Lately I feel like there has been a lot of talk about authenticity wherever I go--on blogs or in real life. It has me thinking about the general idea as well as specific applications to my own life. I should note that these musings are not aimed at or in response to any one person--just the sum total of my thoughts. And, I'm not judging anyone who has a different approach.
Recently, my blogging friend Heidi Ashworth wrote a post about writing her own bio for her second book (congrats, Heidi). It is funny, as is most of what she writes, but is also quite thoughtful and perceptive, as is most of what she writes. In essence, she pokes fun at how an author's bio creates an image different than reality.
I'm kind of dealing with this right now in my own mind--how writing various things in public forums (yes, I know that's not really the plural of "forums", but the real plural sounds pretentious, I think) such as this blog and comments on other people's blogs, and Facebook all create or construct a certain image.
In addition, my job requires a high degree of diplomacy. I don't consciously lie or deceive, but there are times I need to say things delicately and tactfully. This has created a constant censor who lives in the back of my mind and examines what I say and write.
All of this has me thinking about being authentic. What does it mean?
Some people say anything they want, no matter how hurtful or offensive and call it authentic. I guess that's true, but is it desirable? Where does one draw the line? It's probably more authentic to not wear clothes or shower or indulge in any other social graces. Are manners and courtesy authentic?
Here's a picture of my house with my two little boys in front. I think this looks idyllic--almost perfect. Below is another picture of the house seen through a screen of purple irises. Another photo that I think looks idyllic.
Here are two more photos showing a less-idyllic view. One of the shutters, which is loose and peeling away. Below is a crack in one of the bricks. I could also have shown pictures of worn carpet or messy rooms.
So which is it? Idyllic or flawed?
Well, it's both. My life, like my house has idyllic elements and those that are less so. I suppose it's how you choose to look at it, what you choose to focus on.
I'm the same: a pretty mixed bag of human flaws, frailties and failings. I'd like to think I also have some good points as well. I'm trying to get in the habit of cultivating a positive view of other people--and myself, for that matter. I'm trying to focus more on the positive because the negative is so obtrusive and obvious. I feel like the negative stuff comes out without being invited. Like the weeds in my garden, those things seem to grow despite my best efforts. The good stuff needs to be cultivated and fertilized and watered carefully.
This means that I'm posting things that help me do this. I'm trying to post and write about things that are true--but good. There's enough ugliness in life. My human flaws and those of others, as well as the problems life brings our way are all too apparent. I don't know that they need to be emphasized. Especially not publicly. There's so much I have to work out with God and those close to me as it is. I don't know that I want a larger audience than there already is for the Braden's Flaws and Foibles Show.
Is that inauthentic? Maybe. But I think it's just choosing to look in a different direction--at least publicly.
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