The truth set me free – and made me smile

Once upon a time I was a super-insecure girl. To compensate, I strove for perfection in every facet of my life; and when I couldn’t make myself be 1000% perfect, I pretended like everything was completely perfect. It was an exhausting, painful, terrifying way to live.

Fast forward 30+ years. Unable to keep up the facade of perfection, I cracked under the overwhelming pressure. The meltdown was not pretty, but it was necessary – and I worked my a** off to come out the other side healthier (mentally, physically, emotionally, socially, spiritually, etc.).

One of the biggest things I had to become willing to do was to get fully, completely honest in my life – which is frightening. What if I tell people what is true for me, and they don’t like me because of it? What if I share my real thoughts or opinions, and other people think I’m stupid as a result? What if I believe in ‘unpopular’ ideas, and people ostracize me for them? What if, what if, what if… The fact is, experience showed me that not speaking my truth, not voicing my thoughts, not expressing my beliefs had the power to almost kill me; so what did I really have to lose by living honestly?

So I slowly started showing people the real me – the insecure, fallible, imperfect, clumsy, confused, honest me. To my surprise, I found that people actually appreciated this authentically-flawed me a lot more than the fake-perfect me. Wow. I never would have guessed that surprising turn of events!

While I’d like to say I’m completely ‘cured’ from my perfectionistic tendencies, the truth is that I still feel twinges of nervousness each time I speak honestly about what I’m thinking, feeling, experiencing… However, I work to simply acknowledge the discomfort, and proceed to give voice to whatever authentic element has come to the surface and is asking to be expressed.

This blog is one forum in which I get to practice precisely that: sharing what is real for me, with anyone who wants to read it. While I didn’t know any of that at the time I started this blog, hindsight has shown me as much. This morning, I got to be reminded of the positive power of speaking my personal truth – and it totally made me smile.

[Now, after that long-but-relevant-and-necessary introduction, here’s the smile story for today.]  😉

About this time last year I heard a Christmas song whose lyrics made absolutely no sense to me. My misinterpretation of the verse was ridiculous, yet I saw the humor in my completely messed-up comprehension – so I blogged about it. Cool, fine, whatever. I needed to share a smile for that day, and I’m not above laughing at myself, so voila – blog post for 12/6/10 completed.

I didn’t give the post much though after I pressed the “Publish” button – yet over the past year, a variety of complete strangers have connected with that post, and have sent me notes thanking me for my courage to share an ’embarrassing’ situation so openly and honestly. They have said they completely relate to my experience, and they smiled empathetically as they read my little story.

It’s through this experience (and many others) that I realized (and continue to be reminded) that while ‘perfect’ may look good on paper, it’s actually a cold and lonely place to live. Machines might be able to live for a period of time in a ‘perfect’ state, but real people are wonderfully, beautifully flawed. So of course any human who tries to live in the domain of machines (i.e., in a space of perfection) will feel angry and isolated – it’s no mistake that prisons are made of cold metal and hard steel. Living among humans (with all of their [our] mistakes and flaws) can be annoying – but it can also be a cozy, happy space as well.

So, why bring up all of this today? This morning one kind man left a comment on that 12/6/10 blog post, letting me know that he heard the robot song this morning, and he couldn’t decipher the lyrics, so he popped online and did a quick Google search – and my “Chocolate Santa” blog post came up as the first result on his computer. To think that my humble little blog post rises to the top of any search – wow!  I got kind of excited.  🙂  For me, this knowledge is one small-yet-relevant affirmation that honesty really is the best choice – and some days, it’s also the most popular one, too. 🙂

Stef

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About Stef

A "serious" gal who is trying to remember to lighten up and smile.
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8 Responses to The truth set me free – and made me smile

  1. that makes me smile, to know that post you wrote twelve months ago is still reach out and touching someone’s life. I most enjoy people who are themselves and who are open and honest. keep making us smile kiddo.

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    • Stef says:

      Joss, I also think it’s cool how items we create and share can continue to reach out and impact others far and wide – and so often it happens even without our awareness! It can be a little nerve-wracking, too; but that just inspires me to try and live the best way I know how. I want my lasting words and sentiments to be peaceful and unifying, not hurtful or divisive!

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  2. Touch2Touch says:

    Perfection is exasperating, not lovable. How come we buy in so readily to the need to be perfect? And it’s so hard to get free even after we’ve seen through it? A mystery!
    Good honest post, Stef.

    (Too bad they’ve hidden the video of the commercial from which you got your chocolate Santa Claus. But I relate to the mis-hearing aspect. I can mis-hear anything, and even mis-see things, or mis-read them.)

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    • Stef says:

      I’m beginning to learn that ‘perfection’ is more of a “Western” trait than it is a global one – which is interesting…

      Thank you for your kind and encouraging comments; I appreciate them.

      Bummer that the original link is now blocked! Here’s another one I found. It’s a lot longer than the commercial was – but just watch the first 45-60 seconds or so, and you should get the joke. 🙂 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxSZpZjoUXQ

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  3. carlaat says:

    Have you read Brene Brown’s book, I Thought it Was Just Me? I loved this for talking about how we can help ourselves and others be “the real thing”, without worry or shame. Love the part about people appreciating the “authentically-flawed” you, more than “fake-perfect” you. Love the post! 🙂

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    • Stef says:

      I haven’t read the book – but the concept resonates with me. (Clearly.) I think the world would be so much better (and happier!) if people became willing to show their true selves – flaws, insecurities, and all. It seems counter-intuitive, but this is what my personal experience has showed me….

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  4. Omg Stef! Where to start? What an amazing post.

    Thank you for being so open & honest.

    Your candidness is much appreciated. 🙂

    Like

    • Stef says:

      Jonathan, thank you so much for your very kind comments – and for reading and sharing in the journey with me.

      As for being candid and honest: it’s my pleasure. 🙂

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