by Michelle Rawlings
In a recent class discussion, the topic of being authentic was brought up in regards to marriage and family therapy. Being honest with yourself and others helps us lead lives that are open and realistic. However this lead me to think of times when I may be less authentic. The truth is I think that there are times when being a little less authentic can help get you through hard times.
For example when your spouse deploys or is stationed overseas where you and your family can’t join them. The question everyone seems to ask is “how are you doing?” to which I often reply, “I’m good!” If I told every single person who ask this question how I was “really” feeling I would not be able to hold it together. Though I greatly appreciated the love and support from my family and friends, I feel that being less authentic sometimes allowed me to find inner strength, not only for myself but for our kids as well. Which brings me to a quote that I find myself repeating during stressful situations, “Fake it, till you make it.” If I just kept telling myself that I was ok, my family is ok, we will be together soon and this will be over, it helped. There is a sense of peace when we can reassure ourselves that this is temporary. In reality this is what we signed up for when we chose to love and support our spouses. They are serving our country and in turn it is part of our duty to be strong and supporting them.
Another reason I find myself being less authentic is because I never wanted anyone to feel sorry for me; I made the choice to be with someone in the military and I choose to stand by him. I am proud of my husband; I admire him for his strength and courage. I can’t imagine how he must have felt to be away from his family, to watch our little girl and newborn daughter grow and learn new things over a computer screen. It is because of his strength, that I found mine.
There is a time and place to be less authentic. It really depends on the situation and circumstance, and how you find strength during difficult times.