Part of “keeping it real,” in my book anyway, means to be true to yourself—right down to the very core of who you are. Oh, it’s easy to wish that we were someone other than ourselves; someone better looking, someone really cool, someone who is funny and smart and is confident in their own skin.
Well—it’s a rare person who is all those things. Each and everyone of us doubt ourselves at one time or another; we worry about how we present ourselves to the world. We tend to look at the hole in the doughnut, not the doughnut itself. We look in the mirror and shudder; we don’t always like what we see.
Yet, there are those around us who think that we are actually wonderful, beautiful, smart, funny, compassionate; you name it. At some point we need to stop “shoulding” on ourselves; you know how it goes: ‘oh, I should be doing this,’ ‘oh, I should have remembered that,’ ‘oh no, I should have done <insert whatever here>.’ We are what we are, and that is exactly who we are. The things about us that we dismiss may be the very attributes that others long for.
Then there is the whole thing about aging. I am still going through all the photo albums that my mother lovingly put together over the years. I find that I am in a lot of the photos, from babyhood to the present. I have looked at my teenage self, wondering why I ever thought that I was just average-looking; nothing special. Now I see that I was just fine as I was.
We do tend to be hard on ourselves, especially when we are young. As we grow older, our values and attitudes change and we realize that we actually were not horrible when we were young. But then we look at how we have aged, and worry ourselves about that, too. But if we can just remember that being young, making mistakes and learning from them, getting older and so on is just part of life itself.
“Keeping it real” is really just about accepting ourselves where we are. Plus it’s so much easier that trying to be who we think we should be. It’s just too tiring, and who needs it after all?