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ost of the time when we hear the word “disconnection,” we think of our computers losing WiFi connection or a phone call with a friend being dropped. We get frustrated when the conduit that is supposed to segue from point A to B and vice versa is compromised and, as a result, our activities are jeopardized, even if only for a few moments. But when was the last time we thought about a potential rift being much closer to home—the disconnect of the self?

We have all experienced it at some point: the feeling that we are acting as a slightly altered version of our real selves for the sake of appearing “better” than how we actually feel at the time. It can happen anywhere: whilst meeting new people, having a one-on‑one conversation, or even talking amongst a familiar group, be it peers or professionals. Of course, everyone is different when they are by themselves, and we possess the right to have that personal time with our own thoughts. There is no call to react to what someone else has said or the need to contribute our opinion to a conversation. It is a refreshing break. Many times, however, who we are on the outside, or what we portray to the world, isn’t always who we are on the inside. Because of this obvious contradiction, it begs the question: Is this a bad thing? Like most answers dealing with questions of the self, we might say “it depends.” But on what? Instead of allowing that vague phrase to pass as a satisfying response, we should explore our options of what, how, and why. Growing up, we are always taught to “stay true to ourselves.” However, even the calmest, most positive person in the world has their off-days, those woke-up-on-the-wrong-side‑of‑the‑bed days, those days where everything is just annoying. We are also taught that “that’s life; bad things have to happen; it’s all a part of being human.” With that being said—with the recognition of the duality and unpredictability

of our lives—we accept the inevitable truth that we just aren’t going to feel “A-OK” (like the badass we know we are) every day. These concepts serve to illuminate what we know about ourselves and potential inner conflicts, therefore providing a good platform to explore possible solutions. What are our choices when deciding what is the most appropriate way to present ourselves when we aren’t feeling our best? There is a thin line between being fake (an undesirable option with a highly negative connotation that is unhealthy to our self-image) and being adaptable (an intelligent option and highly valuable skill that encourages strength and peace of mind). Being fake completely throws our identity out the window in order to act in a way that is untrue to who we really are. If we feel insecure, energy is better spent working on those issues than to project a warped character to our environment.1 For example, one can do this through self-reflection by writing or having an evaluative conversation with a close friend. Not only is being fake dishonest and selfish, but it is also stifling our inner voice—a voice that was made to expand and breathe in fresh life every day. Choosing to be adaptable in whatever situation life throws at you is truly one of the most mature decisions you can make as an adult—a choice to welcome gladly with open arms. Making the best of the situation in front of us while still staying genuine to who we are is a sign of humility and elevated self-awareness. It takes courage to identify and accept our authentic selves. There is a beautiful release in letting go of the desire for things to always go our way. Maintaining the balance between the wonderful iconic phrases “keeping it real” and “going with the flow” is key to a wonderfully honest, fulfilling life. Let’s celebrate who we are in this moment—we deserve it. +

1 R.F. BAUMEISTER AND B.J. BUSHMAN, SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY AND HUMAN NATURE, 3RD EDITION (WADSWORTH PUBLISHERS, 2014).

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Positive Negative Magazine Volume 9  

Positive/Negative Magazine is the result of a powerful collaboration between senior graphic designers and photographers in the College of Im...

Positive Negative Magazine Volume 9  

Positive/Negative Magazine is the result of a powerful collaboration between senior graphic designers and photographers in the College of Im...

Profile for posnegmag