Sunday, June 22, 2014

For Real?? (Part 2) -The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

After reflecting on a life lesson that I always teach my students about being real, and having a conversation about people portraying the "right" self image on Facebook (See For Real?? (Part 1), I decided to reflect on the following three questions:

1.Do many people portray a real self image in life?

2.What holds people back from being real?

3.How can others who struggle with being real learn to have a healthy real self-image?

First to answer these questions let me give you my interpretation of being real. For me, to be real means that you are genuine, authentic, and true to self.  Some might describe being real as being able to show the good, the bad, and the ugly. 

For the most part, I think people have no problem sharing the "good" part of being real.  Everyone enjoys sharing their accomplishments, joys, and precious moments with others.  There is very little risk involved in sharing the "good" things in our life.  I love to share the good things that happen in my friends lives and celebrate special moments. I am honored that people invite me to share in their moments, but I am even more honored when my friends invite me to share in the bad and ugly parts of their "real lives". Yes, that's right, I am honored and even like it when people share their bad and ugly sides.

Now, don't judge me by assuming that I take pleasure in hearing about people's struggles or that I think I am better in any way.  That is not the case at all. I have just learned through my experiences that there is a deep and special connection that I make with the people that I am real with and who are real with me.  The key to the kind of connection I am talking about is the response that follows after being real.

Let me explain it this way.  When I am struggling or having a bad day, I usually retreat.  I have to process things before I share.  The problem is that my face usually shows that something is wrong, but I am not ready to talk about it. Some people may not like this "real" part of  me.  In fact, some people have even judged me for putting a wall up. I have tried to explain to people that it's just me trying to process, but I still feel like it is "bad" I that retreat or  "put a wall up".  People who respond in frustration to my way of dealing with  things causes me to feel uncomfortable.  I understand that people mean well and they are just trying to help me in the way that would help them, but it is important to realize that real people respond in real different ways sometimes and - that is ok.

I think what holds people back from being real with others is that  they fear that they fit into the real different category and that they will be judged, or, like me, they have experienced others putting me into such a category.

I am learning that my response makes a difference in how "real" people become with me.  The more I learn to accept the real differences in my friends lives, the more rich our relationship becomes, and the stronger our bond gets.

Hang with me. I will share the real ugly side of me next time. :)

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