Of scaffolding and radical authenticity

I've written before about the "scaffolding" we put up in our lives. You know scaffolding. It is the temporary structure made of wooden planks across metal poles used by workers renovating a building. It can also be the supports used to hold things up while they are being built.

Scaffolding serves a purpose, but by its nature it is meant to be temporary. It isn't the real building.

In our lives we create metaphoric scaffolding. Defense mechanisms, protective walls and ego. Identity props we use when we don't believe we are enough on the inside.  Lies we tell ourselves when we fear the pain of truth. Supports we use that aren't real (or healthy).

As this builds up, we wind up with a layer between our authentic selves and the outside world. How deep your scaffolding is depends on you.  And while we often do this, it is a mistake to take the scaffolding for the real you. 

Scaffolding isn't pretty, but most of us are loathe to take it down.  I think a lot of times when tragedy hits our life, it gets torn away. Some work to build it back, but others learn to walk freely without it. 

I do believe the one method for taking down the scaffolding on your own is with radical honesty.  Not just with yourself, but with those around you.  

To stop with denial.
To stop telling white lies. 
To stop pretending...about anything. 
To stop wishing we were more ___(fill in the blank here)___.
To stop using busy-ness as a distraction.
To be relentless in pursuing the truth of who you really are and then being real enough to share that with those around you.

Honesty is a courageous act, but it is also a freeing one.  When you lose your scaffolding you can move.  You can breathe.  And the thing about true selves?  They are beautiful.  Shining.  It is incredibly vulnerable, but also fulfilling. 

If you've lost yourself in the scaffolding, then the first step is telling the truth. It can be scary, but is also very, very worth it. 

Related post:  The Art of Suffering

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© Random Cathy
Maira Gall