Honesty, trust, loyalty and authenticity. All qualities I expect in my close personal relationships and demand of myself. I would MUCH rather hear a difficult truth than an easy lie. And I really do mean it. Because no matter how hard the truth is to hear, and even when it hurts, I can deal with it. And this too shall pass and all that.
Yet when it comes to our (my) online persona it’s accepted human behavior to put forward our shiniest version of self. And I'm as guilty of this as the next person. In fact maybe I’m worse as I have become quite proficient at using photo shop to wipe out my wrinkles.
Anyhow, authenticity is something I pride myself on offline. But I’ve struggled with it as I’ve increased my online presence. To be fair, being true to myself here with my tiny readership doesn’t feel quite so scary. At least not compared to Facebook where I'm connected with over 500 of my nearest and dearest (ha). But brutal honesty here appears to be influencing me to spill over so to speak. Which is why I found myself announcing to Facebook that I’d had botox last week. And then spending hours worrying about whether it was an over share.
So why did I do it? The thing is, after lots of effort I looked my level best on my birthday night. But I don’t usually look like that. And I got to thinking that it’s not real to project this image of me without some context.
This is all true, but there’s something else I’ve come to realize too.
In Australia over the past few months, there have been two women in the health and wellness world that have been crucified for being inauthentic. One of them Jess Ainscough, passed away of cancer in February, but was an inspiration to me who I feel strongly is being judged far too harshly. I could rant about this all day, you can read an old blog post here if you want to know about that. The other, Belle Gipson was a pathological liar and has sadly muddied the water for the rest of us wannabe wellness gurus with claims of her diet aiding recovery from a brain cancer which she never had.
Thinking through my brand as a health coach, given my belief system it was a no brainer that authenticity is foundational for me. But, I think I’ve gone further than I ever expected to in the online space to ensure I can never be accused of the opposite. Is it possible that in my attempts to preemptively defend I’ve gone too far? Am I in fact worrying about the haters a tad too much?
After much deliberation the answer for me is no. I am uniquely me (just like you are). You can take me or leave me but you will always know what you are taking or leaving. I am not afraid to show my full self and I am going to keep on doing just that. I won’t hide, I will keep being a long way from perfect. There is nothing to fear.
There are two lessons here.
Worrying about what other people think is a waste of energy – because you’re not for everyone, you never will be. But we all do it. And I'd rather worry that I've been too real than too fake :)
Its important to keep on checking in with yourself. Asking the hard questions. Making the tough decisions. With it, confidence in yourself has a chance to grow. And that's good stuff.