Life has a funny way of coming around full circle. At the beginning of the year I came across a project called One Little Word, http://www.bigpictureclasses.com/onelittleword2013.php. The idea was to pick one word that resonated with me and to make it the focus of the year ahead, I chose Authenticity. In my search for the meaning and significance of the word I came across the following quote:
Authenticity is a daily practice.
Choosing authenticity is cultivating the COURAGE to be imperfect, to set boundaries, and to allow ourselves to be vulnerable; exercising the COMPASSION that comes from knowing that we are all made of strength and struggle and connected to each other through a loving and resilient human spirit; nurture the CONNECTION and sense of belonging that can only happen when we let go of what we are supposed to be and embrace who we are.
Authenticity demands WHOLEHEARTED living and loving – even when it’s hard, even when we’re wrestling with the shame and fear of not being good enough, and especially when the joy is so intense that we are afraid to let ourselves feel it.
Mindfully practicing authenticity during our most soul-searching struggles is how we invite GRACE, JOY, and GRATITUDE into our lives. – Brene Brown
This became the launching pad of sorts to begin my journey into authenticity. Little did I know that just a few short months later, in the midst of the craziness that comes with uncovering your true self, that I would stumble upon a TED Talk by the very same woman that wrote the above quote. Little did I know that it would come at the very moment I needed it most and reaffirm my journey, reaffirm who I am, and who I am becoming.
I have never been one to “dip my toes into the water” when it comes to life and love. For the longest time I have seen this as my weakness when in fact, it has been one of my greatest assets. To be authentic and to live wholeheartedly, you have to allow yourself to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is scary! However, as Brene shares in her TED talk;
Vulnerability is NOT weakness,
It is our most accurate measure of courage.
Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.
One of my favorite Instagram hash tags that I use is, #livealive. You can choose to live without really living alive. In a quest to shut out the emotions that make you feel sad and vulnerable however, you will miss out on all the emotions that make you feel alive and full of joy. You can not have one without the other, as I’ve said before, joy and pain walk hand in hand. So “Lean into the Discomfort” of your vulnerability and trust that you are enough. Don’t be satisfied with small, push past the pain and out into the openness of your true self, into freedom and joy.