Being real? How do we define that: Honesty, Openness, Truth?
These are essential elements of having “real” relationships with each other. But I’ve noticed a recent online trend (and in sharing face-to-face) for many of us. In our quest to be “real,” we sometimes are quick to only share our weaknesses—as if these are the only things that define us.
However, any “real” person has weaknesses and strengths.
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It’s one thing to give our personal litany of faults (here are a few of mine):
- I don’t make my bed
- I often have food go to waste in my fridge
- I buy too many recipe books
- I have piles of stuff on my bedroom floor
- I get emotional when angry
- I forget things and get disorganized when I have too much going on
- I’ve rarely completed a homeschooling curriculum
…And on and on. But that is only half the picture of the “real” me.
I also have many strengths (as you do too!):
- I make time to talk with people
- I invite people into my home even if it isn’t tidy
- I have a good relationship with my kids
- I am creative
- I learn by reading
- I think about things deeply
Being Real is Giving a Whole Picture
What if, instead of simply highlighting or showcasing our weaknesses, we chose to give the full picture of how we (and of how others) see us? This is being true to ourselves (and to others).
How does this happen?
Well, perhaps we can take a lesson from how we interact with our kids. It certainly would be easy to tell our children all of the things that they’re doing wrong in school—all the areas of improvement, ways they could be better, etc. But we temper this, don’t we? We may feel free to share these things (obviously in a kind and loving way) but we also do our best to remind them of the other half—the wonderful ways they’re improving; all the beauty and good in their hearts.
What if we were that open and kind to ourselves—recognizing both the good and the bad as the complete picture of who we are? And then, what if we took that perception and presented it as our “real,” complete selves?
This kind of honesty takes loads of self-confidence because somehow society seems more comfortable when we simply degrade ourselves in the name of “being real.”
Being Real as a Christian
And, if we are Christians, presenting this full picture of ourselves (both the strengths and weaknesses) is essential in allowing for God’s glory to shine through us! How can we claim Bible verses such as “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” without then sharing all the good He accomplishes through us?
By presenting this balanced picture of ourselves, we can:
- acknowledge our strengths, and then use them to find solutions to our struggles (and that of those around us)
- confess our weaknesses, and then rely on Christ to help us grow and change for the better
- ask for help from others (including asking for prayer), and help others (and pray for them)
Only Both Sides Really show Real
When we show both sides of being real, we create an atmosphere where relationships are built. When we hide things (good or bad things) we manipulate the impression people get of us (and this can happen in a family as well as within the homeschool community), and we control the depth of life that we share with people.
Of course, when we determine to be real we don’t need to bare our souls to everyone. Healthy boundaries still need to be in place, and our friendships have various degrees of intimacy.
But the caution is there – don’t hide what you are. Be real; show the good and the bad, the strong and the weak. Our homeschooling… our friendships…our families… all of these can only be enriched when we live authentically.
Originally posted at Vibrant Homeschooling – a community of everyday mums—women just like you!—from all over the world sharing the quiet triumphs (and everyday challenges) of this glorious homeschooling adventure. Through online classes, blog posts and other resources, Alicia wants to help you discover (and love) your imperfectly perfect homeschooling journey.
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