I had the pleasure of having the most honest and real conversation with a friend recently where we discussed being Authentic. I have to blog a bit of my thoughts before they escape my head! There’s an expiration date to these thoughts. lol
Sometimes it’s scary putting yourself out there and having the courage to just be you. However, in doing so you put out your Authentic self to others and it is then that you can build REAL, authentic relationships with those in your life. Personally I would rather have a handful of authentic friendships, than many surface ones. It took me awhile to learn though, that in order to build authentic friendships, I in fact had to be authentic and let my guard down.
Now, I may not be everyone’s cup-o-tea. Not everyone will appreciate my weird sense of humour, the fact that I get a kick out of Awkward hugging a complete stranger, or that I sometimes break out into spontaneous dance (which often looks a lot like a spasm of some sort). And guess what…that’s OK. I certainly don’t click with everyone I meet either. Not everyone that comes into your life has to be your best friend. Having said that, you can still build authentic relationships with those that are in your life. I guess one just has to be OK with the fact you may not be accepted by all.
I was also reminded how important this is in the world of photography. I need the subjects of my photographs to let their guard down with me and just be exactly who they are. Sometimes that means feeling vulnerable, and when there is a lens in your face, that can feel uncomfortable. I have no interest in photographing the surface, I want to photograph what’s inside; that amazing vibe and inner spirit each of us carry within. I have learned though, that in order to capture that, I need to give exactly what I want from them. So, it means letting that guard down and not worrying if I look foolish in the process.
I have also noticed in the world of photography that there is a lot of elitism as is true in many professions. It’s easy at times, to get trapped in envying others in your same field, but my path is not the same as theirs. It feels good when a photographer I admire puts value on my work, but I’m not taking pictures for them. I do what I do for those I photograph. I want to be different. I want to have a point of view that is uniquely my own. I want to put out there exactly who I am as a photographer so I attract those who appreciate and connect with it. I don’t believe you can get to that space if you don’t put your authentic self out there. Do you agree?
I have been told in the past by women who become friends of mine, that they misjudged me on first meeting. I come off at times as stuck up, or unapproachable (I’m more of an awkward small talker). I’m trying hard to change that, but I’m not quite sure how. It’s something I will have to continue to work on I guess.
There is this woman who I see at my daughter’s school everyday. She is confident and I can see where she would come across as intimidating. Today as she was saying hi to me, she fell off the curb as she walked and then she laughed at herself. That’s when I knew I liked her…the moment she fell off the curb and laughed it off.
As this is an area I struggle with, I would also like to encourage you as well to let your guard down along with me. Be authentically YOU. Challenge yourself to let the REAL in within your relationships and move away from the surface stuff. There are many women I have met that I enjoy hanging out with, but we never really move away from the surface stuff, so it’s difficult to build on a friendship if that’s the case. Sometimes that’s OK, as I’ve said in the past, I believe there is a purpose for every single person that comes into my life. Some are close friends, some are comic relief, some bring me peace…and yes, even the ones that have hurt me in the past are there for a reason. They teach me to cherish what I have, not to sweat the small stuff, and to value what’s important in life.
When you come to a point in your life where you need to lean on others for support, the surface stuff doesn’t matter. It’s all about your heart.
From my quirky, odd and awkward at times, but open heart to yours,
P.S. Thank you L. You have the soul of an artist. You are one of the most authentic women I have had the pleasure of meeting.