So often we walk through life with a mask on our authentic self. We pretend to be something we think someone wants us to be. But it leaves us feeling empty and fake. Perhaps you suffer from the imposter syndrome. You are not feeling real. This is a common problem with so many.
A patient with severe brain damage said the most profound thing I’ve ever heard the other day. She said, “When I was little I skipped school all the time pretending to be sick. And now, as an adult, I pretend to be well.” I was in awe of such honesty. Are you honest with who you are and what you are doing with your life?
Often we are busy pretending to be someone we are not. If you don’t believe it, look at Facebook, glance at all those smiling faces. Are they as smiley as they appear? Maybe yes, and maybe no. Too often on social media the best side is posted, not the real, everyday self.
The other day on Twitter, one of my “friends” requested his “tribe” post authentic pictures so he could sift through the pile and pick a few he wanted to sketch. I don’t know what possessed me, but I posted one that I had absolutely no makeup on. This is certainly NOT something I would normally do. I guess I was having an honest moment.
Now not that I’m all made up 24/7 as I’m certainly not. In fact, on Friday evening when I get home, I pull my hair up and scrub my face clean—free of all traces of makeup until Tuesday when I return to work. I don’t put a stitch of anything on, not even for Sunday mass. The only time would be if I had somewhere I had to go and needed to get “made up.”
So, what does this say about most of us? Most of us put our best face forward, just in case. Just in case of what? Who or whom are we trying to impress? Now putting on your face, or if you are a dude, putting on your best attire is fine, IF you are doing it for you and it feels good—but if you are putting the best face forward for your “followers” to see perhaps not so good.
Not that we should skip showers, and all basic grooming for days on end, because that certainly is not where my mind is wandering. But it’s about being your true authentic self and loving who you are from exactly where you’re at.
Most of my patients are overweight or underweight and often say, “I’ll be happy when I reach my right weight.” Really? I’m not so sure about that. We reach our happy when we are grateful for where we are in the now. It’s not about tomorrow or yesterday, last year when you were a size 4 or in a few months when you get to size?.
The answer is to embrace where you are right now. Yep, right now. I know, I know, you’re saying, but I’m not….? Fill in the blank. You will say something else when you are?. I say settle in to where you are now and you will live your authentic life. Not that you shouldn’t look or be at your best, because surely you should. But I am saying slow down and enjoy the journey. Be where you are and move to where you want to be in a present state. If you are always waiting to become happy when this or that happens, you’ll stop your growth potential.
I was so proud of my patient when she blurted out that she was faking sick when she was a kid and now faking well as an adult. I was proud because it was profound. I get it. And you do too, I’m sure. But perhaps we’re not as brave as she was. WE can learn a thing or two from this wonderful, delightful patient 65 and presents like 15 from years of trauma, yet she gets it. Somehow she gets it.
Are you really living your true self? Do you know who you are? How do you sift through social media without feeling somebody is doing more than you, or cuter than you, or richer…? or whatever?
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Speaker, writer, licensed clinical psychotherapist, PhD in addiction psychology, eating disorder professional, hypnotherapist changing the view about compulsive eating one addict at a time.