” And let’s be honest, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to look your best. But there’s a difference is standing boldly in society saying, “this is who I am.”
It’s tempting to always present ourselves in a certain light. The pull of social media has never been so popular and with it comes a temptation to perhaps present another person. Being authentic can feel like you’re living in a glass house. Put another way, it’s easy to get distracted.
This is why people generally have a fear of speaking as everyone is looking, talking, snickering or worse judging. But how do you want to be seen? As your real self or the presentation of another? Everyone at one point will have to face this awakening, it’s just a matter of when.
Since the birth of Reality TV there’s been a new blur of what’s real and what’s fake. Do you think you know what is real and authentic? You may be surprised. And how does all of the affect you?
(HIT PLAY to LISTEN)
Thank you for joining us for this podcast episode 015 of True Connections with Weston Jolly
I remember watching the birth of reality TV, 20 years ago, when I watched the original movie, The Truman Show with Jim Carey. The main character, Truman Burbank, ultimately discovers that his whole life is being dramatized by the exploitation of actors and a production crew. Today is not much different. Today’s reality TV stars are; you and I.
The production crews are; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest, YouTube, Snapchat, Tender and Match. These “production crews” create a virtual platform that are each tailored, in a slightly different way, to promote you. At least in the movie, Jim Carey thought he was being himself, until he had an awakening. At that point, everything changed. He faced his deepest fears … do you remember when he crossed the ocean…and went to the edge of his world?
Let me warn you, you too will face this awakening; it’s just a matter of when. There will come a time that posting; selfies, taking pictures of your food, babies, new houses, fabulous vacations, job promotions, and even illnesses won’t be enough. The life that you present versus how you actually live will come to an end.
But why? Why would anyone want to reveal the dull and the dreary? This would be equivalent to going to high school and not caring about the latest fads or fashions. NO BODY goes to school dressed like that unless you don’t want to be liked. Right?
This starts our dialog, because in pursuit of being liked or even loved, we often give away our most precious gift, we give up our self. We become fake. When I was in high school, my best friend and I coined the term “synthetic” to categorize anyone who wasn’t being real.
Being synthetic is the same thing as being fake. We become fake when we decide we can’t be our selves. It doesn’t really matter the reason. Today, we’re going to discuss how to be authentic in a fake world.
I grew up the eldest of two boys. Beyond my mom, there wasn’t any other feminine influence. My understanding of girls was like studying a biological specifies in the library without any inside scoop from the outside world. Like a lot of men, I suppose, I was easily faked out.
The problem was, I didn’t realize that I was being faked out. Because I didn’t know any better. This all came to a head when I met Sheila. Shelia sat in my freshman business communications class, and I thought she was cute.
Shelia always came to class dressed nicely and made up, just like all the other girls did. I thought she always looked pretty. On one occasion, I missed class and I needed the notes for an upcoming test. So, I called Shelia.
Shelia, didn’t really know me that well but I pleaded that I really needed to see her notes so that I could copy them before studying for the exam. Shelia, was slow to acquiesce to my coming over to get her notes. But before finally agreeing that I could, she mentioned something about already getting ready for bed. Not knowing what this meant, I just said, “okay” and hurried.
I was grateful for Shelia’s kindness and I rushed to her dorm and called from the lobby announcing my arrival. Afterwards, I sat down on a couch in the corner looking around as one might sit absent-mindlessly while waiting in an airport. I was people watching.
I had positioned myself so I could see Sheila enter the lobby either from the left or from the right side of the front desk. I continued to wait and watching people, when
suddenly someone stood in front of me and said, “…here are my notes.” I stood in attention and looked directly at the person before me —but I didn’t recognize her. Awkwardly, I said, “Shelia?”
Puzzled, she said, “Yes…”
Then I said something I wished I hadn’t, “I didn’t recognize you…” Shelia handed me her notes a little too quickly showing her annoyance. Sheila pretended not to have heard me and said, “I don’t need them as I’ve already studied for tomorrow’s examination.” I followed her cue and said, “Are you sure?” still visibly uncertain this was the same Shelia I knew and that I sat next to in the business school. She said, “Yes” as she was understandably irritated about my not recognizing her. She turned abruptly to leave.
I said kindly,“…thanks” to her back as she walked past the front desk on the right hand side saying, “I’ll see you tomorrow in class.” I walked to the outside door of the lobby and murmured to myself, I can’t believe that was Shelia. Like a lot of other naive boys, I didn’t realize how much make-up Shelia wore. I was an idiot but I didn’t know.
I walked all the way back to my dorm wondering what had just happened. How could I not recognize Sheila when she stood only three feet away from me? Then I rehearsed what I just saw in the lobby and I reasoned it couldn’t have been the same person. Was it? But it was! I embarrassed Shelia, and I also embarrassed myself.
