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Shedding the Facade

Photo Credit: Creative Commons – Iceman_Forever

Today’s guest post comes courtesy of an online writing friend of mine, Eileen Knowles.

According to Eileen, she prefers “The Scenic Route” in life – which also happens to be the name of her fantastic blog.

Eileen loves to write,  run and consume copious amounts of coffee – just not all at the same time.

She is passionate about leaving a legacy for her son and encouraging others along the way who might need a dose of hope and grace poured into their weary lives.

Here’s her guest post:

Lately, my 8-year-old son has been learning a few of the hard truths about people and relationships. Here is one he learned a few months ago:

People often drift apart when their interests change.

Sometimes this is unavoidable and natural. We tend to spend our time with those we have the most in common. As we grow older, this still happens. Singles hang with singles, married folks hang with other married folks and couples with kids migrate towards other couples with kids.

It just happens.

Yet the other lesson my son is currently learning is one that is a little more painful to swallow:

Sometimes people will be one person in front of you and a completely different person in front of someone else.

My son has noticed this about one of the boys he has played with for years in our neighborhood. He will act one way in front of my son but as soon as a couple of other boys show up his personality changes.

I told my son that although this behavior is not right he will come across it again and again throughout his life.

Sadly, it’s unavoidable.

We can’t change how other people choose to behave.

My prayer for my son is that this lesson teaches him how not to act rather than influence him to react in the same manner.   I want my son to grow up comfortable in his own skin.

I want him to grow up confident with who he his is, regardless of the people who are around him at the moment.

I wish I could say that everyone eventually grows out of this chameleon behavior, but not all of us do. If we are honest, I think we’ve all done this at one time or another in our lives. It stems from a lack of confidence and a desire to impress.

When I was a child (and a portion of my adult life too), I struggled with this.  I was one those kids who could get along with a wide range of kids, but I didn’t seem to fit neatly into any group.

I was friendly with people who were popular, and I was friendly with those who were not. Yet sometimes there was a huge battle going on inside me whenever I was around my peers.

I had a hard time being myself.

I am ashamed to admit it now but I often worried about being ostracized if I spent too much time hanging with the “outcasts.”  I was okay with never being considered popular in school.  It didn’t bother me.

What I feared was getting too close to the opposite end of the spectrum.

Each time my son comes face-to-face with hard truths about people, it forces me to reexamine my own heart and my own actions.

How am I doing in this area today, Lord?

Am I the same person in one environment as I am in another?

What about you?

Do the people on Sunday morning know the same you who sits in a cubicle on Monday?

Do the people on Facebook or Twitter who read your witty tweets and polished status updates know the same you who sometimes loses her patience and lashes out in unloving ways?

I want to encourage you this week to do a heart check in this area. I want to encourage you to leave the chameleon behavior behind.

Shed the facade and just be you.  The world needs your colors.

Question: Which facades could be shed in your life?

You can follow Eileen on Twitter and Facebook:

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/cupojoegirl
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/eileen.knowles.9

  • InciteFaith

    What you see is what you get with me. I’ve never been a fan of facades because eventually the truth will be exposed whether you want it to be or not. I’d rather stand shameless in God’s grace and be authentic/transparent than be ashamed of exposure.

    Granted, I’m not perfect and a lot of my weaknesses are shown daily. I’m human. We all are. I’m learning in this season to embrace that. And it’s good being reminded by people that I am broken that I am human and it’s okay to be me.

    God created all of us in His image – every shameful and dark place. I’ve learned the more I’ve accepted that and walked in the light of His love, I don’t feel so bad in my own skin.

    • http://twitter.com/cupojoegirl Eileen Knowles

      Beautifully said, Julie. I agree. It’s been a journey for me too. And I also love hanging out with others who are not afraid to step out from behind that mask of having it all together.

  • http://twitter.com/amabaie David Leonhardt

    I totally disagree with the very premise of this article.

    “I told my son that although this behavior is not right he will come across it again and again throughout his life.”

    Why is this not right? I won’t behave the same way at a restaurant as I do at home; I would probably get kicked out. I have friends that are high-falutin’ and others that are blue collar. All solid people, but they call for different ways of acting. I have urban friends and rural friends. I have chummy buddies and business associates. I most certainly act differently depending on both the people and the circumstances.

    The only way in which this behavior would be “not right” is if such changes related to morality or to ethics – to a person’s core values.

