I’m a coach… I have worked really hard to be an authentic and genuine communicator. I pride myself on being able to be fully present with my clients. It takes all my energy to hold space for them to do the work they need to do. I’m real, I’m honest… but to be really honest… I’m honestly fake.
Professionally it’s not that hard to be the man I want to be, full of integrity, presence, and authenticity. I want you to feel like what you see is what you get. For the most part, that’s true.
Well… that’s not as easy to do in my personal life. When I get home and the door closes all the insecurities come crawling out, my fears, my assessments. How much longer before everyone sees I’m not really secure, not really confident? I have led a double life in the past. I spent years living with shame and guilt. I’m well past that now yet I still carry the fear that I’m not enough. The idea that I can just be open about what I want, what I need and be comfortable within my own skin seems so foreign.
I’m trying, I really am. There are parts of me that are seeping out and so far I haven’t felt the judgment of my peers that I was certain was coming. It’s probably because they haven’t seen the really juicy stuff, the secret stuff, the stuff that has to be hidden. Okay I know that’s coach bait, I’m not quite that salacious (or am I?)
What it makes me wonder is what are we all keeping hidden because of our fear of judgment? I’ll give you an example. I hardly ever see anyone smoking cigarettes during the day downtown, yet I see so many people smoking in their cars. Smoking has been a social taboo for a long time now and I’m sure a lot of smokers hide their habit as much as they can. Is it because they are ashamed to be addicted to a terrible drug? or is it because of the social pressure and judgment that comes from being a smoker? I smoked for many years and I can tell you from my experience the judgment from others was way worse than a nagging cough and lack of lung capacity.
Would it be easier for smokers to quit if instead of judging them we accepted them and offered support to help them quit when they were ready?
Another example that comes to mind is the recent transgender bathroom controversy in the USA. The amount of judgment and anger that has poured out over an issue that is already very personal and difficult makes me cringe. I think about all the young kids who are just realizing that they don’t feel right in their own bodies. They see this judgment and they withdraw, too afraid to be who they are. Shame creeps in and it could be years before they have the strength to be themselves.
I’m not a religious guy but the phrase “He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone.” seems fitting here. How is it that we are all too afraid to be our true selves in the world? We feel our shame, guilt, and fear, yet instead of supporting, caring and encouraging those around us we judge, condemn and hate?
I’m not building to some grand statement that wraps this problem up. Honestly, I’m just admitting coming to terms with the fact that I am not as honest as I think I am, as I pretend to be. I’m honestly fake…