I rehearsed our phone call from earlier in the evening, and I remembered hearing something about “Washing her face off” in relation to getting ready for bed. I didn’t know what that meant. But boy I did now! Wow, is that what Shelia really looks like? I was in awe.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wearing make up. There’s nothing wrong with being on social media. And there’s certainly nothing wrong in changing your looks or trying out different clothes. But if you’re not being you, or I’ll put it another way, if you’re not being authentic, what’s the point?
Shelia wasn’t hiding anything. If that were truly the case, she would have never agreed to meet me. I was surprised only in that I’d never seen Shelia without makeup. To be honest she was still cute. She looked different than how I was used to seeing her, but it was good to see her as she was.
It’s easy to get lost being what we think we should be. But to correct this, assuming you want to, you have to put something at risk. Assuming you don’t want to live a “fake life,” you have to put your real self out there. And there are people on social media, right now, that are not making a production in presenting themselves.
These people are the ones who are just living life as if to say, “this is who I am.” This is completely different than carefully reviewing and editing every social media picture, caption or post. This way different than trying to present a certain image or brand of yourself. Those who are comfortable with who they are present themselves accordingly.
It can be tempting to become someone else when we step out to be seen. It’s easy to get all caught up in who’s looking and how people are reacting. Can you think of someone you know who becomes tremendously funny when they’re around other people? To the point that they’re almost another person?
Maybe their being a standup comic is truly who they are. Using humor can be a means of creating attention. It is quite common. In fact, there are many predictable patterns of how you might act differently in the presence of others.
Being authentic can feel like living in a glass house. Everybody’s looking. If you suddenly becoming someone different while being seen, it’s appropriate to ask, “Who are you?” Does your real life actual match what everyone sees and is presented on social media?
What kind of reality TV show are you producing?
Everyone’s busy producing their own reality show. So, let me introduce you to the real power producer behind the scenes. This dude wants his or her name to be on everything. If a Hollywood credit is due then this is where you see; written, directed, produced and acted by the… EGO. I call the ego the Shell because it’s hollow inside. Also, I use the term Shell, because this was first used by Source when referencing the ego.
If you want one take away in how to be authentic in a fake world, put away your ego. It isn’t all about you. It never was. It never will be. Even if you’re a super star and the world’s most famous person. It isn’t about you.
It is all about the real you. This part of you, is happy to include your mind and body but it knows that this isn’t the real you. This part of you wants to be seen but not in the same way that you think you should be presented. This part of you just wants to connect. Genuinely connect.
This is a powerful thought and you should take note of it. Your desire to connect is intrinsically strong, and as for me, I’m soooo thankful. I can’t imagine loosing my desire to connect. Can you?
Sure you can. Every time you engage the ego I want you to imagine you’ve hired some Hollywood Producer that has to be in the center of everything. There’s an immediate need, and I say need, to take control. Especially in how you look and managing how others are looking or even talking about you. You’ve heard of the word egomaniac. And there are plenty of current day examples to entertain you or even frustrate you…
But before you go too far and start looking, and even judging what others are doing, come back…. come back…. And center around seeing that it is YOUR Shell that instantly disconnects you from your authentic self. Think of a producer’s chair on a Reality TV set with the word SHELL or EGO placed on the canvass backing as your name.
Then remove the chair, the word Shell or Ego, from the scene. If you really want to know how to be your authentic self in a fake world then remove the Producer’s chair and start again. This time just be your true self. No games, no thoughts of how other people are acting or what they’re saying… just be authentic.
I think it’s amazing the explosive growth of Reality TV since it’s introduction with the movie The Truman Show. It’s wonderful that we want to connect and interact versus just watching TV passively. But if you’re going to interact, that is to say, if you’re going to live your life, do so by being authentic.
If you want to be seen come away from the pull of the Producer’s Chair with SHELL or EGO stenciled on it and be your authentic self. You know, if you really want to interact, or live life, start here. You’ll be ever so glad that you did. Give your Higher Self a chance to debut.
Your Higher Self, or your Authentic Self, isn’t competitive and it’s wonderfully connected to everyone and everything. So much so, it scares the Shell. There’s nothing to be frightened of, for goodness sake, we’re not talking about overcoming a fear of water like the main character Truman, had to address in the closing scenes of the movie.
All that you’re considering is coming forward and being yourself authentically. Again, no games. No pretense. Just show up and be you. I promise you, it is that easy.
I am grateful for Shelia meeting me in the lobby in a bathrobe, her hair not done, and with her “face washed off.” Initially, itt was a shock, as I was accustomed to seeing her all made up, but I liked it. I profusely apologized to Shelia in the halls after we took our test and thankfully she forgave me, and we became friends.
Is it weird that I felt closer to Shelia after seeing her without her makeup? I don’t think it is. I felt like I got a little closer to her and it made me resolve to reveal myself more authentically. Thank you Shelia for coming down and showing me another part of your authentic self.
Telephone: (480) 212-1961