Tag Archives: authentic

Who is the REAL you?

“As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person.”– A Proverb*‬ ‭

Who are you?

Do you ever ask yourself that question?

Who is the REAL you?

I am not talking about the social media you, the work or school you, the church you, the you you display for the benefit of others, or the you you wish you could be.

I am talking about who you really are?

When you are alone.
When no one else is watching.
When it is just you and your thoughts.
When you do not have to pretend anymore.

I really do believe that a big part of contentment comes from knowing who you REALLY are and what you believe about life, and then having the courage and integrity to be that person in EVERY part and place of your life.

Duplicity is exhausting.
Authenticity is freeing.

Authentic integrity comes when your boundaries, ethics and morals are the same in EVERY context. There is no need for lying, acting or pretense. You are not different with different people.

Because you know who you really are!!

“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do. “– Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Of course we need to learn what is required of us in different contexts. We will not be as relaxed with a group of strangers as we are with our families at home. And yet I believe that we can still be authentic in every situation, without telling people EVERYTHING! 

Authenticity is simply about being ‘REAL’ and genuine. It’s doing away with pretending. It’s linked to humility which is being honest about our reality – whether good OR bad.

You do not need to make yourself appear better or make yourself look worse. You are not trying to ‘impress people’ or trying to get them to like you. It’s just being honest in all you say and do …. however that makes you look, regardless of how others treat you!

from darkness

I have learnt a lot about humility since I started this blog! I really do believe some people think that people like me start writing publicly or similar, assuming they are good at it and that people will want to read what they have to say. Or out of pride – to get their ‘name’ out there in the world and share their opinions.

Of course that might be the motive of some!

But I have learnt how much humility and vulnerability it can take to write and launch it into the public realm. Particularly when you decide to write with brutal honesty about both the good and the bad times, the pain and the moments of celebration, your strengths and your weaknesses.

Writing has been a humbling journey for me. When I post my writing online the ‘insecure me’ whispers…. ‘why do you bother, is anyone actually going to read it, what if they don’t like it, will it really help someone else, are you actually achieving anything here or wasting your time?’ But the ‘courageous me’ tells my insecurity to keep quiet and says… ‘I am going to post it DESPITE all of the above. If it helps one person then it is worth it and if it helps me to work through my own thoughts, then it has purpose there too!’

You soon realise people who ‘put themselves out there’ to write, produce music, create artwork, go on TV or publish talks etc, ALWAYS do so facing the challenge of ‘public opinion.’ Sometimes it’s actually easier to stay quiet and hide in the background, than it is to put your name to something and post it for all to see. Particularly when you are revealing very real, and sometimes very raw, information about your life journey.

“To put our art, our writing, our photography, our ideas out into the world with no assurance of acceptance or appreciation – that’s also vulnerability.”
– Brene Brown

But if we want to truly connect with others, we need to share our WHOLE story, even when it makes us feel vulnerable or uncomfortable. The story of the REAL us. And that will always be a challenge in a world of ‘opinions’. It is hard to share your heart when you are unsure of others reactions, or if you fear rejection.

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” – E.E. Cummings

It certainly takes courage to be bold in who we really are!! Regardless of what others think. To be the same person whether alone at home with our family or writing publicly for anyone to read.

And yet,

Sooner or later our true hearts will begin to show and be reflected through our actions and words. People around us will begin to see who we truly are anyway.

So why try to hide it?

Why cover it over and try to present a ‘better version’ of me! It’s better they see the ‘real me’ early on so it doesn’t instead creep up on them when they least expect it. If I pretend to be someone I am not, people will just get disappointed in the end – when they discover I am still full of faults and weaknesses.

I want to be known as a person of integrity. Someone who is solid and unchanging in every context. A person who’s true heart is openly displayed for all to see.

The good AND the not so good.

So that there is no duplicity, there are no unwelcome surprises for those who are getting to know me. If I am being kind – I really do mean it! I am not then going to say ‘unkind things’ about you when you are not around to hear it.

It is only then that I can know a depth of relationship and human connection with others that comes from allowing myself to truly be KNOWN. A love that allows itself to be seen and shown, regardless of how it is received. A grace that accepts and opens it’s heart to who others really are – regardless of their weakness too.

A heart that is tender and open. And welcomes others to freely join with me on our challenging human adventure through life. An honest journey of…

Up’s AND downs.
Joys AND pain.
Failures AND victories.

So that we can learn, encourage, cheer one another on and grow together. Because it’s in the TOGETHER that we will find our true strength!

Especially when our together, allows us room to be our true ‘exposed’ selves as well – and chooses to love and be kind regardless….. Whether we always agree with one another or not!

There is such beauty in our unique human diversity anyway?

“Art finds its deepest value when it is the authentic expression of a deep human experience. Art becomes profound when it exposes us, explains us, or inspires us.” – Erwin McManus


*Proverbs ‭27:19 from the Bible. 

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Breaking Free! From Pretence

Do you ever feel like you can’t truly be yourself? Like the real you is hidden away, pushed down deep, where it is guarded and protected. Perhaps only let out for the select few, those you can really trust.

