I recently started volunteering with an amazing theater program for kids. The work I do with them allows me to let my creativity flow, but the side effect of this is that my mind wanders around like a gypsy. I am new at this theater stuff. I volunteer here because I love what this program (K2K) is about and I enjoy working with the people that are running this program (love you Jenn and Brian).
So, while I was working on set painting the following words came into my mind “it doesn’t have to be perfect, it only needs to look perfect.” I realized at that moment that being and looking perfect were very different. Being perfect meant that you could look at it from any angle, any perspective and it would remain flawless BUT simply looking perfect meant that it only had to seem perfect from a certain angle.
Funny how an epiphany can it you when you least expect it, anyway - as I was painting I was reminding myself that it did not have to be perfect, it only needed to look perfect from the audience’s perspective. This thought sent my mind wandering to a past relationship where my partner was obsessed with appearances. He always wanted to give a certain impression despite the fact that it was totally false. And boom! I realized many people live this way.
This was an “OMG!” moment for me because I could never understand this. With me, what you see is what you get. Sometimes people make up stories about what they think they see, but I am quite transparent (have always been). Most people are not used to this, so they assume there is more to it - there’s another story behind it. They have a hard time believing that I have built my life myself. Many believe that some man had to have been responsible for the material goods I own such as my house and my car. NO! I did this myself despite the parasitic relationships, despite the blood suckers… anyway. That is a story for another day. Had I been less trusting I would be further ahead on that aspect but live and learn, as they say.
This realization saddened me because I can only imagine the emptiness one must feel living an illusion all the time. It would be like biting into an apple that looks crispy and fresh on the outside but that is completely rotten on the inside. The first reaction is spitting out your bite (rejection), the second reaction is disappointment because you were so looking forward to this juicy, crunchy apple. But worst, after such an experience you will have trouble trusting the apples again. You might even get completely turned off by apples. And then you miss out on all the good, healthy, juicy, crunchy apples. You miss out on the pleasure of biting into the apple and enjoying the flavours, the health benefits, and so much more. All because of ONE bad apple. Wow! Not sure where this came from… but I hope you get the point.
I have seen too many people mistrust good honest people, miss out on relationships that could have been life changing (in a good way) for them. I have seen honest people not get certain jobs because of the people hiring assumed that the resumé was falsified.
When we live with the mentality that “it just has to look perfect”, we create a world full of deceit and disappointment not only for ourselves but for everyone around. Sometimes that reach expands beyond your own circle and affects people that really deserve to be trusted. But worse, you will never fill the void with illusions. To fill the void, you must have a healthy core - it has to be more than just an appearance.
Showing our true colors is scary, but nothing feels better than being our true self. I have never been able to live any other way and, yes, I have felt rejection, disappointment, and many other unpleasant things but then I always knew where I stood with the people around me. This also allowed me to choose my friends more wisely and surround myself with people that accepted me for me and NOT for someone they THOUGHT I was.
Pain is temporary. The benefits of being our true self are permanent. The wellbeing that accompany being authentic open up a world of possibilities because when people trust you, they also open up to you.
If you build a house of cards, no matter how much you try to disguise it, it will remain a house of cards. If you want a house that will stand the test of time, you have to build a solid foundation.
Life is not a theater, illusions can only work for so long. The actors get tired and stumble and then the gig is up. To live a truly fulfilling life, it does not have to be perfect nor does it have to look perfect. Sometimes our flaws are also our greatest assets. Be true to yourself and others will love you even more for it.
Believe in yourself and others will follow.