On the Authenticity of Appearance and Avatar

Being your true self often requires you to conform to a role, similar to that of a play, and then take great effort to thespianize the REAL you… and it is exhausting!

Readership: All

Introduction

As you may have already noticed, I’ve decided to experiment with a new site appearance, using the Jack of diamonds and the Jack Sparrow character as the new avatar.

The reasons include the following, among others.

  • I feel this image fits my persona a little better.
  • I wanted an image that is more piercing, bold, energetic, and clean cut.
  • I believe this image might appeal to a wider audience of men, especially the younger men.
  • But really, it’s all about being authentic.

Some might scoff at a claim of authenticity from a blogger who won’t disclose his real name. However, this same boundary can increase authenticity, because it destroys socially constructed limitations of expression.

I know readers won’t necessarily believe my words because they are true, but because they are authentic. So then, the strength of authenticity comes down to what is being said, and its value to the reader.

But authenticity is not what you might think it is. Let me explain by describing how authenticity develops.

The Development of Authenticity

In our experience of coming of age, and in the beginning stages of coming to God, our mind is filled with Machiavellian images of an omnipotent God, the eternal glory of heaven, the austere horror of hell, the power of angels, the terror of demons, and a multitude of mysteries surrounding these metaphysical transcendent realities.

In parallel, we faced various truths apart from God, and we were greeted with confusion and frustration.

But then,

We are knowing God through His Word.
We realize how Jesus serves us.
We change our concept of what love is, among many other false mindsets.
We are facing various truths from God’s perspective.
We are knowing God’s mind through prayer.
We are knowing how to serve God and improve our station in life by doing His will.
We are knowing God’s heart through suffering.

Then, when the costs of opportunity, and the pains of suffering come, we know we are being real.

But when does God become authentic to us?

Is it in the beginning, when we observed an impressively fearsome and enigmatic God from a distance? Or later, when He is as familiar to us as our father, and we become a part of His legacy on earth?

Lion Kings Table

As we come closer to God, we resemble Him more closely, in form and character, including our appearance to those who do not know Him. Those who think God is all smoke and mirrors, may very well see us in the same manner. Unless, that is, we take the effort to extol Christ in our daily living. This very post is going over how to do this.

Thus, getting closer to God not only involves being authentic before God, but also before our fellow man. But because we originate from an earthly substance, the way in which we are authentic doesn’t always seem natural. Being your true self often requires you to conform to a role, similar to that of a play, and then take great effort to thespianize the real you. It often requires a transformation of thoughts, words, and image, into what would allow you to connect with others and inspire them – and not what would emanate from your relaxed, casual effort. It also fatigues the h@ll out of your Flesh (literally). It is exhausting, yet simultaneously invigorating.

“And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” ~ Galatians 5:24 (NKJV)

The Display of Authenticity

Exactly one year ago, I had a conversation under American Dad’s post, Out of your shell (November 21, 2017), which was delightfully insightful to readers at the time. This discussion is definitely worth reviewing, so I’ve coopted the substance of the topic as follows.


SF: I enjoy being a very solitary person, and being alone with my research projects, academic writings and philosophical thoughts. People can be so annoying and distracting. But at the same time, I work in a teaching profession, so it’s important for me to be upbeat, energetic, friendly, patient and inspiring. So, I have learned to fold up my inner world whenever I step into the classroom, and live a larger life as an actor while in front of my students. At these times, my inner being, which I normally keep to myself, shines through in my performance. It is thoroughly exhausting for me, but apparently quite effective, as gauged by my class performance reviews.

I don’t know if this advice is transferrable to others, but I believe introverted people would benefit immensely (as I have) from seeing social interaction as a forum for the exaggerated display of attitudes and sentiments, and to consider the emotional work involved to be play-acting in an authentic way, doing whatever is necessary for others to recognize one’s true heart.

This kind of psychological doubling-down, and emotionally played-up approach is also key to meeting women, and it’s a core aspect of improving one’s Game. Furthermore, I have learned that this is actually an expression of humility.

“Humble thyself in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” ~ James 4:10 (NKJV)

I know it’s true!

Scott: You have described almost exactly the process I use when teaching. I do the same thing when I am seeing a patient, or at a social event.

I just never put it to words like that. And yes, it takes all the fear out of meeting/interacting with women away.

It’s almost like the way some people drink alcohol to lower their inhibitions and be more social. I can just flip a switch to a different “mode” minus the drinking and the hangover.

Further. Yes it is humbling. It’s hard to explain but it’s like saying “it would be a shame for me to hide my ability to lead, to teach, to bring people together because I would rather just stay home and read. So, I won’t.”

Earl: I used to work in the media sector and I still do public speaking. Normally I’m introverted but once I’m into performance mode it’s like a light switch flipping on. If I compared what takes more out of me… a hard physical workout or doing a long ‘performance’ mode, it’s always been doing the performance.

“Humble thyself in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” I know it’s true!

Perhaps that’s the ‘light switch’.

SF: Bingo! Finding the ‘switch’ takes a while of trial and error, and it’s always emotionally taxing to ‘flip it on’. But it’s well worth it – a key to life itself!

Lost Patrol: I have seen that kind of thing before. I posit this has proven effective for you precisely because you are not an actor. You probably could not take on a different ‘role’ and be successful. Your act is to show the genuine you, which you normally safeguard, and you get good reviews because people like what they are hearing and seeing. They respond to the honesty. In your case the acting is not to put on the mask but to drop it.

When I was younger I would often develop an admiration for certain professional actors based on their performance in movies or shows. If I was later exposed, via a talk show or news article, to the actual personality of that individual, it usually resulted in a colossal let down; and I could never look at them the same way again. They were faking it.

