To congruently express who you are through your actions and behavior, that's the trick!
How many of us pretend to be something we're not so we can have something we wouldn't have otherwise?
It's easy to say, "don't pretend" but if your find that by giving up pretending, you lose the very thing you love the most...what choice do you make?
When you fear that expressing who you are to others will either hurt them or hurt you (or both), do you find yourself pretending, rather than being truthful? And what do you gain by that?
When I say, “don’t be a pretender” I mean: Don't put a mask on for those around you in an attempt to get their approval or love. But what I'm consumed with now is the kind of pretending we do because we are -- afraid. Maybe it comes from insecurity, but we often pretend because we believe that it’s the best (or only) option under the given circumstances. We do it in order to protect others (or more accurately - protect ourselves from the reactions of others).
Sometimes, life seems too complicated to manage with honesty -- especially when we don’t trust that those around us are strong enough to handle the raw truth, or we fear that we won’t get what we want if we don’t pretend. But when you pretend, you run the risk of being seen as someone or something you're not. It then becomes impossible to know if those that surround you really know you or just love who they think you are. Even when we think we are getting away with pretending... others can always tell, even if we fool ourselves.
So, I believe that it's important to know who you are and what you stand for; to know what you believe and value. And yes, I believe that being able to express that with consistency is essential. Because if you don’t, it’s confusing. It's a tangled web - one which we've all been caught up in at one time or another.
But, I've realized of late, that there is no circumstance so complicated that we cannot choose how we deal with it honestly. Nothing is beyond our control when it comes to how we present ourselves to others. Sometimes, it may seem that we are required to appear be something other than we are (like an undercover agent - let's say) and we find ourselves doing things differently than we otherwise would because we feel it's in the best interest of others. But this often has unforeseen consequences - because it puts us in a position of dishonesty.
I believe that being true to yourself, no matter what others make of it, is the best choice. I do it myself...mostly. Seriously, how many of us are really living the life of an undercover agent? Those of us who believe in truth and trust ourselves, don't usually have a legitimate reason to be (or pretend to be) anything other than what/who we are. Unless... we're actors/actresses on the stage - or children playing make believe.
Don't get me wrong, I know that discretion is called for from time to time. And I am a good secret keeper. And when it doesn’t serve the ultimate truth to fully disclose who I am in a given situation, I'm great at pretending. It’s simply a fact of life, there are times when keeping myself to myself is the smarter decision. In circumstances where telling the truth puts others in harms way; or when one is compelled to confess a transgression purely for the sake of clearing one's conscience - pretending might be a better choice. Ironically, honestly is not always the best policy. However, just because there are finite times in life when it is more respectful to be less than honest, pretending as a way of life is not a good choice - because that just makes you a lair.
Think about it...Is it really fair, to you or those you love, to live the life of a pretender? It takes such an effort; the energy to keep up false appearances draining. So, if you find that you're in a situation where you're have to pretend that you feel differently than you do; or that you are satisfied when you're not; or that you are complete when you deny an essential aspects of yourself...honestly, think about it.
The more authentically we live, the closer we are to getting authentic responses from others.
I have, when I've cared deeply about another, found myself pretending to a point of being compelled to disregard some truths about myself. It's a easy trap to fall into because when things go unacknowledged, we can more easily ignore them. It's easier to deny the impact of things (or to deny that certain events occurred at all), if we pretend something is insignificant. Humans can live with almost anything because of our ability think our way out of things. And when the truth is too difficult to assimilate into our way of thinking -- or too painful to face without a way to guard against it -- we all pretend.
But, pretending doesn't change the truth, it only help us hide from it - or hides the truth from ourselves, or others.
Denying who we are (even if it seems justified), ultimately, doesn't work -- because we humans are wired to be congruent and consistent. Pretending is only effective for a limited amount of a time before we are forced to face the reality of any situation if we are going to live genuinely and freely.
I think we all know this on some level - it's why certain situations (one's that require more pretending than truth) make us anxious or uneasy. We can all lie to world. We all have the capacity to put on a show that makes us look good, but ultimately, we cannot lie to ourselves. Eventually, that catches up with us and wears us down, making things that are real seem very far from our reach.
Pretending, when left to the stage and to children it is a brilliant gift that inspires imagination and dreams. It can open up a world of possibilities; it's imagining and believing in our remarkable potential as creative beings. But this kind of pretending is not what I'm talking about when I discourage the idea of being "a pretender".
Because being who we are - front and center - is the most effective way to know that we are appreciated (and the best way to appreciate ourselves), when we stop our presences, we stand on more solid ground. Pretending can result in life becoming just a series of tasks, rather than a world of wonder. So, don't cheat yourself. People may not always like who we are, what we do, or the choices we make - but at least we know exactly what we're dealing with and where we stand with others. For me, that's the easier path in the end.
Don't be a pretender, especially with yourself.