You are the REAL Thing

IMG_0558The use of the adjective real has come to my attention—not like the popular use of the word cool to describe something of agreeable interest versus a degree of weather. Rather, I contemplate the use of real to accredit someone for what they have done or accomplished. Besides the commercial use of the slogan, I have trouble reconciling its connotation. It seems that you are only real in our society if you are the best, or you are at least quite successful at what you do. But, to be real is to be authentic, is it not? And, to be authentic do you have to be the best—above everyone else?

While attending a book reading, the author asked the crowd: “Is there anyone out there working on a novel?” A few folks raised their timid hands and one woman down front did so as well. While I did not know the lady with her hand up in the air, the author did and she gave a short laugh as she recognized her with the statement, “But of course, you are a real writer.” A real writer? What exactly is that?

A few years ago I trained women runners to complete their first 5k. I was asked to do it as a part of a larger group which oversaw the program. Each week the runners received emails with information and inspirational words of encouragement. I was a bit taken aback when one week’s email called the women real runners after completing a full mile. Real runners? What exactly is that?

What are we telling others—and ourselves—when we equate someone as real in relationship to their work or their desires? I desire to write a book, but I have not published one yet. Does that mean I am not a real writer? I have run races, but not for quite awhile. Does that mean I am no longer a real runner?

What if you consider that you are the only person who can determine whether you are real in your pursuits? What if you decide that no matter how well or how poorly you play the guitar, you are still a guitar player? What if you determine that just because you do not catch the prize fish, you are still fisherman or woman? What if you paused the next time someone proclaims this person or that person as real due to their perceived stature and contemplated this idea: that absent of societal accolades and questionable measurements, we can all be real?

When you do the things that bring you joy or even challenge you positively, it is a reflection of who you truly are at the core of your being. When you operate from this place of awareness, your true and authentic self illuminates, for you are the real thing.


  1. naomi says:

    ann, i completely agree! namaste!

  2. Hap says:

    It may be what Rumi is alluding to in his poem, ‘Let The Beauty We Love’. He didn’t give it that title but it seems to fit.
    “There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground”.

    We are each unique. No two exactly alike. How do we identify ourselves, our true nature? It’s the conundrum we each face. Maybe are best mark is, how do we see and treat other individual souls. Who are we competing with other than ourself?

  3. Jean says:

    This is so insiteful, Ann. I hadn’t thought about how we use that word but I totally agree with your analysis. Thanks for making me think.
    Hope you are doing well in Alaska. You missed our “big” snow. 😉 it was pretty.
    Hugs and love.

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