3 Ways to Drop the Facade
As the owner of a small Italian restaurant on the lower east side of Manhattan, Giovanni took great pride in the appearance of his business. Each morning, he cleaned the windows, swept the sidewalk, and verified the electronic ‘Open’ sign was working properly. Moving inside, he mopped the floors, cleaned the tables and chairs, and polished the silverware. Customers raved online about the cleanliness of the restaurant and the authentic taste of his signature dishes.
The kitchen, on the other hand, was a different story. The floors were blackened from years of dirt and grime. Mold was visible on the ceiling and hastily-washed pots and pans were piled high on the counters. The freezer was an obstacle course of food and ingredients and nothing was labeled, making it difficult to distinguish between fresh and expired.
In the alley behind the restaurant, the stench of rotten food was overpowering. Garbage bags were piled sky high in the dumpsters and rats scurried about searching for crumbs. The back of the building had not been power washed in decades and was covered in a thick layer of dirt.
In Los Angeles, Mandy admired herself in the mirror. The black evening gown cost $1,000, which she put on a credit card since she didn’t have the cash. Working as an administrative assistant didn’t pay much but when you are active on the social scene, you need to look good.
The diamond earrings were fake and borrowed from a friend. The Gucci handbag was a knockoff bought at a flea market. Her pearl necklace was actually real — and inherited from her mother. In America, looking rich made you rich in the eyes of others.
The Robertsons were the envy of the neighborhood. Their meticulously manicured landscaping had won lawn of the month several times. The latest and greatest German cars adorned the driveway. Their house was massive and they made sure to have neighbors over often to show it off. Expensive vacations in Europe and private school for their kids were peppered into each conversation.
Financially, the Robertson were in trouble. Up to their eyeballs in debt, every asset they owned was borrowed against to support their lifestyle. Maxed-out credit cards and a third mortgage fueled the perception they were the Joneses. With no savings, they were one emergency away from financial ruin.
We are all living a facade in some area of our lives. Some people want to appear wealthier than they are, others to be perceived as brave when they are fearful, and others pretend to like people or things because of peer pressure. Dropping the facade is difficult and sometimes painful — but when you stay true to yourself and stop worrying about what others think or say about you, it will free you to focus on your purpose.
Here are three ways to drop the facade:
#1 Recognize that No One Cares
You might think that buying a new Mercedes will impress your neighbors, but they don’t really care all that much about you or your car. Sure, they will pay you a compliment and ask for a ride when you bring it home from the dealership, but after that it’s just another car. Six months later, the new model comes out and Joe down the street buys one. Suddenly your Mercedes is no longer the newest one on the block. Everyone has moved on and no one cares about your Mercedes — except for the bank — because you are still required to make the massive monthly payments you really can’t afford.
#2 Accept Yourself Just as You Are
When I was younger, I stressed a lot about being overweight and losing my hair. I feared no woman would want to be with a fat, balding guy. Then at age 24, I met a wonderful woman who loved me just as I was. She didn’t care about my weight or lack of hair. It changed my entire self-image.
I stopped worrying about my hair loss and eventually started shaving my head. Not having hair has saved me thousands in shampoo and haircuts over the years (haha). I focused on losing weight — not to please anyone — but because I wanted to be healthy and live a long time. I changed my eating habits and exercise routine. As a result, I reached my healthy weight years ago and have maintained it ever since.
#3 Focus on Others
When we focus solely on ourselves, we never live up to our expectations. There is always a nicer car to buy, ten pounds to lose, or another job that will bring prestige and more money. Life becomes about obtaining or doing something to improve our position in the eyes of others.
When we focus on others, life becomes meaningful and impactful. Your own problems and insecurities fade away when you meet someone else’s needs — especially at the expense of your own. The result is joy that fills your heart and banishes your own fears, insecurities, and ego. The key to your own happiness is meeting the needs of others — and this means discovering and fulfilling your purpose.
Drop the facade.