You buy an antique at a roadside flea market. You’re uncertain at first, because the market has a no return policy. But the seller of this particular antique is a lovable little old lady with a picture of her grandkids printed on her t-shirt. She seems sincere and trustworthy, so you feel confident purchasing your antique from her.
A few weeks later, you get the antique appraised and guess what? It’s a fake, and not even a very good one. You’re furious. You feel taken advantage of, treated unfairly. It wasn’t your fault, you explain. If I could have seen how convincing this old lady was, how warm and genuine, I would have made the same mistake. Maybe so. But here’s the thing: Regardless of what is “fair,” you’re the one holding the worthless antique.
The lesson worth learning? Either you don’t know antiques as well as you thought, or you don’t read people as well as you thought. This is what created the opportunity for the old lady to hustle you: your ego. Are people often untrustworthy? Absolutely. So you can either get worked up every time someone misleads you, or you can focus on getting better at seeing things as they truly are, not how you wish they were.
The key to recognizing authenticity is being authentic. Know who you really are, own who you really are–including those prickly parts you try to stuff in a corner and forget about. Before you can recognize a fake antique, you have to recognize those parts of you that are fake.
About the Author: James Robbins is a licensed professional counselor, published author and co-owner of Dallas Whole Life Counseling. He has over 15 years of experience helping people in various life stages that come from a wide variety of cultural, economic and family backgrounds. Learn more about his background by clicking here.