Keeping it Real…Especially With Yourself!

Life is too crazy and short to keep up with the all different “Tracies” everyone expected me to be, so I chose the Traci I would be a long time ago – and she’s not good at pretending.

I recently had a friend to tell me that she admired my transparency. The statement caught me off guard. I never thought of myself as being transparent. I even Googled “what it means to be transparent” just to make sure what I thought it meant was what it actually meant. It did.

I realize that being transparent has been a survival mechanism that has allowed me to connect with others. It helps me keep order in my classroom and when I lead a project. It helps me keep a sincere smile on my face, even when I know that every smile reflected back may not be as sincere.

You don’t have to be two or three different people to be successful. God created you with perfect intent. The way you are is NOT a mistake. You don’t have to pretend to be someone you are not. Keep it real, especially with yourself.

I have had friends that were one way with me and someone completely different with others. I never understood how they could keep up with their different lives. One friend told me that she felt she had to be that way to get to the level she wanted to be in her career. She did get to that level, but unfortunately, her family and home life suffered.

When you keep it real, you don’t have to remember how you are supposed to act, because you are NOT acting. You don’t have to keep up with who you are supposed to like and who you are supposed to avoid, because you love everyone who comes on your path. When you keep it real with yourself, you don’t have to build walls to keep certain people from getting too close. You can love them, yet still, press forward with God’s calling on your life.

God wants us to love everyone, but he doesn’t say you have to love being with everyone or even be “friends” with everyone. Don’t pretend to like things you don’t. Be honest with yourself and stand up for what you believe in.

Sometimes, to keep it real, you have to let it go! There is a perfect example of this in Genesis 13:8-9:

8 So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herders and mine, for we are close relatives. 9 Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.” (NIV)

I admire Abram’s (later Abraham) courage to let Lot, his nephew, go his separate way. He didn’t pretend to want to hold on to someone that obviously wanted something else in life. There is no doubt in my mind that Abram loved his nephew. But there was no time for compromise on his part.

Don’t compromise who you are by pretending to be content in a ruinous situation.

What might stand in our way of being true to ourselves is the need to be accepted and liked. Don’t confuse acceptance with respect. They are not the same. Acceptance is conditional, and it may come and go. Respect is more absolute and is harder to take away – especially from your own grips. I prefer and I choose respect.

After teaching for 21 years, I can share the secret of exceptional classroom management. It’s has nothing to do with rules, because – believe it or not – some children actually thrive on breaking the rules! It’s not procedures, because you will always have someone to “forget” the proper procedures. After all, they are the “one exception”. If you want to get dozens of children to stay in line and keep order, you have to…KEEP IT REAL! Be yourself and go from there. Children, and adults, can see straight through anything else.

Little POW-wow, Pearls of Wisdom

· We all have different roles to play (mom, daughter, friend, boss, employee), but that doesn’t mean we have to change characters to fit those roles. How can you simplify your roles to fit the single character God created you to be?

· If you are having difficulties figuring out who you are, look up who God says you are, and start from there. Write them down. How can you merge the person in the mirror with the person God says you are?

Tune My Heart…

One of my favorite movie musical films is “The Greatest Showman”, released in 2017. The musical is the inspired story of P.T. Barnum and the Barnum’s American Museum (the Barnum of the Barnum and Bailey Circus).

All of the music from the movie is brilliant. “This is Me” stands out to be exceptional because of its message to keep it real and be yourself. Enjoy!

Traci D. Fuller, Pearls and Pretty Pens © 2020

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