When I chose the word “Authenticity” as my word for the year, I had no set plan. I went forward blindly and without thought. At some points, I even forgot that it was my goal for the year. However, life did not forget. In fact, life seemed to think it was a pretty funny joke to play on me. You get what you ask for let me tell you! Just last night, in conversation about my chosen word, I said, “Why didn’t I pick a word like “Peaceful?” Yes, indeed. Why didn’t I? However, I am sure that no matter which word I had chosen, I would have been challenged in some way because that is how growth occurs and that was after all, my ultimate goal.
What I had never considered before I started this journey is that Authenticity and Vulnerability walk hand in hand. You can not have one without the other. This is both a deeply rewarding and deeply painful journey at the same time. I am always convinced though that the benefits of growth far out way the discomfort and pain that precede. As a fellow blogger wrote:
A big part of my journey has been to become better at expressing myself. At sharing my thoughts, feelings, and honestly bearing my whole heart and soul sometimes. Vulnerability has been a biggy for me too … This is me. This is how I feel. This is how I feel about you. I love you. You’re beautiful. You’re perfect. You’re awesome. I’m not afraid to hug. To cry. I want to feel life and all its emotions. Good or bad, how else can I grow? What lesson is this teaching me? I face plant regularly, but each experience makes me a better person. – Brittany Paulin
Yes, exactly, how else can we grow? And if we are not growing, than we are not fully living.
I grew up trying to be anyone but myself. I wanted to make everyone happy even if it was at my own expense. I thought that being “good” meant keeping my thoughts and opinions to myself so as not to rock the boat. My need for affirmation and acceptance was greater than my need to be true to myself. I was willing to live without freedom because it seemed so much easier to pretend that I was fine, everything was fine, and everyone liked me. I would like to say that I no longer care what people think; but, I do. When you choose to be yourself and stand up for what you believe to be true, not everyone is going to applaud you for this choice. In fact, you may lose people in your life that you thought would always be there because they don’t like the “new” you.
Let’s examine the options though … You can continue to be a people pleaser and never live fully alive, never grow any deeper, and never change or you can step off the ledge and learn to fly. The learning curve is deeply painful and at times feels like it costs more than it’s worth; but, trust me, you will actually begin to like yourself, be yourself, and eventually love and trust yourself.
You are enough. The Authentic you is Beautiful and expressing your self wholeheartedly and unashamedly is the Bravest choice you could ever make.
And so …
I wish you joy in the pain and and hope in the darkness of your journey. BE BRAVE!