When I decided to start this blog, I committed to sharing parts of myself with the online world that were important to me and to using it as a portal to connect further through the things we have in common. Putting my thoughts down onto paper, I realized I was writing with less focus on what was being said, and more on how and why I was saying it.
It didn't matter if I had a wonderful time doing this or a terrible time doing that, what was of value was why. What was the take away from offering up this story? What could the reader gain from digesting this piece of writing? How would they feel? Why would they feel that way?
Reflecting on my writing as it grows and develops, it is clear that I have one major want for you as you read and it's because I want it for myself, too. I want you to feel like being authentic is your right, and a necessary one at that. To be genuine or real, enough times, that eventually that state becomes all you know. Authenticity becomes home base, the place where you start and where you end.
So, what does it mean to be authentic? Mexican food or authentic Mexican food, which would you choose? When we hear that something or someone is authentic, it implies a strength. A strength because we feel like we understand it and we like supporting people and things we understand. To understand it, we need to see it. The more open, the more forthcoming, the more vulnerable a person, place or thing is, the more we gravitate towards it. Authenticity opens the door to relating to one another which opens the door to increased compassion and companionship.
Authenticity allows us to be seen and asks that we take responsibility for our words and actions. It does not mean perfection, or always wonderful, or even good for that matter. Authenticity admits fault, shares candid quirks and accepts all of what takes place. And this is exactly why we are terrified of being in this place. To bare our strengths, as well as our weaknesses, in the name of authenticity, is something we'd rather watch others do than do ourselves.
So, what can we do to make being authentic, less scary? What can we do to push ourselves to be authentic, even when it's scary? Here's a short list of helpful preparations when committing to authenticity:
1. Make Space - Before anything can arrive, there needs to be a place it can come to.
If you never have a moment to breathe, mark your calendar for 5 minutes after lunch to take for yourself. Set the date. Just you and your breath (no phones allowed). If silence makes you cringe, challenge yourself to sit with it. When speaking, allow for pauses, even if it feels uncomfortable. If it doesn't feel like you have space around you, being seen for who you really are, won't have room to be expressed.
2. Find Forgiveness - Before we create change within our habitual patterns, we need to know that regardless, we are deserving of love and belonging.
This is huge, huge, huge. When we take steps toward the unknown, preparing to open up to the world around us, it is crucial to be kind to ourselves. To allow the natural rhythms of caring and thoughtful, to impulsive and reactive, to cycle through. If we can be kind, we can see that the fullest expression of being human, is being flawed, and that being flawed doesn't correlate to being bad or terrible or ashamed.
3. Use your humanity lens - Transition from seeing yourself and those around you as separate- beyond me, becoming we.
When you see yourself from your lens alone, things become extremely subjective. You only hear the stories in your head kept behind closed doors, repeating over and over again. When you see yourself from a humanity lens, you discover how much more alike we are than different. You find out that we all come into contact with our best selves and our worst selves and there is comfort in knowing that both are present in all of us.
None of this promises it will be easy but while you're here, why not try?
Authenticity allows us to walk the many paths between lost and found with dignity and grace. Even when we trip and fall- especially, when we trip and fall.