“Oh, f@&k, w@nk, bugger sh%tting, arsehead and hole!” is the line from the movie ‘Love Actually’. The sleazy guy played by Bill Nighy vomits it out unconsciously while trying not to swear. In one sense, that’s the kind of person I’d aspire to be. I wish words just flew straight out my mouth from my cranium. I do it intuitively – filter myself that is. It’s tiring being on the ball all the time, having to watch what comes out of my mouth. For one crowd I’d be lucky to say the word “crap”, then for others, I’d be speaking just like that sleazy character in that movie.
It’s not just about the use of crass and unsavoury words that makes me feel that I’m not being genuine or that I’m not living my authentic life. I say things that I don’t believe and believe things I don’t say.
Most people can agree that a white lie comes in handy when searching for a compliment about someone’s weight or commenting on the face of a friend’s newborn baby. But what if instead, we practised radical honesty? I mean yes, there is offense in honesty, but at least a spade would be a spade.
In a world of radical honesty, people would probably trust each other a lot more as they would know that if you said it, you meant it and you weren’t giving some sugar-coated version of the truth. Some cultures seem to be more abrupt and unfiltered than others. In some corners of multicultural Australia, they make allowances for such apparent rudeness. What if we did tell that person that we weren’t sure if we liked their new haircut. Or better yet, that we don’t like their new haircut and that they should definitely not repeat the same instructions to their hairdresser next time.
I’m tired of giving excuses in order to keep people on side and my image intact. I have excuses ready on hand for most situations. This could be anything from blaming my husband to blaming tiredness, to blaming my financial situation, and so on. When really the true answer is, “No, I don’t want to do that.” I need to learn to speak my mind and tell it like it is.
But it goes beyond just speaking your mind. I mean if we want rich and fulfilling relationships, we need to admit to one another that none of us is perfect, and that includes ourselves. Once we admit we aren’t perfect, then we can throw off our masks by acknowledging it in the way we present and represent ourselves to each other.
I don’t really want to be the sleazy character off that rom-com. I don’t have to go to the extreme of saying everything that pops into my head. Or spare no hurt in the search for truth. If I’m going to spare anything, I’ll spare some thought for others, while being myself.
If we want to get to the core of it, it’s about being authentic to yourself and that means being honest with yourself. I don’t even know who I am a lot of the time, as I am too busy people-pleasing to have a real hard look at myself and trust in what I know to be true, or what I want or need. If I regarded my own opinion as gospel, just as much as I regard the Gospel as gospel, then maybe I’d start getting somewhere. I want to be me, whoever that is, not a version of me that I find acceptable to whatever group or individual I’m around at the time. Sure, there will be mistakes and lessons along the way, but I think there is a beauty to that too.
I’m ready to be the real me. I’m ready to see who I am. Because I’m sick of being someone else. For me, my words are the starting point for a more authentic life.
Elizabeth is a Mum to Grace, step-mum to Will, wife to Ricky. She is very changeable. Sometimes she'll identify herself as a social worker, other times as a writer or even as a Christian. She loves her town of Dubbo, New South Wales. Elizabeth studied a Bachelor of Social Work at Charles Sturt University.