Honestly, How are you?

Written by: Gracie Mayer, Facebook Manager and Contributing Writer of Unpolished Journey

“How are you?’

“I’m Great!!”

“How is your job?”

“Fantastic!”

“How is your family?”

“Everyone is smiling, succeeding and our fence is the whitest it has ever been!”

How are you really? How are you when you are alone? How are you when you are not tilting your head to get the perfect angle for the perfect picture of your perfect vacation to post on Instagram?

I remember when Morgan first told me about Unpolished Journey. We were having our weekly breakfast meet-up and she was sharing a new and exciting idea of creating a small Instagram account that she hoped would eventually grow into an recovery community of individuals seeking truth, vulnerability and connection. We dreamed of the possibilities for Unpolished Journey and the growth it might create. I have been reflecting on some of the main goals of Unpolished Journey.

  1. Unpolished Journey is a community that helps illuminate the reality of mental health and its impact on so many lives.
  1. Unpolished Journey raises awareness around Eating Disorders and reveals what it is like to live daily with an eating disorder and the struggles in fighting for recovery.
  1. Unpolished Journey is also an organization that looks to expose the damaging culture of beauty standards in our society today and the false, distorted, photoshopped images that help fuel these damaging standards.

All of this is well and good. However, when also reflecting on Unpolished Journey’s theme of honesty for the month of February I wondered about the 3rd goal of Unpolished. Sometimes it is much easier to blame media, blame unrealistic standards, and blame falsified images influences as the main culprit of our pain. Yes, we confront damaging images of beauty in the media every day, but what about those images, those ideals and those illusions of perfection that we perpetuate in our own lives every day?  We are all guilty of the:

“I’m Great?”

“It’s fantastic!”

“Everyone is smiling, succeeding and our fence is the whitest it has ever been!”

I think everyone, especially myself, is guilty of posting the old “picture that makes it looks like I am having the time of my life at the party that I felt obligated to go to so that I could post it on Facebook”. What are these images doing for our friends, our families and our own self-image? Why is it that we feel our experience isn’t enough just the way it is? Why do we feel the need to put on the face that it’s all ok all of the time?

This brings me to honesty. Why is honesty so scary? Why is falling, failing, frowning, crying, trying, struggling and sharing so frightening? What doors might open if you responded to a “how are you doing?” with an honest response of: “I’m actually really stressed and confused at where my life is going.” How might we invite others to honesty if we are in fact honest ourselves. I think of the times when I have really connected with other people and many times I connect the most when the other person reveals their humanity. The month of February is also well-known for a certain day to tell someone you love them. This month I am challenging myself to love others through my honesty. I am choosing to show love by posting real pictures, sharing real life event no matter how messy, and inviting others to trust me with their honest experience. I think the greatest love is an unconditional love, a love that places no standards, constraints, rules, or expectations. You do not have to earn unconditional love—it is freely and openly given. When you live in unconditional love, you have the freedom to live in honesty and share with honesty the fullness of your human experience.

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