    Being a chameleon is a strength, not a weakness. Recognizing people’s differences and adapting to them is a strength, not a weakness. Responding to different people’s comfort levels and expectations is a strength , not a weakness.

    Not everyone is blessed with the skills of being adaptable. Blessed are those who are.

    • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

      David, thanks so much for the comment and your valid perspective – I really appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts!

    • http://www.adjuvancy.com/wordpress Roy A. Ackerman, Ph.D., E.A.

      David:
      I am wholly in agreement with you, as well.
      As a matter of fact, this is what I have taught my children, as well.
      If we wish to converse and interact with a variety of people in a variety of situations, then we have to learn how to communicate. That’s not just words, but actions.
      However, that does not mean that we would say to one group of associates how “bad”,,how “good” another group is- and then recount the opposite to the second group.
      Because we all recognize that the “morality” espoused by certain folks in politics is nothing but immoral. Regardless of the religion they claim to espouse…

      • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

        Great thoughts guys – I think there is an important distinction being adaptable and flexible during our dealings with others versus being deceptive and fake.

        • http://twitter.com/cupojoegirl Eileen Knowles

          Thanks, Tor. I completely agree. Striving to get along with others and being flexible is a great goal. I really think it comes down to our motives and what is going on in our hearts.

      • http://twitter.com/cupojoegirl Eileen Knowles

        Thank you for your comment, Roy. I agree with this “However, that does not mean that we would say to one group of associates
        how “bad”,,how “good” another group is- and then recount the opposite
        to the second group.”

    • http://twitter.com/cupojoegirl Eileen Knowles

      David, thank you so much for reading and for your thoughts. What I am trying to teach my son is that it is not okay to be friends with one group of people and then completely change who you are when other people are around…giving your first group of friends the cold shoulder. It happens quite a bit in schools and with children. Unfortunately, many of us refuse to grow out of this behavior. We remain insecure and think we have to adapt and try to impress others.

  • http://twitter.com/cupojoegirl Eileen Knowles

    It’s an honor to be sharing here today. Thanks again for having me, Tor!

    • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

      Glad to have you Eileen – I’m a fan of your writing!

  • Carolina HeartStrings

    Thankful for the “real” people in my life. Sounds like you’re guiding your son well.

    • http://twitter.com/cupojoegirl Eileen Knowles

      Thankful for the real ones too, Carolina!

  • http://MikeLoomis.CO/ Mike Loomis

    Great post, Eileen! You described me for the first many years of life… and ten minutes ago! ;-) In high school I was friends with everyone – except myself. Thank God we’re learning how to love, and be ourselves.

    • http://twitter.com/cupojoegirl Eileen Knowles

      Oh, I can relate to this, Mike. Yes, love that He pursues us with His truth

  • http://www.danerickson.net/ Dan Erickson

    I’ve been struggling with some issues with my daughter. She seems to be putting on her own “tough” facade. I too, try to set the best example, but I cannot change her behavior as she has to make those choices on her own. Good post.

    • http://twitter.com/cupojoegirl Eileen Knowles

      Dan, I think that’s the hardest part of parenting…letting our kids mess up in order to learn. But, we do them a disservice if we don’t allow this.

  • http://chrisvonada.info/ chris vonada

    Authenticity… so important and difficult at times for us to just be ourselves. Your little boy is growing up quickly to learn this important life lesson at such a young age, Eileen. Thank you for sharing this inspiring post!!

    • http://twitter.com/cupojoegirl Eileen Knowles

      Thanks, Chris. Difficult, yet a good place to get to in life. It’s hard and exhausting work to constantly keep trying to conform to how you think others want you to behave.

  • http://www.tammyhelfrich.com/ Tammy Helfrich

    Such hard lessons to watch our kids go through. Thanks for the great reminders!

    • http://twitter.com/cupojoegirl Eileen Knowles

      Thanks, Tammy!

  • http://www.ramblingbarba.com Ken Hagerman

    Great stuff, Eileen. Thanks for hosting Tor. Sometimes OK have to shed that perfect Christian facade. In my line of work we feel pressure, usually from self, to be perfect Christian examples. Many times I am a perfect Christian example, of what not to do but that’s OK. Maybe my failings will point the way to an easier walk for someone else.

    • http://twitter.com/cupojoegirl Eileen Knowles

      Ha! Yes, I can relate to being the poster child of what NOT to do too. Thankful God does have a way of using our wrong choices and turns to help others on the road. Thanks, Ken.