Monday, August 19, 2013

Observing Authenticity

I constantly am observing life and how we interact with our world and other inhabitants that walk this earth.  I've been a people watcher from the time I was very young or as far back as I can remember.  People are interesting creatures and often times, it is better than any movie I could ever watch.

Yet, as I observe how I fit into this world, I see that I am often measured and filtered with respect to where I go, what I do and how I allow the rest of the world to see me.  Sometimes I go overboard on this and other times I am probably too lenient on myself.  It is almost like I try to navigate through life using my reference with the world as stars to chart my course.

One of the things I know that I do is I hold back.  I'm afraid to make mistakes and afraid to fail.  God knows I'm not perfect and even when I try to present that front to the world, it becomes an illusion.  Often times I want to make sure the world knows that I have everything together even when I'm crumbling inside.

I still remember when I was recovering from my paralysis as a result of Conversion Disorder (also known as Functional Neurological Disorder- FND) and finally getting back in touch with friends, that a friend made a profound comment to me about my life.  He said in shock and disbelief, "you were in the hospital because you could not handle life and stress got the best of you  - you of all people?  Why, we thought out of the group of us friends, you were the one that had it all together!"

As I observe people being the people watcher that I am, I see the same thing happening throughout the world.  People often only show us what they want us to see, not who they really are.  Yes, I understand there are times and places for this, but 24 hours a day, 365 days a year is not the right balance.

In many ways, we never rise to the level of authenticity in our lives because we spend so much of our life living an illusion.  We do what we need to do in any given day in our various roles that we embrace for our life, but we forget how to turn this off.  We forget how to be real and authentic. I see this repeated over and over again throughout our civilization and if I'm not careful, I easily fall into the same trap.

We live in a society where authenticity is often considered to be weakness and unwelcome.  We live in a world where we are constantly peppered with horrifying and blown out of proportion news, being led to believe that without this information source we cannot survive in our day.  We live in a world where we are focused more upon what we desire than what really matters.  It feels like our world is spiraling out of control and away from authenticity.

This is not something that we have to enact laws or create support groups for it to begin to change.  In fact, it begins by each one of us taking stock of our own life and learning how to become authentic.  The more we change our life and learn what authenticity is, the more we will change the world.

Authenticity is something that is at the root of our being, but when we hide it behind our fears, insecurities and an over active life style of stress, there is no way we can reach out and hold its hand.  It is only when we observe how we interact with the world around us, that we begin to see how authenticity is either a welcomed friend in our life, or a shunned stranger.

Blog Post And Images (c) 8/19/13 by Don Shetterly

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