A lot of people are talking about being authentic. Less people are talking about what it costs you to hide.
Oh my goodness. The call-to-action of "being yourself" is anywhere and everywhere. It's all over Instagram and Facebook. It's on marketing blogs and videos and Twitter.
Every day, we are bombarded with memes of text overlay on pictures of landscapes and people jumping over things. BE YOURSELF.
And it doesn't seem to be penetrating. People are still hiding out. People are still acting like they are the only ones who are imperfect. People still think their shit's a mess and no one can know because, #failure.
And buying into this mass dichotomy and being inauthentic about your current state of life is costing you, big time. It's costing you time, energy and money. You're spending countless dollars and minutes seeking the new and latest version of "what" will help you feel better about who you are. You're suffering in silence because your humanness showed up today and something happened. You're eating all the things because that restless discomfort of brokenness feels like a gnawing in your belly that resembles hunger, but nothing you eat makes it go away. You're working out all the time because a perfect body will certainly bring you hours of endless relief and it will stay that way, permanently. You're consuming television shows and movies hoping the escapism will last long enough to keep away the loneliness.
You're getting high because suspended reality beats the harshness of this moment. You're clicking online for clothes or bags and shoes you don't need or really even want but the idea of looking "just right" is seductive, and you pretend that just right is a real thing, even though everyone has such different opinions.
You're staying up late busying yourself with distractions, thinking if you can do, eat, watch, make, read, write one more thing, life will feel less uncomfortable.
And the avoidance of the discomfort coupled with the illusion that you're the only one feeling like this is costing you the time you have here on the planet. It's costing you real connection with people who feel just like you. It's costing you money you're spending on frivolous things that don't make you feel better. It's costing you sleep. It's costing you energy that you're putting into building your persona instead of your real self. It's costing you the sublime surrender of being an imperfect human being who shares imperfection in common with every other person walking around. It's costing you freedom of expression. It's costing you the possible impact you could have on another person's life. It's costing you credibility because people aren't stupid. They might be respectful but you aren't fooling anyone, really.
Inauthenticity may cost you some of none of these things. Most likely, it is costing you freedom, ease, connection and joy--the very things you're seeking each time you avoid or don't share what's really going on. Inauthenticity is costing you comfort and assurance that you're not the only one.
Authenticity may cost you some temporary losses, sure. When I expressed my honest feelings about how things were going down at a job I once had, it cost me that job. When I was honest with my family and some friends about my transgender identity, it cost me their presence and support. When I'm authentic about my needs in intimate relationships, romantic and platonic, it costs me numerous acquaintanceships but sorts out the keepers. Authenticity sometimes comes at a cost compared the relative safety of being invisible, silent or status quo. But inauthenticity is costing much, much more over the long term.
So, you can ask yourself, which is the cost I'm most willing to accept?