SF: LP,

“Your act is to show the genuine you, which you normally safeguard… the acting is not to put on the mask but to drop it.”

Your distinction is exactly right.

“They respond to the honesty.”

Yes, and I would add two more descriptors – acceptance and sincerity.

Acceptance is what allows me to open my heart to begin with. I accept them first, as an act of faith, and then they are given the real choice to either accept me or reject me in return, depending on how the interaction plays out.

Honesty is saying things precisely as they are, and as it relates to people’s lives.

Sincerity is the attachment of emotion to honesty. It is what connects one person’s heart to another, and makes the moment indelibly memorable. Sincerity is what makes you either an iconic superstar, a revered sage, or an arrogant ass, depending on what you say and how it’s taken. Sincerity is the key.

Scott: LP agreed. When I am “on” in front of the class, I am simply unguarded. I always have a lot of fun with my students.

YS: I related to some of what you said. I also like being alone, and would often prefer it, truth be told. My profession demands that I not be, and my wife and kids have helped in that area too. It can be work, but I have appreciated many of the times I have forced myself to be social.

MacDonald the Old: A former pastor of mine was big on the idea that personality traits shouldn’t be assumed to be “good” just because they’re “who I am.” It’s a bit of a “red pill” moment in itself to realize that the “be true to your heart” mantra has conditioned us to never look at our own personal tendencies with a critical eye.

The additional lie it perpetuates is that our personalities, desires, and preferences can’t – or shouldn’t – change.

SF: The “be true to your heart” mantra is a “true” lie, which all depends on how it is interpreted and applied. If I interpret it to mean that I should do what is most to my liking, what is easiest and most enjoyable, then it is a lie (a self-serving platitude). If I interpret it to mean that I should be authentic in the act I put on for my students, then it is profoundly true.

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: Who can know it?” ~ Jeremiah 17:9 (NKJV)

…and so are the deceitful ears. People hear whatever they are inclined to hear, and they don’t always hear the truth contained in truths.


Conclusions

  • Authenticity = Acceptance + Honesty + Sincerity
  • Getting closer to God not only involves being authentic before God, but also before our fellow man.
  • The subjective experience of being authentic doesn’t always come easily. It usually requires a lot of emotional work.
  • When you can get into the habit of being authentic, people will notice and respond.

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About Jack

Jack is a world traveling artist, skilled in trading ideas and information, none of which are considered too holy, too nerdy, nor too profane to hijack and twist into useful fashion. Sigma Frame Mindsets and methods for building and maintaining a masculine Frame
This entry was posted in Authenticity, Models of Success, Personal Presentation, Self-Concept, The Power of God and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to On the Authenticity of Appearance and Avatar

  1. Scott says:

    Thanks for the link back. At the encouragement of Mychael, I have begun to expand the basic topic here into a book. I have about 5 chapters done.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Ame says:

    excellent.

    do you think that, perhaps, spiritual gifts, or gifts and talents and abilities given us by God, fits in here?

    i’ve noticed that when i use my spiritual gifts for Him, it’s as though my personality changes … but it’s really God working thru me, using what He gave me, to accomplish His purposes in and through my life. i always find these experiences to be profound because they take the experience beyond me. sometimes when i come across it later, it doesn’t have the same ‘punch’ … or when i read later what someone else responded to at a deep level, i don’t ‘see’ what they saw. it’s like God takes what i’m willing to give and does His thing with it to benefit someone else where they are. and while that was my goal – to give something to the other person, i could never have imagined at the beginning how that would play out.

    does that make any sense?

    Your act is to show the genuine you, which you normally safeguard, and you get good reviews because people like what they are hearing and seeing. They respond to the honesty. In your case the acting is not to put on the mask but to drop it.

    i wonder if what comes through is who we are when no one is looking … who we are before Holy God … that God comes in, removes our masks of who we think we want others to see … so that they can see what / Who … God wants them to see. hummm …

    i’ve done a little public speaking, not a lot b/c life as Mom comes first … but it was as if God totally took over, spoke through my personality, and the responses were … profound, powerful. i knew it had to be God b/c how could i know the hearts and souls of people and what they would need to hear … and then how to word and speak it in just such a way to reach into their very personal spaces and touch them? i could not. only God can do that.

    however, if you met me at a meeting, on the street, in life, you wouldn’t see me as a public speaker, esp since i’m also an introvert. but i do know how to be social.

    interesting post and discussion thread w/in your post.

    Like

  3. Ame says:

    btw – as i mentioned at Spawny’s … LOVE Jack!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. caterpillar345 says:

    Long-time lurker here… Thanks for the many great articles.
    I’m a little confused. If I understood correctly, you said that you prefer to be alone, working on your research, etc. but you “put on an act” when teaching. I thought the act was to overcome or “hide” your introverted nature (your “true” self) and perform the role of teacher. But rather, you then said that by playing the role of outgoing extroverted teacher, you are being more authentic.
    Can you explain? Maybe I missed the point of the “act.”

    Like

    • Jack says:

      Caterpillar,

      The “act” in front of my students is my glorified identity in Christ, which is who God made me to be. It is also how I serve God and my fellow man. But this state takes a lot of energy out of me.

      The person I am when I’m relaxing and doing as I please, is my natural identity in the Flesh. It’s in this state when I get peace and rest.

      I suppose that both states of being will be superposed in heaven, but here on Earth, I am limited by my physical body. So I think both states are necessary, but there has to be a balance. The temptation is to remain in a low energy state of self-satisfaction, and not take the effort to fulfill God’s will for my life through service.

      Like

  5. Pingback: How to get more frequent, enthusiastic sex from your wife: Overcoming Pride and Psychological Resistance | Σ Frame

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