So often we hide the “real me” behind masks. We put up fronts of being strong, confident and secure, when we are really weak, afraid and very insecure. We don’t want others to know what’s truly going on inside because we are afraid of what they might think of us. Who wants to hang out with someone who is weak and afraid?
When we hide and live in a false reality, we aren’t really living at all. We walk around pretending – hoping maybe that someday, somehow, something may change. But the reality is nothing will change if we aren’t honest with ourselves or others.
In today’s world of social media, YouTube and VLOGs, it’s even easier to hide. We create a filtered selfie at the very best angle and retake it 14 times before we post. We add a fun hashtag and laugh away the pain and reality of what’s really going on inside. We pretend that it doesn’t hurt when we don’t get invited to our girlfriend’s party. We act like we don’t care as friends post about a gathering we were left out of. We smile at our parents when asked how we are doing. We don’t want them to worry. We don’t share with counselors or pastors what we really think about social or moral issues, or political injustices because our opinions might not fully align, so why bother?
We often hide the “real” us because of fear of rejection or judgment by others. We go through life as if everything is okay, when we are really hurting and broken inside. In order to avoid getting hurt, we stay behind these masks pretending to be something we are not. We draw our identity from what we do – gymnastics, music, art or academics, and try to prove to ourselves and everyone that we have value. What we truly desire is the ability to be ourselves with no strings attached. We want to be loved for who we ARE and not what we DO. But often, we do not even like who we are. We are filled with hurt, anger and brokenness, and are afraid to reach out asking for help or support.
And we don’t know how to cross the bridge of silence we have built and allow others close enough to see the real us. Open honest dialogue, acceptance and love are what we truly long for and need… But will we ever get it?
We are created for relationships, but in order to have quality relationships, we need to be authentic with one another. Authentic means being real, vulnerable and honest. It is defined as: not false or copied; being genuine, reliable and trustworthy. As believers, we are called to live authentic lives and to be in authentic relationships with one another. Is this easy? No! It’s much easier to “fake” it and pretend we are doing well, when inside we are struggling. However, if we are willing to face our brokenness and allow others in to help, we begin walking in a brand new place of freedom and power. Jesus said in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” What a promise! When I am weak, His strength takes over.
Pamela Lozano is a conscientious leader who believes in investing in and mentoring the next generation to raise them up to be who God has designed them to be. She is the President & Founder of Pure Design Ministries which publishes Pure Design Teen Magazine on a quarterly basis.