Authenticity: Keep it Real With Yourself [Part I]
Many people say trust and honesty is the most important thing to keep a relationship thriving! The thought of believing a lie has had many individuals uncertain about dating or establishing a friendship with new people. No new friends we say, out of fear that new people will hurt us. So we start off with conversations like “Keep it real with me,” as a FYI memo so that the individual in question knows what is required of them. That is not an issue; the issue is that what we so desperately crave from others we don’t even give to ourselves… trust and honesty.
Many of us are not honest with ourselves. We repress our feelings, deny our needs and put our desires on the shelf. In order to be honest with yourself, you must trust yourself. How can you trust someone you barely even know? That’s right, I said it! Many of us do not even know who we are! You look in the mirror everyday and yet your reflection is a stranger.
Some of you have healthy relationships with others yet you may not understand that you also have a relationship with yourself. I remember watching a message by Joyce Meyer and she explained that we are with ourselves 24 hours a day… “You can’t get away from you” she said. You might as well be at peace with yourself.
Mr. Shakespeare said it best: “To thine own self be true!” That is the beauty of being authentic. The definition of authenticity is being true to one’s personality, spirit or character (thanks Webster). Many of us have not been authentic for different reasons. It may have been because of fear of rejection, self-doubt or we may feel misunderstood.
Let’s talk about how to be honest with yourself:
Start with writing! Writing is my refuge. Once I start writing, I tap into my true feelings, I may not want to go there but the more I carry it, the heavier it becomes. Avoiding feelings doesn’t make them go away. I learned that quickly. When I do write, I am honest and uncut. Find an outlet that will help you tap into your thoughts and your feelings. Sometimes we become so skilled at repressing our thoughts and feelings that we disconnect from ourselves.
Accept how you feel and begin to heal! Authenticity doesn’t mean, sugar-plum, fairy dust and gum drops. Every emotion is not tailored with smiles and bursts of joy. Being authentic can also trigger other emotions like: hurt, fear, pain, disappointment, despair and anger! These emotions may be challenging to deal with. I would not suggest dwelling in those emotions for extended periods of time, but pretending as if “all is well” when it is not, will not make the pain disappear either. Some of these emotions can be buried deep in your soul and you don’t even know it!
Pray without ceasing! Prayer is also a lovely place to be. I have learned being honest with God also helped me to be myself. (I will go deeper into this subject in Authenticity: “Keep it Real with God” Part II). Being authentic is connected to vulnerability. It may be difficult for you to articulate your thoughts to others at first, that’s okay, as long as you can identify how you feel about yourself. You must have a sense-of-self beyond who others say you are. Your likes, dislikes, values, preferences, opinions and experiences are all important because they are tied into who you are today.
Identify your truths in each realm: self, spirituality, love, career and family
What are your needs, wants, and desires?
What are you afraid of?
What are your core values?
What are your strengths?
What are your vices/weaknesses?
How can you grow?
What are you going to do to change?
Answer these questions privately, and without judgment of yourself. The answers to these questions may change tomorrow, but you have to evaluate yourself. When you start being honest with yourself… freedom will come. You are who you are, that is enough.
When you want to beat yourself up remember:
Grace Card: All in all accept where you are today and where you have been. You are in the human experience and you are becoming! One of my mentors always tells me when I am hard on myself “Progress not Perfection.”
Why do you think it is difficult for people to be honest with themselves? What do you think holds them back? How are you honest with yourself?