Keeping It Real…
Friends who are honest with each other, even if the truth hurts, are the ones we want to surround ourselves with IF, AND ONLY IF, it’s honesty we are seeking in all areas of our lives.
A little over one year ago today is when I started out on a journey to change everything about the way that I was living my own life. Up until then, I was a walking example of sporadic “inauthenticity” with good intentions. A pile of good intentions buried deep in the soul of a man so wanting his inner and his outer life to match. But it didn’t.
Why do people live out of balance? Why do people live inauthentic lives? Why are people dishonest with people around them, or with themselves? I can only share my perspective and thoughts about this.
Since I left home to enter college at the University of Arkansas in 1992 I had lived what appeared to be a pretty normal life. I had not broken laws. I had excelled at both sports and academics. But yet still, I was not being honest with those around me, and especially myself.
So let me start here. As a young teen and even into high school I had the feeling that certain issues, whether it be societally, politically, or socially …due to peer pressure, environment, conditioning, and probably a ton of reasons, played a role in my not feeling it was “okay” to be honest about how I felt.
This could mean people in high school I knew were gay, and they themselves were so fearful of coming out, how could I support them as the insecure inauthentic young man I was.
As a little boy I saw the planet as Gandhi describes in his epic statement (insert link to Gandhi one world speech) as really one world. I would wonder how tribes in the jungles of South America were somehow “wrong” about not believing Jesus as the living incarnate of God, for example. This blog isn’t about that debate; I’m just making a tiny point of things I kept inside, afraid to talk about.
This was the beginning of living dishonestly. Most people think that being dishonest is just being evasive, or outright lying to a friend or family member. And YES, of course that is the extreme example, but the more common thing that has as pronounced effects on keeping us out of balance is being dishonest with ourselves. Thus KNOW THYSELF is and always will be my only religion.
Now, the next phase of my life was where I started to explore in the college years and live out the rock n roll fantasy so to speak. This is a period where you have to lose the friends who aren’t in that group or relate to your hippy and free spirited lifestyle, but you gain a new tribe of friends at the same time.
I still wasn’t living honestly about everything. I was honest about loving this new freedom I felt. I was finding it was okay to be liberal. I have friends of very mixed backgrounds both religious, sexual orientation, and skin color. This was a big leap from the rural area I grew up in at the time (although it’s now shifted a lot due to many new cultures coming in that area for work) But again, in a very soft way I was not being totally honest about who I was and that was largely due to me just beginning the journey to understand this out. Man, this journey would be a long one….
The next phase had tremendous inauthenticity. I was Chairman of some successful festivals while running a business of my own, I had done some great work for some great people, but lacked complete honesty and acceptance of what things were fueling some occasional step backs.
My last relationship lasted over ten years, was married seven, and both of us were living at times very inauthentically. I don’t know what came first there, the chicken or the egg, but it certainly played a big part in the disconnect long ago. Any aspect of ourselves that we know exists, or even deny exists but is there, uses the cunning nature of dishonesty to fuel our pride and ego to keep us very out of balance.
I tried so hard starting in 2008 or so to be in balance. I read every New Age, Self Help, Spiritually Guided book I could get my hands on (including Bible study from the esoteric angle) I began daily meditation practice that would last for weeks, sometimes months. Completed half marathons and would work hard at whatever I could connect to passionately, BUT I still was not living honestly. Not in every facet. Not on what I’m about to touch on.
Early in 2011 I began to chart out the way that I wanted to spend the rest of my life. The final 3 years of that marriage where we attempted to see if it would survive, by moving to East Texas, was the most inauthentic period of probably both our lives. Starting in April 2011 the phase out of leaving had begun has we had been hanging on as friends for the wrong reasons for a long time.
So as the months led up to Thanksgiving and the pain and self-destructive nature of that isolated period is intense. One day, perhaps I’ll share more of the guts of my life story but at this point things were heading towards Divine Providence.
After Thanksgiving, and the realization that my life was ready to change forever, and that meant “letting go” of a relationship holding us both back… the period of honesty, and authentic living took root.
For the first time in my entire life, the scared little boy who was afraid to say things others might not agree with, the searching college guy who was living a life not approved by some which led to secrecy, and the cycles of self destruction that came with extreme guilt, pain, and emptiness.
I could share more on this too, but more appropriate in another project, but you can see the patterns of being inauthentic, or dishonest with ourselves are hard to break and manifest in a variety of ways from youth to adulthood.
Now we get into the window of my life where EVERYTHING has been authentic. I decided, and when I mean I decided I MADE A DECISION in the core of my soul that I knew was not a guess, but a new direction my boat would be steered to forever.
