The world is full of brave faces. People showing a strong front while internally their world is crumbling, or has already crumbled. Some let in a select few to witness the destruction first hand while they serve a dual purpose of being a shoulder to lean on. Others are too ashamed to admit to such weakness and block everyone out instead, often aggressively so. Despite these differences, both tend to be focused on how they’re perceived in those trying times rather than how they feel, or more importantly, why they feel the way they do.

The embrace that most offer in times of trouble often uplifts the spirit and not much more. That small blessing is great, but only if it’s accompanied by a jolt that prompts us into action. The jolt can be our own realization and courage to be decisive about changing our state, or it could be a needed kick up the butt from someone that we trust. Either way, that jolt is needed. In the absence of that jolt we are left with nothing more than a group pacification of our weakened state where we are often convinced by such gestures that just trudging along is worthy of celebration.

Perhaps, for a short while until the shock and awe subsides, just being able to maintain a semblance of composure is commendable. But it reminds me of something I read once about runners. The level of fitness of a runner is not determined by how far or fast they can run, but instead it is measured by how quickly they can restore their bodies to a state of rest at the end of their run. In other words, how quickly can I stop heaving to catch my breath after the intensity of the exertion has subsided. I think this has relevance in this case as well. The time it takes for us to recover from the shock and awe of life’s less pleasant moments is a reflection of our spiritual resilience in the face of reality.

I digress…again. The fakeness in us becomes most prominent when we become so focused on how we’re perceived, that we lose our way on that path of self actualization because we gauge the measure of our success on how others celebrate our progress. If we consider that the majority of those around us celebrate mediocrity and conformance without even realising that a world exists above such a dreary standard, that gauge of success effectively prompts us towards complacency the moment we believe that we’ve arrived, relative to those low standards.

The fake are the ones that draw you close in a moment of weakness, then push you away when they don’t want to be reminded of that same weakness. They’re the ones that embrace when times are tough, but are aloof when the figment of success enters their minds. They live outwardly what they desire inwardly, but they live inwardly what they hide outwardly.

As obvious as that may seem, most don’t get it. Especially not the fake. It’s easy to miss such important but simple details when the focus of your life is on the perceptions of others. We become prisoners of society despite actively subscribing to such incarceration, yet we complain bitterly when that same society is relentless in its demands for more from us. Conformity to societal whims is a never-ending cycle of trying to appease an insatiable appetite for affirmation. The irony is that those that are fake, desire what they would otherwise receive if only they chose to be authentic. Authenticity begets sincerity, and I’d rather have a single sincere friend than a stadium full of insincere fanatics.

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