There is a kind of pressure and frustration to live up to another’s expectations, not just their expectations of us but also of the relationship we are to have with them. This is particularly so when their perception of us are skewed by the mask we had put on as we performed the requisite roles in life. Who is then responsible (at least partly) for others’ perception and expectations of us which are incongruent to who we really are? Of course, some people only see what they wish to see. Nevertheless we need not contribute to the illusion.
Authenticity is when we are able to recognize the light and shadow within us, to acknowledge the facade we put in place to defend ourselves; and it is to take steps to accept our light and shadow and thus the vulnerability we feel as essential to being real; and it is to dare being seen without our facade.
We tend to present to the world our best selves, however “best” is defined within a certain context. And it is this facade that draws certain people to us and as they approach, they bring their perceptions and expectations that are reflected upon us.
As we become more self-aware and move towards being real, some people leave us. This is inevitable in a growth process.
To have the insight of how different we may be compared to the facade we have built over years of adapting and defending is a first step to stopping the perpetual creation of an illusion. Instead we choose to become an integrated person, one who is the same within as the one we present to the world.
There is a kind of vulnerability in this. It takes courage to not shy away from feeling exposed.
This integrated real person that we are, are accepted in its fullness and those who are drawn to us can see our light and shadow.
And we will know the calibre of those who approach us by how they respond to and hold space for our courage and our vulnerability. The reverse is also true, how we respond to another’s vulnerability and courage will say much of our journey to authenticity.
As we are authentic, we call to those who are also authentic; while knowing there is no ideal or perfect person for as Whitman wrote, “it may be all maya, illusion”.
Are you an illusion or real?