Family Holiday Survival Guide

Flash in the Pan Disappoints

Beverly, twenty-two, grew up comparing herself to images of perfect, skinny models in fashion magazines. She wanted her hair, nails, figure, face, clothes, and shoes, to look as good as those on the cover of Vogue. She believed that she needed to look perfect to be seen as a foxy lady of her town.


What was the real Beverly like? She wasn’t sure. She spent so much time and effort being a faux foxy lady that there was no time left to discover herself. She was afraid to wake up without makeup—to be the real deal; no pretenses, no masks, no false fronts.


As I noted earlier, real people meet real people. Fakes meet fakes. Prince Charming may turn out to be a troll in disguise. The fairy princess may be a witch. Appearances are deceiving, and so are the fronts people project to manipulate each other. An authentic relationship, one that can endure for a lifetime, is grounded on acceptance based on mutual understanding.  To be authentic is to be genuine, willing to share your true self with another and willing to accept the responsibility of defining yourself through clear decisions unclouded by your fears of how you are perceived. You have a life purpose and it is up to you to discover and live your mission.


A famous philosopher had this message on his answering machine:

“Who are you and what do you want?”

Only you can answer these questions for yourself.

Your Turn:

Get out a notebook or journal and answer the following questions:

  • How can you increase the love in your life and decrease false pride and ego?
  • Do you present a false self to the world?
  • Do you present a false self in your relationship?
  • How did it protect you in the past to develop a false self?
  • Do you recall when you first developed a false self?
  • Does your false self protect you now?
  • How can you begin to be more authentic in your life?
  • How can you be more authentic in your relationship?
  • How can you do a better job of nurturing yourself?
  • Do you tend to be too passive or too aggressive on your relationship? How can you get a better balance?

The following will help you identify your true values. Imagine it is your funeral and answer the following:

  • What do you want people to say about your life?
  • What do you want to stand for?
  • What is your purpose?
  • How would your ideal obituary read?

In Beverly’s case, what she wrote was quite different from how she was living. Her obituary read:

Beverly loved animals and devoted much of her time to rescuing greyhound dogs. She was spontaneous, fun-loving, and had a spent a lot of time in nature studying animal behavior. She was a beloved wife and mother known for speaking her mind.

If you are in a relationship consider how secure you and your partner are to be real with your selves and with one another. Write down what areas you consider real. List three ways that you can increase your safety to be authentic and real with one another.

Discuss how you can adopt these new behaviors with one another and focus on achieving your true happiness and fulfillment. Sing your own song. Those with loving and lasting relationships know the song in the heart of the other and can sing it back when their partner cannot recall the words.

Author, Dr. Linda Miles, is deeply committed to helping individuals and couples achieve rewarding relationships. She is an expert with a doctorate in Counseling Psychology, and has worked in the mental health field for over thirty years. She has been interviewed extensively on radio, TV, and in newspapers and magazines. Find more relationship ideas and relaxation techniques on her web site and in the award-winning book she co-authored, The New Marriage: Transcending the Happily-Ever-After Myth, and Train Your Brain: For Successful Relationships, CD.