When I selected this quote for the topic of my article, it immediately struck a chord in my heart. When I started the research to actually write about it, I took a step backwards to examine my heart. Why do I feel so strongly opposed to fake people? Something happened to me to establish a conviction in my heart to yearn to be authentic. I want to be real, and brutally honest.
I remember a time in my life when I was able to make small talk, to laugh at superficial opinions, a time when I actually showed very few genuine emotions. I remember the times when I would accept a backhanded compliment…”I brought this blouse for you, it is way too big for me…” My brain would tumble, my heart would scream, but I would stand there with a fake smile plastered on my face. I remember how I would stand in the company of other women and listen to them criticizing others, complaining about their lives, finding fault in everything. I also remember the positive ones, smiling, reciting Bible verses and positive quotes when I was secretly navigating difficulties in my own life. I remember working hard behind the scenes and how certain people would appear at the last minute, taking all the credit for other people’s work.
Fake people are like soap bubbles; they pop out when the sun shines brightly. (Chiranjude Bird)
I think everything changed for me when my whole world fell apart. The day my struggles became public and I had no choice but to speak out. I had to face my battles head on and I didn’t have any energy left to pretend.
Share your weaknesses. Share your hard moments. Share your real side. It’ll either scare away every fake person in your life or it will inspire them to finally let go of that mirage called ‘perfection’, which will open the doors to the most important relationships you’ll ever be part of. (Dan Pearce)
When you see the genuine, you don’t deal with the fakes anymore. (Nima Davani)
I was thrust into the presence of my imperfections, I had to accept my humanity. I had to dissect my talents and abilities. When the pretense stopped, I could be vulnerable before God, honest with the people closest to my heart, and I was able to admit my shortcomings to myself. I was on my way to receive healing for my broken life.
“It is not the healthy who need a doctor,” He said, “but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17)
Therefore confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The urgent request of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect. (James 5:16)
I would be lying if I said that God miraculously healed me. It was as if He made me aware of something, and then enabled me to do the hard work. I wrote the following words in one of my journals…
“I am reading a lot these days. Thinking and analysing my life. I am trying to understand why I feel the way I do. I feel like a hypocrite, living my life behind a mask, I have learned to adapt to different roles at different times. Sometimes I fake humility while every bone in my body wants to go to war. The most difficult thing at the moment is trying to live up to the persona that I created all these years. I just want to be alone, I want to isolate myself because I feel só humiliated, só ashamed. One thing that I figured out is that I actually have a voice, I can create the environment around me to be false, to pretend… or I can choose truth. Honesty. I have no idea how long it is going to take me, but that is where I am going. I will live intentionally, I will live an authentic life. God, please help me on this journey, direct my thoughts, direct my steps!” (My Journal: June 2000)
False humility is the pride of being proud, real humility is without the consciousness that pride exists. (Michael Bassey Johnson)
Authenticity is the ability to be in connection with our true essence and then act in alignment from that place. It is the awareness of your beliefs, desires, needs, talents, integrity and personal destiny. People trust authentic people. (Unknown)
The one thing that I realised, is that I had to find my true self. I had to celebrate my strengths, but at the same time become familiar with my weaknesses, moreover, to embrace myself as I am. I had a lot of pre-conceived ideas. I grew up with a certain mind-set. I moulded myself into different shapes throughout my marriage. I knew I was completely out of sync with the person God created me to be.
“The hardest thing for me to accept is that I can’t blame anyone anymore… I have to take responsibility for all the consequences of my decisions. The consequences are só painful. I often wonder if I should have stayed in my marriage, lived in my misery and if that would have been easier. But, when I am honest before God and myself, I feel that I have made the right decision. I am lost, I am scared and I have no idea where this path is leading me. The one thing that I am certain of is that I am not alone. God is with me. I need courage to redefine my values. Please God, give me courage!” (My Journal: February 2001)
God worked in my inner spaces. He helped me to become aware of myself, to understand that certain experiences will unlock emotions. I had to learn to have enough respect for myself, to allow my heart to feel my emotions, to work through them and to be mindful of what was happening.
Mindfulness means paying attention, on purpose in the present moment without any judgment. (Unknown)
“I find it very liberating to create my own rules and boundaries, but feeling the emotions still scares me a little. I am trying to look at life in a different way, giving myself permission to fail and to acknowledge that this is a new way of life. It is a continuous journey and I will keep adjusting my outlook until I become fearless!” (My Journal: August 2002)
It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are. (E.E. Cummings)
The downside to authenticity was that I had to reveal some aspects of my life that I would have preferred to cover up with silence. Initially I took gentle steps and made an effort to be continuously present in each of my life experiences, but I made some unpopular decisions that inconvenienced a few people in my life causing me to feel a tremendous backlash from family members and ‘friends’.
“Now that everything is out in the open, I have nothing to hide. I know now what freedom tastes like. I can truly be myself while I hold onto my peace. I feel that I am engaged with every part of my life.” (My Journal: August 2015)
I won’t say it is easy to find yourself, nor is it a quick process, but the rewards are endless.
He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully, they will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God their Saviour. (Psalm 24:4-5)
Yet you know not what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. (James 4:14)
Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interest of others. (Philippians 2:3-4)
You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? (Matthew 7:16)
I wrote the following statement in my journal…
It is sometimes easier to identify what I don’t want to be. I never allowed myself to live freely as God intended, how am I supposed to know what I can be? So here goes… I don’t want to seek attention; I don’t want to be a people pleaser; I won’t be insincere or insecure anymore; I won’t be boastful, but I will never revert back to false humility; I will not be gullible and believe other people’s opinions about me. I will constantly examine my reality and I will be consistent in everything that I do. (My Journal: February 2010)
Warning signs that I am out of sync:
- I hold grudges – if I am authentic I live from a space of forgiveness. I grieve my losses and then I move on.
- I am a people pleaser – stay clear from the mob mentality. Think for yourself and ask yourself difficult questions.
- I don’t keep my word, or I don’t honour deadlines – authentic people live with integrity.
- I don’t care about my own well-being – if you know yourself, you will be able to have balance in your life.
- I am inconsistent – live your word. Walk the talk.
- I feel fragmented, unhappy, unmotivated, stressed, irritated or stuck – when I do something to make someone else happy.
I dedicate this article to the more than fifteen journals on my bookshelf. This is the space where I could struggle, weep, be angry and where I found myself. They opened their blank pages to receive my words, my thoughts, my sorrow and my vision for the rest of my journey on earth. Never did I have a more solid, loving and accepting partner. I am grateful!