I’ve written about “authenticity” on social media. And I contend that what we see on social media is not actually a true reflection of a person’s authenticity. Social media is designed to be curated (See: social media filters) and I don’t think its really reflective of who people really are.
That is why I try to get to know folks for who they really are before I make any long term judgements about them. And I’m absolutely aware that there are some folks that you just know right away if you are going to get along with them or not. That’s why I’m a big advocate of trusting that innate judgment that we all have when it crops up. It kept our ancestors from getting eaten by large scary creatures back in the day, so its an evolved process that’s usually useful.
I’m just suggesting that if you don’t have one of those immediate reactions when you meet someone, then perhaps you should hold off on forming an opinion until you’ve had time to actually get to know people.
Now, this is not about getting to know new people. I really want to talk about getting to know yourself. A deep introspective view of yourself that’s honest and hopefully will prevent someone else from getting one of those scary evolutionary feelings about YOU.
The truth is we all show the world what we want it to see.
I’m pretty sure that about half of the people reading this right now are rolling their eyes and thinking to themselves. “Yeah, right. I’m totally open. I don’t have to hide who I am from anyone.” And I’m sure that some of you actually believe that. But I’m pretty confident that we all self edit ourselves at times. Especially when we are meeting new people. We don’t want to make a bad impression. Or scare them off. Or make a fool of ourselves.
And that’s OK.
I think the bigger issue is when we self edit ourselves WITH ourselves.
“I’m not going to even try that because I know that I won’t be good at it.” Or, “I’m not going to do that because it doesn’t have any actual benefit for me.”
Day to day we make a million different choices in what we do. And what we choose not to do. And some of those things are based on assumptions about how that particular thing could turn out, or how we think it could turn out. More specifically we manage to talk ourselves out of doing something because of a misguided theory of how it might go, or how good at it we might be. And that theory isn’t rooted in truth, its rooted in fear.
And that’s not very productive.
It’s OK to be average at some things. It’s even OK to be terrible at things. Failure is how we learn things. But we absolutely need to step out of our comfort zone to grow and evolve. And to do that we have to be brutally honest with ourselves. We have to recognize that we may not be excellent at everything. We must be ready to fail spectacularly. And we have to be willing to jump out of our comfort zones. Big risks can have big rewards.
We also have to accept that failure does not define us, and failure is not going to scar us with some indelible mark that’s visible to all we meet. Failure is just an opportunity to learn something a little faster. So take those risks and find your truth. Look in the mirror and accept the imperfections. Embrace the failures, and the misses, and learn from each and every one of them. Grow and learn a little bit more every day.
Enjoy the ride outside your comfort zone.
And don’t try to be a better version or yourself. Just be yourself. Living honestly with yourself.