The last time someone took a photo of me I instantly retorted, "You better put a filter on that!" Half joking, of course. Or maybe 39 percent joking. I know I glow a little more with an "Mayfair" Instagram filter on top. In the dawn of social media cray-crayness, it's easy to get caught up believing that everyone is leading a (quite literally) picture perfect life. You Instagram your candlelit, champagne-ladden picnic on your beach but your tearstained fight with your man? Not so much. We Facebook, we Tweet, we blog (ahem..), but why? We crave connection and we crave authenticity.
In a world hungry for the real, our true currency is vulnerability. And until we are willing to show our "underbellies," to reveal our insecurities, our hopes, our doubts, our dreams, we will stay stuck in this culture of "filtering" all of the uncomfortable stuff out.
I grew up in a house with ultra-positive, supportive parents, but we were very uncomfortable with rocking the boat. Conflict was not encouraged, and in fact, if my brother and I got in an argument we were both grounded until we decided to just leave it be. I remember looking through my diary as a middle schooler and tearing out the pages that were marked up with the signs of a bad day. (That meant a whole lot of torn out pages at that point.) Insecurities, worries, mistakes - I simply ripped those pages out, balled them up, and tossed them in the trash.
And now I look at my life and the beautiful array of characters and personalities that make up my "family." Many outspoken and fiery. Some super creative and go-with-the-flow types. A few a mix of both. And thank God for that. I learn so much from every conversation, every interaction, every misunderstanding. And I've found a way to sit with the uncomfortable and rather than resist it, move toward it.
By allowing yourself to be truly seen, you open to truly seeing others. Not the idealized, filtered person you've imagined them to be. But who they truly are. The beautiful, the sometimes messy, the raw, the divine.
I beg you. Take the filter off.
“…feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away. They’re like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we’re stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it’s with us wherever we are.” ― Pema Chödrön