Yes, please air your dirty laundry
I caught myself being fake.
Have you ever done that? I was in the middle of a conversation and realized I was pretending my life was so much better than it really was. Sure, there are a lot of great things going for me these days, but I was portraying that my life was near perfect. That is far from the truth.
Sometimes we dress our stories up the way we dress ourselves. Jeans that make our legs look longer. Shirts that fit us just right. Makeup that covers our flaws and make our eyelashes look longer. And the perfect shoes to pull it all together. No one needs to know what we really look like when we roll out of bed in the morning. And no one needs to know our real stories.
But that is such a lie. And most of us believe it.
What is Authenticity and Why Does it Matter?
Authenticity is being real with others. It’s being open and honest, not putting on a mask. Our God is a God of truth, so we should reflect God’s truth and an honest reality.
When we open ourselves up to people, we create a space for real bonds to take place. Being authentic with others gives them an opportunity to say “me too.” Sometimes it takes just one person being vulnerable for others to have the courage to start opening up and being real.
Being authentic with others gives them an opportunity to say “me too.”
You’d be surprised what people will tell you when you start opening yourself up and just being the real you. This is where true connection happens. Being real with others opens doors for grace, because when people can trust us enough to share their burdens, we have an opportunity to respond with care (Galatians 6:2).
How Much is Too Much?
In the South, we have a tendency to associate telling the truth with “airing our dirty laundry.” While this can be true to an extent, it is possible to be real without telling everything to everyone. The difference between being authentic and airing it all is in the details.
It’s OK to tell an acquaintance or someone you just met at church that you’re not really doing that great and could use some prayer. This gives them an opportunity to see that we are real people with real struggles. We can save the details of our problems for our closer friends and family who can walk with us through hard times (Proverbs 17:27).
Find Your People
We all have someone who’s closer to us than others, whether a best friend, a mentor, or a spouse. These are the people we already know and trust, and we have deeply rooted relationships with them. Those are your people — the ones you can, and should, truly open up to more than surface level.
When you are struggling with something, tell them. Trustworthy friends will offer more meaningful truth and grace than the stranger you met at the grocery store. Ask them for prayer, ask them for guidance. These are the people you know you can count on.
Share the exciting parts of your life, too! They want to celebrate with you. And make sure to ask how they are really doing. Celebrate the accomplishments in their life or bear their burdens and support them. Authenticity comes from being real with one another, so let’s start with our loved ones.
Looking for more trustworthy friends? Visit www.newspring.cc/groups and we’ll help you get connected.