“This above all- to thine own self be true.” A famous quote from William Shakespeare’s play, “Hamlet.” The perfect quote as we continue the discussion on being Authentically You. I want to delve deeper into why this is so important. So, let’s start with an explanation as to how I came to know this to be true.
My personality is VERY BIG and multi-layered. Just when you think you know me, another layer may be revealed. This is partly because I am truly self-aware and I know the dangers of trying to thrust all of me on anyone at once. When you first meet me I am usually in observation mode. This is the “Getting to know you” phase of the relationship – and I am observing and deciding if I want to pursue the relationship any further. I go out of my way to try and make you feel comfortable being “You.” I am also aware that I am not most people, so my introduction takes a little longer. As I get to know you, I decide if I feel it is safe to start letting down my guard a little. After the initial stage, I talk a little more, laugh a little more, joke a little more. Then I observe to see how you handle it. If you are able to accept that, then we enter the next stage where I share my more opinionated side. I am totally aware that I am more opinionated than most, but I own it. I also know it is my responsibility to ensure that those I invite into my inner circle are able to handle it. If you can handle the first three stages, then you are privy to the final stage: vulnerability and insecurity. This is where I feel “safe” enough to share with you, without fear of judgment, criticism, or condemnation, what most people will never know about me.
I know what you’re thinking: Who does she think she is? Why does it take all of that? But, the truth of the matter is, if you think about it and if you are wise, your process of deciding whom to let in is probably similar to mine.
A study published in the ‘Journal of Social and Personal Relationships’ recently calculated that on average it takes about 50 hours of time with someone before you consider them a casual friend, 90 hours before you become real friends, and about 200 hours to become close friends.
Many of us have suffered countless heartbreaks, disappointments, and failed relationships because we let the wrong people in too soon, or for the wrong reasons; and ultimately all we were left with was rejection, regret, and questioning our self-worth and value. That is when we started trying to be who people want/need us to be, instead of looking for those who will embrace us being Authentically us – no masks.
Now, I don’t believe most people are out to intentionally hurt us. I do believe however, that we get hurt when we don’t do our due diligence and really learn the people with whom we interact; and we fail to allow them to get to know the real us. Think about it: We’re asking people to be “Real” with us, but we aren’t real with ourselves or with them. Then when they miss the mark, we blame them for letting us down; but this is unfair to them.
My advice is this: In order to Be Authentically You, you must first know yourself. Self-awareness is key. It is impossible for people to get to know you when you don’t even know you. Instead, what happens is you paint a picture of who you “believe” you are, and if they are not discerning enough, they will believe you. Then as time goes on, the veneer of the faux version of you chips away and they may not like everything they see. They have a right to their feelings; after all the facts are distorted. They feel you were dishonest, and you feel rejected – all of which could have been avoided if you were more self-aware, thus able to Be Authentically You, and allowing them to see the real you. Another thing to consider (and accept) is that you are not going to form a relationship with everyone you meet – and that is okay. You should be selective, as should they.
So, That Settles It. Learn and embrace who you really are, at your core. Be Authentically You – Always – At All Costs. Then you will attract the right people who will accept you as you are. You will find the right Tribe/Circle/Support System and synergistic relationships.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! It is amazing to think about. Your workmanship is marvelous—and how well I know it.
~Psalm 139:14 TLB