The Value of Authenticity
October 18, 2021 · by Regina Felty
I’ve been wanting a Coach purse for a while.
Many times, I have found myself browsing their website or slipping into an outlet store to drool over the elegant styles and colors. My eyes inevitably lock on some beauty with gold hardware and buttery-soft leather, and I fall in love all over again (As I said, I’ve done this many times!). My mind drifts off to my closet as I imagine what she (all purses are she to me...) would look like against that linen suit I bought last year or that dress I hope to wear to that conference in a few months.
Until I look at what it would cost me.
And I move on. Every time.
Recently, I found a previously-owned Coach purse on a website that I often shop from and was so excited when I saw how incredibly reasonable the price was and how the listing said it was in excellent condition with no blemishes or defects. It was listed as an “authentic Coach purse, without tags.” Thankfully, there was that little voice in my ear coaxing me to do a quick internet search on how to identify a fake designer bag. I soon discovered that this purse wasn’t the real deal. It was a counterfeit.
Again, I moved on.
People can be counterfeit too.
One of the world’s most famous imposters was Ferdinand Waldo Demara.
Ferdinand spent decades of his life faking his way through impressionable careers--dean of a college, assistant warden of a prison, doctor of psychology, Navy surgeon--all without the credentials or experience. He was a master deceiver. An imposter. A counterfeit.
He fooled people for years, even faced consequences on numerous occasions, before settling into a life of acknowledging who he really was: Ferdinand Waldo Demara--minus all the falsified titles.
Jesus called the scribes and Pharisees hypocrites, exposing them for trying to cover up the ugliness of their hearts and intentions with a deceptive display of a pristine coat of spiritual purity.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.” (Matthew 23:27, NKJV)
We might be able to fool others, but we will never fool God.
Sadly, we often fear showing others our true self, choosing instead to hide behind a facade because we believe no one wants to see our authentic self with all of our flaws and scars. It may have taken everything we had just to confess them to God, knowing he accepts us just the way we are. But we struggle to believe that anyone else would. And...sometimes, we are right. Not everyone can handle your flaws and scars.
Being authentic means being vulnerable.
You see, authentic people can admit they are flawed. That they make mistakes. They experience joy and freedom that others--who stubbornly try to maintain a false front--lack. Fabricating a perfect, put-together life is exhausting. It drains our physical, mental, and spiritual resources. We have nothing left to offer to our friends, our family, or God. As the scripture above points out, our lives are beautiful to look at but dead inside. We revert to becoming a second-rate replica of the real deal. The internal price we pay for the imitation version of ourselves becomes more than we would have paid to be authentic.
Being authentic means being unique.
And being unique, my friend, is rare. Being unique is appealing and something that we intrinsically crave to become. To feel special. To be exceptional. A rare man or woman in a world full of mundane sameness. But you must be willing to be transparent and to stand out from the crowd.
Do you have the courage to be that lone eagle in a sky full of starlings? Can you be governed by internal core values over following the latest social fad or political mantra?
And that knockoff Coach purse that I almost bought? I could have draped that handbag on my arm and matched it seamlessly with a few classy outfits and many would have never known it was a fake. Only a true connoisseur of designer bags could have spotted the inconsistent symbols and markers that would have identified it as a counterfeit.
And...I would have known too.
I’m willing to wait for that authentic Coach purse--maybe there’s even a Louis Vuitton in my future. Either way, it will mean more, be worth more, and be appreciated for its true value.