"You seem real." I keep hearing this. It begs the question, "What is real anymore?" Are most people fake? Inauthentic? Do most people not believe in just being themselves? Or maybe they are questioning if I'm a real-life Pinocchio. Who knows.
My whole life I've lived a pretty openly. It wasn't like it ever was a choice for me not to. To be honest, I've always had this fear that I was being excluded in some way from something. I'm not quite sure where this fear came from. But this fear has pushed me to be open, honest, and hospitable to everyone that I possibly could invite into my life. As some of you already may have guessed, I've been hurt by people who have taken advantage of that fact. The flip side, is I've hurt people by being that way in return.
As an over-thinker, I decided to make a list of what happens when you live life in an open and real way.
1. You constantly question what people think of you.
You are a people-pleaser in the sense that you want everyone to not only get along in life, but to enjoy it. You constantly find yourself trying to conform to the "best-case-scenario" person in the room. The hope is that people will look at the best case scenario and you'll measure up to that.
The problem with this, is that you constantly set yourself up to be compared to a "perfect person", which we know of course there is no such thing. Even though there's no such thing you set goals to be as close to that as possible, and the only way to measure this is by questioning what other people see you as. But just as everyone is different, so are their opinions. Opinions aren't facts; therefore, they should not be the basis of truth for your life.
2. You constantly question what you think of you.
It's sometimes as simple as changing 100 times before you find your outfit for the day. Other times, it looks like smelling every perfume/cologne in the store to make sure you don't give off the scent of immature (**cough, cough** abercrombie). No matter what you are constantly creating your image, changing it and trying to put together the best version of yourself.
Cons here include, belittling yourself. You compare yourself to other people. Scrolling through instagram to find your doppelgänger in hopes to either copy or be completely indifferent and unique, it eventually can cause you to feel defeated. No one else has the life story you have, so your history book will have different pictures. Your perspective is just that... it's YOUR perspective. So you have to be careful about trying to use the same generic filter as everyone else, or being "different" for the sake of just being "different."
3. You will post about everything on social media.
From the highlights to the lowlights it's out there as soon as it happens. Whether its the start of a new relationship, or talking about your depression. Everyone knows.
As a millennial, I'm quite aware of our desire for instant gratification. While I'm not saying it's bad to put stuff out on social media and be honest with people, the motives behind it can effect you more than the actual post. When you post something and then go back and check the post, re-reading the way you worded it, editing it, count the likes, constantly respond to the comments... you're in search for validation. Either validation that you're living life like everyone else and you're "normal" or validation that your life has some sort of importance or relevance in others. What better way to instantly find validation in a gratifying way?
4. You constantly struggle to find a balance between being impulsive and rational.
Spontaneity is something you'd be a pro at if you weren't focused on what other people thought about your idea. To rationally try and justify your impulsive urges you'll check your social (log of events) and see if enough time has elapsed so people don't find you irresponsible.
In these times instead of being afraid of what people think, this is a good time to see how your patience is doing. Being impulsive is completely fine and natural, but the balance for rationality shouldn't be based upon that unrealistic hope of being the 'exceptionally close to perfect' human being. You are human.
5. You'll call everyone friend.
Because you live life so openly, it can come with a false sense of security. As if everyone around you knows you're doing your best and are a good person so they'll help you. You'll give people open access to deep parts of your life. You'll share things that are intimate to you or your family, with people who are simply acquaintances. You live with the hope of being everyone you know's "best friend."
There are different levels of relationships. It's ok to only disclose personal things with personal people. Not everything about your life at every time is for everyone. This is very hard for an open person to settle with. Often we have a fear of people thinking we are distant, unapproachable, sporting an RBF, or simply mean people. This goes back to being over-focused on other peoples opinions. You can have lots of friends, but best friends are special. It takes time to get to this point. This is where you have to be willing to fight for patience. Meanwhile relationships will take time to build and solidify. Just because someone holds the door open for you doesn't mean they would take a bullet for you.
6. You have a hard time maintaining close relationships.
Because you share practically everything with everyone, you assume people will know your friendships will simply maintain themselves. Everyone knows everything because you constantly post things on social medias. People have an "in" to your life, so you are automatically close, right?
Frustratingly enough, people will get frustrated with your lack of response in texts and calls. Most open people often find their 'love language' is quality time (which unendorsed plug, you should totally read this book). It's hard to make time for quality time when your busy sharing time with everyone you know. Intimacy in relationships will feel lacking because you wont have special bonds or experiences one on one. It'll be showcased for the entire world to see. This is probably why TV shows like The Bachelor and The Bachelorette don't work out (guilty pleasure).
7. Time management is difficult for you.
Socially, you love to be doing things all the time. Your calendar outside of work looks like a kindergarteners version of algebra. You feel awful having to "rain check" with people, but will inevitably forget and double book nights with friends, and have to either merge your plans or cancel them all together because you are overwhelmed.
You don't take time for yourself to figure out how to best manage any social life. You'll say yes to too much and then try to figure out how to make it work, instead of realistically prioritizing what would best make use of your time. This can cause others to feel devalued. It can cause stress in relationships, and it can cause you to become exhausted or shut down.
8. You're constantly trying to do better.
Learning from life and it's experiences is important to you. The lessons you've learned, you try not to repeat. When you succeed at this goal, you feel a sense of doing "better" than average. You take personality quizs, and read self-help articles based on who you are. The idea of succeeding in life is driven by posting about these things and obtaining feedback to better yourself.
What is "better"? Yes, there are people who are broken and don't do well in a lot of ways in life, but the motivation behind openly being "better" than average can cause others once again to feel "less than". If we truly are other's minded, we have to keep a reality check. Remind ourselves that everyone's life timeline is different. It's perspective based. No one is truly "better" than anyone else. You can only be better than you were yesterday by living in such a way that you are open to loving people better than you did yesterday. To loving yourself more than you did yesterday. As a believer, ultimately I believe this starts with loving Jesus Christ... it also takes all the pressure off of you... you should try it.
9. Your biggest fear is not living life well.
When you look back at your timelines, old posts, pictures, and texts you judge how well you think you're doing in life. You grade yourself in a pass or fail way. You are your own worst critique.
10. You matter.
You don't have to find your validation from others, or from overthinking your life. Just know each day is an opportunity. It's not a pass or fail. Life is not an accumulative score of good days verses bad days. You just have live life as if it matters, to be prepared to serve others well with the gifts you've been given. You don't have to rate or judge yourself. Just be responsible. If you're responsible with relationships, with time, and your gifts, you'll be able to control how much you overthink. You simply won't have a reason to. There will also be accountability and you'll find yourself placing more value in the relationships you inquire. Life will still be full, you'll still be an open person, but you'll be able to find rest and settle into all that entails.