The other day I joked to my dad about Trump’s propensity for tweeting before he thinks. After chuckling, he said, “at least he isn’t fake and we know what we’re getting with him.” Hmm, I thought, it seems to me there’s a good life lesson and blog topic there somewhere. After mulling it over, here’s how I’d put it: Authenticity and vulnerability are essential for being fully and vibrantly alive, because authentically sharing yourself is the way to both truly BE yourself and CHANGE yourself for the better.
My passion in life is to spread and increase positivity, love, and Christ. Two key ways I try to do that are via this blog and with encouraging and inspirational thoughts and pictures on social media. It brings me great joy to offer greater bliss to people; the “problem” is I’m often too attached to the outcome. What I mean by that is sometimes when there are little to no reads of my blog, “likes” of my Facebook post, positive responses to my thoughts, and so on, a voice in my head informs me “I suck.” Relatedly, I’m a yoga teacher, which means the same ugly voice can rear its head when other teacher’s classes are larger than mine.
I believe the root issue here is my self worth, and how I struggle with gaining too much of my value from what others think about me. So, how about we do a quick “group” therapy session here on the blog? I’m not kidding … seriously, NOT kidding 🙂 … Though, what I mean is I see authenticity and vulnerability being game changers in three important ways, so I figure it’d be useful to walk through those using my self worth example:
The more authentic and real, with both ourselves AND others, we are, the more whole we become. When we lock parts of ourselves away and never show them, or only show that side of us to select company, our self/soul becomes fragmented. The more I don’t bear my struggle with self worth to others, the more insecure and self conscious I become because I’m being a hypocrite. Interestingly, our word “hypocrite” comes from the ancient Greek word for “actor”. My point is the more we “act” and put on an inauthentic “face”, the less whole we are.
I recognize that life, jobs, and so on sometimes call for us to minimize or maximize aspects of our selves. Take compassion for instance, on the field of battle a soldier might need to lessen her/his kindness, while in the family a parent should enhance his or hers. My point is, as best we can and as often as is “good”, it’s beneficial for us to be real. So, here’s to you and I being freely and fully our authentic selves as much as possible.
- Healing Process
Sometimes our authentic self is a wound, a trauma, or a falsehood, though, and while that’s what’s real about us, I don’t think it’s what’s True about us. I use a capital “T” because I’m convinced our True self, the you and I beneath our doings, possessions, and titles, is AMAZING and a gift from God. Culture’s message that we have to WIN love, worth, and belonging, our stories that preach the same and/or tell us we are NOT loved or worthy and don’t belong, and other such messages are essentially like dirt covering over our innate worth, belonging, and belovedness. Here the power of vulnerability and authenticity comes in the shape of community.
When we’re real with others, we show them our wounds, warts, and scars, which then create space for them to speak encouraging, healing truths into our lives. My sharing my self worth struggle with family and friends has led to them reminding me I’m precious just as I am, NO doing required, which helps me heal and “dig out” my True, Divinely given self.
- Transformation into most AMAZING version of self
In other instances, our authentic self isn’t very pretty or nice, though, and, again, while that’s what’s real about us, I don’t think it’s what’s True about us. For instance, a symptom of my self worth wounds is selfishness. In circumstances like this, people become mirrors to us. Our vulnerability allows them to reflect back that what we said, did, or thought is in truth hurtful, ugly, or something else it’d be good for us to change.
This, my friends is HARD, for both sides. It’s difficult to lovingly tell a friend they’re acting racist, or a family member they’re being abusive in word or deed. Likewise, it’s SUPER hard to hear our shortfalls without getting defensive … BUT, the work of personal growth and transforming into the most incredible version of yourself possible REQUIRES us to non-defensively hear and honestly evaluate the truth of critiques from others, so we can make the changes we want to see in the world in ourselves first!
My wife, daughter, and I were lucky enough to get to go to the Lady Gaga concert last summer. One of her most popular and catchy songs is “Poker Face”. I mention that to simply conclude by saying: While an unreadable face wins in poker, a vulnerable and authentic soul will win at life.
Grace and peace,