Why do we sometimes pretend?
Do we even know when we are pretending?

I can remember being in a science lesson one day when I was about 11 or 12. I am not sure where the teacher was, because at that moment I wasn’t doing science.

I was hiding in a cupboard.

Why – you may ask?

Good question.

Well it was so that one of my friends could ask another one of my friends, whether they actually liked me or not, or if they were just pretending. The plan was I could then listen from my hide out and suss out where I was at in that friendship.

I can’t really remember what happened, in fact, I think it turned out that you couldn’t hear so well in a cupboard. Which was probably not a bad thing. Sometimes it’s best not to know these things.

But it is a question that can frequent my thoughts even now.

Do you ever wonder:
Who actually likes me?
Who obviously doesn’t?
Who is just pretending?

What about you?
Do you pretend?

Breaking free from Pretence copy

I decided a long time ago that pretending wasn’t for me. It’s too much like hard work. Not that I’ve ever consciously decided to hide or pretend. It’s just something we all do.

But however much I decide it’s not for me. I believe we all still fall into the trap of pretending, at times, for both similar and unique reasons. We try to show the best of who we are, whilst attempting to cover over the worst.

We all have masks in some form. We all have crafted exteriors that we put on in other peoples presence. We want to present ourselves in a certain way.

We may ask ourselves questions like:
Who can we trust with the truth of our lives?
Who do we let in to our vulnerabilities?
Will they accept us for who we really are?


We all have masks in some form. We all have crafted exteriors that we put on in other peoples presence.


Social media can cause us to put up masks, either intentionally or unintentionally. Photos with filters that show:
The Best bits
Great relationships
Gorgeous kids
Exciting lives
It’s easy to portray an image that looks great but may not be the whole reality. As I wrote about in The Insecurity of Comparisson. 

Does that mean that we should all put more awful photos of ourselves and share the ins and outs of our disastrous family moments?
No I don’t think so!
But we do need to be mindful that we are often seeing the best snapshots of people’s lives.

No ones life is perfect.

Let’s celebrate the good parts of people’s lives whilst being mindful that they are just that:

The good parts.

We all have good and bad days.
We all have dull mundane days.
We all get stuff wrong
We all have insecurities.
We all desire to look our best.
We all desire to be liked and loved for who we really are.

We hope that other people are genuine too. That they are not two faced, pretending to like and love us, when in reality, they don’t.

We desire authenticity.

from darkness

WHAT IS AUTHENTICITY?

Authenticity has become a bit of a buzz word recently, but it’s a great word.

The Free Dictionary defines authenticity as:

The quality or condition of being authentic, trustworthy, or genuine.

WHAT DOES THE WORD AUTHENTICITY BRING TO MIND?

The real deal!

An authentic product is real, not fake. An authentic person is real, not fake.

Pretending is exhausting. It’s stressful trying to maintain a crafted exterior. It’s much easier to learn how to be yourself.

Authenticity is attractive. It’s easier to be around authentic people.
They are not trying to impress or compete with you.
They are simply who they are.
No frills.
Not gift wrapped.
They have both humility and integrity.
They are not consumed by maintaining an act.

The problem is it actually takes a lot of courage and strength to be yourself. To be real about your best and worst parts. Your strengths and your weaknesses.


Pretending is exhausting. It’s stressful trying to maintain a crafted exterior


It certainly doesn’t mean telling everyone everything, or not being professional. We still all need to have self control. We don’t all need to wear our hearts on our sleeves. (That can be just as exhausting as hiding it, for you and everyone else). No one likes a perpetual moaner.

Sometimes we need to put how we really feel aside and get on with the job in hand. Parents, professionals, leaders and those in any positions of responsibility have times, days and seasons where they have to put their own feelings aside to do the right thing.

Which is a good thing.

However, having wisdom and self control in what we say and do are different from outright pretending. Pretending can actually be deceptive. Sometimes we need to face up to the reality of our lives and do something about it.

“Pretend less. Doesn’t it feel energizing to go home and stop pretending?” Dan Rockwell (Leadership Freak Blog – Refuelling Strategies)

People can be both professional and authentic. It takes a lot of wisdom, but it is possible. We don’t have to separate our life out into segments where we are different people in different environments.

We can all be genuine in what we do.

Who you are is so much more important than what you do, what you say, or who you know. Authenticity is attractive. —Brian Houston

Breaking free copy

It is good to reflect, to work out what makes us tick. To think through who we want to be and whether we are living life in line with our values and dreams.

It is helpful once in a while to ask yourself these questions:
Who am I?
Who do I want to be?
Do I pretend?
How can I be more authentic, whilst maintaining wisdom, self control & integrity?

It is a journey that requires humility. A journey that will demand integrity. A path of courage and wisdom. A choice to be real and transparent …. Regardless:
Of what others think
What others say.
How you are treated.
How you a judged.

There is freedom in discovering who you really are.

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are. – E.E. Cummings


This post is part of my .Breaking Free. series of posts. Click here to see posts on Breaking Free from Fear, Worry and Discouragement.