Saturday, January 12, 2019

Themes of My Life: Authentic, Vulnerable, Brave

Last year, my one resolution was to be more authentic. To be okay with being myself, yes - but more, to have the courage to be more outwardly vulnerable. To have the courage to be more honest.

It was a good resolution. Just with a short life.

My first attempt bit me in the ass, basically. It was met with words that I found painful and sent me running back to my defenses. The risk is too great, I thought. Authenticity is too hard. I guess that courage didn't last very long.

Even in the fall when I got a little more solid in my life decisions, when Iw as a little more sure of my why's, and I wanted to write more -- I laid out some affirmative mantras for what I wanted to guide me, one of which was "You have permission to be honest." Wrapped up in that was a continued desire to open myself up, to stop carrying secrets, to better practice and exemplify that authenticity. I found it harder than I thought.

Authenticity comes in pieces. When I think about it, it's not true that I haven't practiced it. It's just been very private and where I felt safe. There are a few people I've trusted enough to be authentic and open, people I was sure were there for me and not just gossip. And with those, I've been much more open about laying out everything. Outside of that, though, I've been pretty closed.

But maybe that's okay to start. One of the Brene Brown pieces that sticks with me is that we choose authenticity, we share our most real stories with those who have earned the right to hear them - not just willy-nilly with the maddening crowd. And maybe that's how you start to learn to be more real - with one trusted soul at a time.

Until, perhaps, the risks of holding tightly to your story become greater than the risks of giving it wings and validation.

I still want to work toward greater courage, deeper vulnerability, truer authenticity. If nothing else, as a gift to myself. But, I think I see now that there are footholds to rest on between the two extremes, and that it isn't an either-or.

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