Updated: Jul 21, 2020
“Be yourself — not your idea of what you think somebody else’s idea of yourself should be.” — Henry David Thoreau
Life isn’t a popularity contest. There I said it.
The world respects people who are authentic and real. You can love them or hate them but you’ll appreciate them for being themselves rather than trying to ‘fit in’. A lot, believe me, (a lot^n), of people are scared of being themselves, express their thoughts without thinking whether it matches with what the other person wants to hear or aligns with or are usually cowards who fake it so that they ‘fit in’.
Haven’t you had friends in school or college or in office, who used to hate a person to an extent of disrespect towards that person in front of you but would shower praises as though the other person was God’s gift to mankind, in front of them or public.
To each their own. But I have fundamental issues with such people. One, they are not honest to the other person. And two, they are not honest to themselves. To add to this, how will that person ever take himself or herself seriously if they often lived with this fakery.
It’s a downward slope when you start doing this coz you never know where to put a stop as each transaction would look important for you to win or fit in.
Remember, it’s better to be hated for who you’re than be loved for who you’re not. Imagine the worse that would happen if you’re honest about your feelings is that you’ll end up making an adversary. But by being fake you would make two. That person and yourself.
Don’t confuse authenticity or being real with being rude or mean. No. It’s only about being honest to yourself. Your authentic silence is better than your fake words.
What kind of friend or spouse or parent or a leader would you want to be? The one who has the courage to be real or the one who is scared of being real and wants to ‘fit in’.?
I made that choice a long time ago. And I always knew what that would bring along – some adversaries, some who wouldn’t want to get your views or opinions, and of course not being in good books of a few people. But I also knew the other more important things it brought along – genuine respect from people, peace and a feeling of being honest. If you ain’t honest, people will never take you seriously or trust you.
I’m not trying to super impose my thoughts on any of you. But I want you to take out time and consciously know if you’re ever going this downward slope or are being surrounded by people who are like this either knowingly or unknowingly. If yes, then may be try and take a step back to answer whether this is by choice and would you/they want to continue with this. Or would want to bring about a change.
Know this. People are smart enough to see through. Putting on masks can hide our identity but not our true self. So it’s in our benefit to be as close to our true self in the long run.
If you want to know where to start being authentic or real, then may be this should help:
1. How often you say things that you don’t mean
2. Do something to just fit in or be aligned
3. Look within. Not in a mirror. Mirror shows what you have put on. But looking within will help you know who you are
4. Accept yourself ‘as is’. The biggest source of unhappiness is not being the way we had imagined ourselves to be. Biggest joy is to ‘accept’ who we are and then working towards being who we want to be
5. Embrace your vulnerabilities
6. Check how many times you put on a mask. Identify what kind of masks you put on.
7. Just be. The world will align with you if you are honest, and well intended.
Being authentic doesn’t mean being rigid. Changing your mind is okay. The point is to not have a conflict between what you think and feel and what you say and mean.