During a conversation with a close friend, we started having a discussion on what people post on social network sites. During a stressful period in my life, I made a comment that everyone on Facebook always looks so happy. It looks like they are having fun and enjoying life. My friend quickly responded that it was a bad idea to compare my current situation to others on Facebook. She stated that most people don't post the real part of life, just the happy moments.
I have thought about our conversation a lot. I agree with my dear friend. It made me wonder how many people are truly real about life. Do most people walk around with masks? Do people pretend to be someone or something their not just to impress those around them? Sadly, I think the answers to these questions for a lot of people would be yes. In fact, I did for many years.
In my last post (For Real?? (Part 2) -The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly) I gave my thoughts on what holds people back from being real. My idea of being real is to be able to feel comfortable with the good, bad, and ugly parts of our lives. Most people are comfortable sharing the good moments in life, but for some reason, a lot of times, people want to hide the bad and ugly real pictures of life. 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. People ask themselves, what will others think if they knew I struggled with ____________ and that I wasn't perfect and have everything together?
As I stated earlier, I was one of those people who hide the bad and ugly from others. I shared with you in my previous post that others have been frustrated in the way that I retreat when I am struggling in order to process my emotions. I perceived their frustration as judgment. Others told me that retreating was like putting up a wall. That was not my intention at all, but after hearing it, putting up walls was exactly what I did. I thought: if others get frustrated and don't like it when I retreat, then they really won't like me if I was real about the ugliest parts of my life - my failures, my weaknesses, and my deepest hurts.
The real truth is - a person's failures, weaknesses, and hurts are what makes a person who they are and, over time, develop strength and character.
God himself tells us in his word, "we can rejoice, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance (and perseverance)". Romans 5:3
What is the real ugly truth about me?
I remember the first time I was real and shared my hurts and failures. In order to move forward, I decided it was worth the risk of being judged. I told a trusted friend of my past of being hurt and taken advantage of by others in my life. You know what happened?
My friend wrapped her arms around me, cried with me, prayed with me, and encouraged me through a journey towards healing. My friend responded in love. During the process of healing, I learned to accept the good, the bad, and the ugly. I learned who I was as a person and developed a real healthy self-image.
How can others who struggle with being real learn to have a healthy real self-image? In my next post, I will share things I learned in my journey.