“As for an authentic villain, the real thing, the absolute, the artist, one rarely meets him even once in a lifetime. The ordinary bad hat is always in part a decent fellow.” – Sidonie Gabrielle Colette
Being authentic is hard. First of all, we learn as children that some things are only appropriate in front of certain people or in certain places. This tells us that it is somehow not okay to be yourself all of the time. I feel like my mantra to my kids has become “that is not appropriate!” and they are probably very confused by it.
Secondly, sometimes our authentic qualities aren’t ones that we are proud of or like about ourselves, so it is natural to want to hide those away as often as we can. This creates a type of denial. We don’t want to accept that we are not this certain form of perfection that we think we are. Sometimes we are mean and nasty and ugly and we would rather not let anyone else know that.
There are just a few friends in my world who will tell me, lovingly, that I am being negative or feeling sorry for myself. My knee-jerk reaction is to get angry when this happens, but after I chew on it for a while, I see that they are right. I hate that! I don’t want to be negative, ever! I don’t want to feel sorry for myself, ever! And to be honest, those are both characteristics that I dislike the most in other people.
But that’s the thing about authenticity. It’s about being whole and nothing is all good and nothing is all bad. We all have our dark and our light. Our yin and our yang. And only reality TV stars need to show the whole world both of those sides. There is a time and a place.
What I find myself trying to do more of in my quest to be real is admitting and acknowledging that I have bad qualities and they are just as much a part of who I am as the good ones. In fact, they may even allow the people I show them to more freedom to be themselves with me. And that might be what they mean about making lemonade out of lemons.