So often the stories in these blogs overlap, but to touch on quickly the divorce on my side happened as authentically as it could. We both wanted it, and it was so long in the making, it took 17 days from filing till I was loaded up and out of Texas on my way to the very place Sunniva and I will land in 42 days.
I told my ex wife about Sunniva. I remember showing a picture to her of Gabi around this time last year.
Finally I was living by a code that was always instilled in me, though I had avoided and masked and numbed it. A code of honor. A code of commitment. A code of honesty and authenticity.
I did not turn on the television when I arrived at the place on the lake late Christmas Eve and I would not turn it back on again. One morning as I watched the sun come up I jotted down 6 things that I wanted to see what would happen if I lived by these to the best of my ability for one year.
Knowing, that powerful changes would occur on a physical, physiological, mental, and emotional level if I could do it for a year. That one-year mark is approaching quickly, and I’ve done one helluva job.
Cut toxic relationships. I was living so inauthentically and so unhappy in my previous relationship that I had side chatter with a variety of females to just fill a hole in me emotionally that was not getting anything from where I was. I also had friendships I had held onto that were not on the same path and even if we were the best of friends for most of the last decade I needed to cut cords to assure myself, or rather to make sure this new path, and I knew it would not be easy every day, would be an important part of it.
Turn off the TV I wrote, and just see how the subtle commercials, networks, and programming can affect ones mind. Remember I didn’t just set out to do these things, I’ve written, kept journals along the way to see by looking back just how powerful the changes have been.
Limit gossip and I think the most important thing for me and the toughest, but one I stuck to RIGIDLY was to go to the person I had a conflict with directly. The old Jared would laugh it off, yell in anger and then sweep it under the rug, or both parties pretend it didn’t happen. This is a big aspect of DISHONESTY. Man, has this been a tough thing to do. To call, text, direct message, or face to face a person you are upset with, or concerned of a pull back from you, or directly asking them about things said about you or your wife for example to clarify, or see if any resolutions could occur.
Again, this part of being honest for me was the hardest, but I think with one year under my belt with this “code” it’s been the most gratifying. The scenery of my relationships today is vastly different. But quality over quantity. Reality over illusion. These are things I decided I valued most and realized we will mirror what we are around so if you value these things, your scenery HAS TO CHANGE.
Honesty. My god, to close this piece out I get to share a snippet of my life with Sunniva. My best friend. My lover. My future business partner. My wife. The mother of my unborn child.
From the gates, I told her everything. As did she. We both knew in our core that if anything, we wanted honest and authentic lives together and both of us had been living lies in some capacity but for different reasons.
I used to have groups in Facebook where I would vent about my ex wife. I’m not saying this is unhealthy for some, I just am saying today that to have someone who I know I’ll never need to do that to is a good feeling. How do I know this? Because this PASSIONATE couple says everything on our mind.
We have yelled, screamed, cried, hugged, and worked through every obstacle in our way. Due to the circumstances of this one year we’ve been together almost every minute of the day, and I would wager a bet most couples don’t face this much in their first 10 years.
We walk into the darkest recesses of our mind, not to live there and wallow, but to not fear understanding it so that our light becomes stronger. This is a big misconception in my opinion of the New Age Movement today. Just an opinion. I think the same could be said in many religions. The hardest place to look, and take deep inventories is ourselves. Much easier to just pray to Jesus, Buddha for that matter, and think a magical solution will solve things by a literal salvation. Many will disagree with this point and that’s okay, I like to think that if you are on a spiritual path that values HONESTY, trust, courage, selflessness, compassion, sympathy, joy…. versus anger, resentments, fears, pity, envy…than whatever you call yourself, Christian, Jew, Muslim or atheist I care not. I want a planet that values HONESTY, trust, courage, selflessness, compassion, and sympathy because it’s these things that can unite us all and change not only ourselves, but also the world.
It is a great feeling to be honest to my mother, my friends that I trust enough to share and care. It’s a great feeling to know that my wife and I keep no secrets. Need no best friend on the side, although I value and think friendships are an important part of life…I am lucky in that I actually am married to the one I want and do share all things with.
This year has meant I have far fewer friendships, but the ones that I have, and do value the same things; we’ve gotten so incredibly close.
Yep. Friends, who are honest with each other, even when it hurts, are the ones you want around. The ones who’ll tell you to your eyes if they are offended, disappointed, proud, encouraged, etc. Not out of obligation, or self-seeking but because that’s what real friendships based on honesty are all about.
“If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.”