What's up with Real, anyway? The word keeps coming back to me and I am trying to get a grip on what it means.
It's confusing for me because it's tough to sort out what is Real and what is being civil and decent. I am proud of the fact that I learned early in life how to behave. I learned when to talk and when to be silent. I learned when laughter was appropriate and for what occasions tears were appropriate. I learned how to be respectful and aware of the feelings of others. I learned how one should appear in public and how to comport oneself in the privacy of one's own home. I learned that behavior is important no matter where you are.
I am proud that I am a dependable, hard working, conscientious employee. No slacker there. I am a responsible parent who did all those things you are supposed to do when raising children. I read nightly to them, I cuddled them, I listened to them, I disciplined them, I took them to the doctor and the dentist and all that stuff. I stay married to their dad. I have always been a person who attempted to be cheerful and kind in every encounter. I didn't always succeed but I gave it my finest effort.
All of these qualities make for a cordial, respectful, decent human being, right? But now I am listening to those who know these things and I am hearing: Be Real. Somehow and in some situations that seems to contradict civility? Question mark intended.
They are saying that masks happen when Real goes away. But aren't masks then necessary for the overall good of the community? Isn't it essential that you put a lid on some of what you are thinking and saying lest the community be damaged? And what about being a bitch? I have a couple of coworkers with whom it is very difficult to get along. One woman is cranky pretty much 24/7. One guy is so self centered and moody that I cringe when I see him coming my way. Both of these people might be Real but really? Really they are royal pains and I do not like working with them. I don't ever want to be like that.
Even in my home life, I want to be cordial and I want to be treated with civility. That does not mean there cannot be disagreements but it does mean that words are chosen carefully and consequences of words and actions are considered. I don't know. It is so confusing to me. I know how I was raised and it seems to have paid off in professional success and in abundant friendships. But something appears to be backfiring and I am being asked to consider making my own rules. I am being asked to be more Real. How do you be more Real?