Keeping Up Appearances

A scary thought. It is so easy to be busy all day and every day. It makes you feel important. It gives you purpose. In addition, it gives you a sense of self. Well, so you think. Is this really the case? Or are you just hiding from yourselves? Are you numbing your feelings?

It is much easier to hide what life is like. When you stay busy you can pretend. You can hide behind a veneer. It keeps you out of touch with your real feelings. Not only do you kid yourself that all is OK, but you also kid the world. It is exhausting looking like you have it all together. It takes effort to keep up the front. In the meantime, you are paddling like mad underneath it all.


Being vulnerable and open is scary and frightening. It leaves you open to being attacked, judged and criticised. It leaves you open to being left out. Or not included in groups you desperately want to be part of. You keep up the façade at all costs.

It reminds me of Hyacinth Bucket in the sitcom ‘Keeping Up Appearances’ – a British Sitcom in the late 1990s. The title says it all. The series is about a woman who pretended to be upper-class but in actual fact wasn’t. Hyacinth insisted her surname be pronounced “bouquet”, to side herself with Britain’s top ten per cent.

It was funny and painful to watch. Hyacinth did everything possible to hide from her real roots. It was embarrassing and at times humiliating. However, her desire was so great to be something that she wasn’t that she went to any length to keep up appearances, no matter how it came across. It is cringe-worthy stuff to watch.

Why? My take on it is that she wasn’t comfortable with who she was. So many of us feel this to a certain extent or other. You feel defective in some way or another. It is easier to pretend than stop to be your true amazing selves.

It is easier to remain grey and follow others, rather than be your bright selves. Love, joy, creativity, and empathy are blocked out. You so want to belong, that you, in fact, don’t as you are forever trying to fit in.

What would happen if you stopped?

Your veneer would crack. It would all crumble around you. Your façade would crumble. And there you would be: vulnerable, raw, real, and beautiful. And that is scary. Being you. Unabashedly you. Delightfully you. Shining in all your glory.

So, what holds you back? Self-confidence. Enjoying your own company. Loving being who you are warts and all. Knowing that you are perfectly imperfect. Feeling comfortable with your flaws knowing you are more than enough as you are.

This is so liberating and freeing. The light really shines from you rather than greyness. You lead your life the way you want to full of joy, fulfilment, happiness, fun and flow.

You feel alive, messy, creative, adventurous, and excited. Nothing holds you back. You make mistakes. And that doesn’t hold you back from getting on with life. It doesn’t immobilise you with shame. You dust it off as part of life and being human.

As Leonard Cohen sings in ‘Anthem’: ‘There’s a crack in everything. That is how the light gets in.’ And your light gets out from behind your appearances.

meet chantal

Chantal Vanderhaeghen is an intuitive guide, small business owner, creator of an international skincare brand, passionate philanthropist and meditation, reiki, tapping and mindfulness teacher. She works with women ready to make changes, shatters perceptions of beauty and perfection, and inspires people ready to become mindful entrepreneurs. She lives with her talented man in the Perth Hills and can be found online at



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