Reveling in Our Rawness
A few years ago, I gave myself permission to stop living down to the expectations of others; to rip off the masks I’d donned to conform with those expectations, and expose the raw gem I’d been hiding away. It was the best decision I have ever made.
We spend too many years trying to be what others expect us to be while our true selves are dying inside for lack of sunshine and air. Yet as we chase someone else’s dream, any chance of happiness and fulfillment disappears in the distance. It stays behind along with the self who is honest, true, unadorned, and unadulterated by society’s arbitrary expectations.
Since they are arbitrary and at the whim of someone who is following their dream, it’s a full-time job just keeping up with its fluid nature. What does this exercise in futility give us except ulcers, and a host of other stress-related maladies? The one thing it does not give us is a happiness of our own, a joy in our own unique being.
Being Real is Scary. The Rewards are Infinite.
Certainly, it takes courage to expose the rawness of ourselves to the world. Those masks we wear give us a protective shell as well as a certain amount of invisibility in an often harsh world. What many of us fail to realize is if we have the courage to be ourselves and expose ourselves to the hurt, we’ll grow stronger automatically. Our skin will thicken with each trauma, creating a transparent barrier, even while we allow others to see the genuine article rather than some cobbled together version of what we think they want to see.
Which brings up another matter. We don masks and fashion ourselves in an image we believe will be attractive to others. The trouble is, that facade is created with the best information available to us and crafted with our own perception of the information we gather. As such, it will never perfectly fit what the person or people around us see as perfection, nor will it be a one-size-fits-all image. It means we’ll always be short of the mark with everyone; some more than others, and we’ll be constantly changing to fit each person’s expectations.
Sounds like an awful lot of effort for minimal return, yet it happens around us, and sometimes to us every day. I’d say it’s the true definition of the “rat race”, this constant effort to be what’s expected, but doing so without complete information or control over any changes in those expectations.
Sure, there’s a certain amount of modification to our behavior required to coexist with people and to hold down a job. We all have moments when we’d like to tell someone exactly what we think, but hold back for a variety of reasons. If you ask me, the only valid reason for tempering words and actions is to avoid hurting someone unnecessarily. Anything else is just bulltwaddle. Frankly, if you hide your light under a bushel because you’re scared to make waves, you are hurting someone, the most important person in your world: YOU!
Taking a Tip from the Millenials
Perhaps that’s one of the positive aspects the Millennials have tapped into. Many aren’t willing to be what someone else wants them to be or conform their behavior to the “norm” so they’re launching their own endeavors. Entrepreneurialism is certainly on the rise and more people are choosing to work from their own space than to commute to someone else’s. After reading about the horrors of one friend’s commute when the company she recently joined moved its offices to a far less convenient location, I’m even more inclined to stay off the roads during rush hour. (Which is also a misnomer if you’ve ever been on the 101 or 405 during heavy commuting hours. Except for motorcyclists, I haven’t seen anyone rushing anywhere!)
More and more, we see the words “authentic” and “genuine” thrown about. I’ve been known to do it myself as I’ve yet to find a better way to express the concept of letting people see who you really are, to expose your vulnerability (mostly) fearlessly. I can tell you I’ve learned people respond better to someone who lets their imperfections show. Why? Because we all have at least a little bit of insecurity, which prevents us from opening up to someone unwilling to show a few cracks in their shell.
Life Kicks Us Down But We Can Choose to Get Back Up
By the time we reach adulthood, most of us have been slapped down a time or ten by someone who was stronger, or more likely, had stronger walls than we did. We’ve suffered an indignity or two and learned to mask our pain in public. Too often, we take it further than we should, and mask it from ourselves as well, only to discover we can’t do so indefinitely.
I’m learning it’s more important to let the scar tissue form and be our protection. We’ll be happier with our lives if we don’t let the lessons stifle the beautiful, sensitive, raw human being living inside our skin. Even more important, we’ll attract people who are more likely to fit us if we are ourselves and not some false front.
Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places
I spent the first 40 or so years of this lifetime attracting people who were wrong for me on many levels. Yet, they were right for the person I was pretending to be, and taught me some valuable lessons along the way. After years of wondering why I never seemed to fit in, I realized I never would as long as I tried to be someone I wasn’t.
It took years to shed the masks and break down the walls, and I know there are still a few left to vanquish, but these days, the people in my life are far more suited to the person I am deep inside. They communicate in a way my heart understands and responds to. They aren’t afraid to talk about the things they struggle with. Most of all, they aren’t afraid or ashamed to ask for help when they encounter a situation which requires additional insight or tools they haven’t acquired or mastered.
Break the Mold and Thrive on Originality
We live in a world where we’ve been brainwashed into believing we have to be some modern-day version of the Stepford Wives. That society was rotten to the core, and many parts of ours is too. The good news is, more and more people are breaking away from a model which assumes we should be happy with a hierarchical society where a few people run everything, and everyone else is a mindless drone. I say, it’s about damn time!
Like an uncut, unpolished gemstone, we humans are most beautiful in our raw form. That doesn’t mean we don’t clean up a bit or recognize a few social mores when interacting with others. It simply means being who we are or, in the immortal words of Dr. Seuss “Why fit in when you were meant to stand out?” or “Be who you are and say what you feel. Because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
This week’s Live with Sheri and Friends addresses the topic of Rawness too. You can find it here.
Feeling Grateful Every Day
My gratitudes today are:
- I am grateful I’m learning to be comfortable without all the pretty packaging.
- I am grateful for the people who have come into my life since I stopped caring about fitting in.
- I am grateful for the beauty in my life now it’s filled with people who are real.
- I am grateful for inspiration from unlikely sources.
- I am grateful for abundance; inspiration, motivation, health, energy, connections, dreams, goals, processes, joy, friendship, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.
Love and Light
About the Author
Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She specializes in creating content that helps entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author