In my field of work, I’ve come across many people who are dissatisfied with their life. Some are in unhappy stagnant marriages or relationships while others feel lonely and fearful to truly be themselves among their friendship circles. From the outside, everything seems good in their life but when they are alone at night the truth resurfaces reminding them they’re living a lie. I call these the great pretenders. You may be surprised to know that we live among many great pretenders. It could be your boss at work with the picture perfect family portrait sitting at his desk or the social butterfly in your friendship group with hundreds of Facebook friends. It’s the neighbor with the big house, the pastor of the mega-church, the couple that just celebrated their 20 year anniversary and so many more. Some of the most well-liked, brave on the outside, well-spoken and most popular people are the very ones when behind closed doors feel the most dissatisfied, fearful and insecure. Everyday people, you come across portraying to the outside world that everything is great when deep inside this is farthest from the truth. The thing about great pretenders that make it so easy to continue living the persona is pretenders attract pretenders…therefore no one is forced to take a truthful look at themselves. Pretender’s social circles are filled with other great pretenders so everyone puts on a great show around each other keeping things surface so true selves remain hidden.
I use to be a great pretender. Pretending I had this great fulfilling life when deep inside I knew my truth was contrary to the persona I kept. All great pretenders will come to a place in life where they find themselves at a crossroad. It is at this time you are left with two decisions:
1) Take the Risk
The first choice you have is to “take the risk”. You have the choice to stop all the lies and game playing and boldly begin to truly live your truth. You have the choice to step outside your comfort zone loose the persona and discover the real you. You have the option to take the risk of losing some friendships or relationships but only to find true authentic ones to take their place. You have the decision to follow the fork in the road that leads to true freedom, holistic wellbeing, happiness, and peace. You have the decision to take the road less traveled and discover a whole new you!
2) Stay Put
The other option you have is to “stay put”. The option to stay put in the persona you built. This option is safe and doesn’t require any changes to the “status quo”. This option allows you to continue living the same way you have always been living, dressing up the outside real good and playing the part. This choice will not “rock the boat” everything will stay intact. Let me just say the majority choose this option and go on to live a steady conventional life. Although, in the back of their mind they always wonder what it would be like if they stepped outside that box, they never take the chance.
I chose option 2 for most of my life, but it ended up killing me on the inside. So much of who I really was, my purpose, value, personality, likes and dislikes were buried deep to maintain the box I lived in to keep “my role” in the great pretending. To keep the life, I thought I wanted and needed created this wonderful imagine on the outside but this decaying on the inside. It took years of growth to finally wake up and face my fears, step outside that box, move from my comfort zone and boldly say “this is me…like me or hate me…love me or leave me…talk about me or join me…but this is my truth”! Now don’t get me wrong it’s scary as hell when you step on that platform and reveal the real authentic you because you don’t know what will happen. But I’m a living testimony of one who has gone before you and I am here to say that yes you will lose some friends, yes people will judge and talk about you, yes you will feel vulnerable and exposed, yes you will feel scared but trust me my friends the end result is SO much sweeter than the old life you lead before. You see although you lose friends you gain true authentic friendships, the fear, vulnerability and being exposed leads to strength and courage. The judgment from others teaches you how to challenge prejudices and discover commonalities. It creates even more bravery to stand tall in your truth and inspires others to do the same. You learn great empathy for others, how to truly listen to people and open up. This in turn creates a whole new kind of community/village of meaningful relationships people sharing of self and growing together. You learn what it really means to give and receive love. You finally discover what it truly means to be free!