Are you the real deal? What does it take to be real? Do you have to know somebody? Where certain clothes? Hop on one foot and bark like a dog? Oh, please. Being real has nothing to do with the car you drive, the job you have, where you live. It has nothing to do with playing in the jungle, redecorating your neighbor’s house, or cooking a fancy meal in an hour.
Reality is what most of us call life. The grungy, down in the trenches battle of everyday. But most of us don’t realize our full potential. There are several things you can do to be real.
Don’t be afraid to get hurt. I’m not talking about a scraped knee or bruised ego. I’m talking big pain, the kind you feel in your heart. The pain that comes from losing what you thought you couldn’t live without. This pain will bring you to your knees, make you choke on your own sorrow and wish you really could crawl into a whiskey bottle and drown. It’s a risk. And without that risk, that danger, you will never know what you are made of. You also need that pain because it makes you open your eyes. If you’re smart (or lucky) you open your eyes and look into the mirror, and you ask yourself a question. That question may simply be, WTF? Or that question may be so significant that it rocks your very soul. You need to ask yourself the hard questions. Not being able to face the mirror and answer those questions is almost as unbearable a pain as losing the love of your life. Sometimes it’s worse. But you can not be afraid of it, or it will control you.
Being real means you have to be able to laugh. At yourself, at the world, at those who would hold you back just because they can. Laughter keeps your brain working, relieves stress. The sound itself attracts attention and more laughter. You can’t take yourself so seriously that you forget how to laugh. That’s how you make yourself sick.
Love is a part of being real that’s not easy. Love is not easy to get, not easy to keep, not easy to let go of. But it is what makes us unique. You need love to grow into an emotionally healthy adult. Without it, you’re nothing but an animal foraging for scraps. You have to be able to love yourself before you can love someone else, or before they can love you.
If you start putting all these pieces together, you get the next step, growth. You have to grow as a person to be real. If you don’t grow emotionally, you will never find true happiness. You have to look in that mirror to grow. You have to face your fears and insecurities and move past them. It’s not an easy thing to do. But the distance you travel once it’s done will show you how much you’ve grown.
Just like anything else you encounter in life, there is more than one way to accomplish becoming real. When something new presents itself, consider it from all angles. Look at every possible outcome and weigh the risks against the potential gain. But remember that there are many options. You owe it to yourself to explore all the possibilities. This may mean thinking outside the box. Don’t pass up an opportunity because of geography, finances, or family obligations. Life is too short to miss out on something or someone.
Lastly, whatever you decide to do in life, see it through. Don’t give up on something because it’s not convenient. I’m learning to look in the mirror and see a path, the path I’m supposed to take. Every time I look I get a little closer to my goals. Being honest with myself makes the picture much clearer.
So, are you real? Me, I am a work in progress. I will look into the mirror, I will push my limits, I will do my damnedest not to be afraid of what’s ahead of me. So when you come looking for me, remember, I’m the real deal. Accept no imitations.