A conversation with a friend:
Me: You’re a man, maybe you can tell me what’s wrong with me and why I can’t draw in anyone special.
My friend: There’s not a damn thing wrong with you. All you got to do is be yourself.
If you think dealing with issues like worthiness and authenticity and vulnerability are not worthwhile because there are more pressing issues, like the bottom line or attendance or standardized test scores, you are sadly, sadly mistaken. It underpins everything. ~Brene Brown
I’ve spent so much of my life people pleasing, not believing who I was and am is good enough. I’ve felt awkward, alone, like I didn’t belong, like I was defective, some kind of accident. What I’ve come to realize, is that those qualities that I used to find so abnormal about myself, are indeed, ME. And ME is okay, just the way I Am.
I think there is some point between the time we are children and the time we actually begin our young adult journeys that we are told that who we are is not okay. This is either told to us implicitly or explicitly. Either some adult or authority figure told us we weren’t good enough, or some life event instilled that belief in us. For those familiar with the 12-step framework, it is often here where we become “insane” or our lives become “unmanageable.”
For example, when I would beg my dad not to drink and he would still drink; or if my parents would get into these horribly scary fights, I used to wonder…
Who do I have to be to stop my dad from drinking??
Who do I have to be to stop my parents from fighting??
I am now learning that there was no one I could have morphed into to stop any of that.
A few years ago, I started doing some inner child work that involved non-dominant hand writing. Pretty powerful stuff. My reason for mentioning this is because it brought me back to that cute, sweet, sensitive little girl that I was before the world got a hold of me. When I was reintroduced to my inner child, I fell in love with her. I wanted to take care of her, love her, protect her. I recognized that it was her that I had been running from, and in essence trying to get back to this whole time. Someone or something told me that she was not okay the way she was. But now that I found her, I never wanted to let her go. For this sweet child, this precious, sensitive beautiful child was me…my true self…my authentic self.
She is the part of ME that is closest to God.
I would recommend inner child work to anyone who is struggling with a lost sense of self. But my point is that there is nothing like getting in touch with who we really are.
And who I am is not always pleasant. But I’m aware of my areas for growth and can embrace those areas that may be considered less than good. My authenticity is about being true to myself first. Then, I can express that authenticity to others.
“Your life will be transformed when you make peace with your shadow. The caterpillar will become a breathtakingly beautiful butterfly. You will no longer have to pretend to be someone you’re not. You will no longer have to prove you’re good enough. When you embrace your shadow you will no longer have to life in fear. Find the gifts of your shadow and you will finally revel in all the glory of your true self. Then you will have the freedom to create the life you have always desired.” ~Debbie Ford
It is when I am being my authentic self that I find that I draw in the most wonderful energy and people into my life.
Now of course with anything else, I don’t have it all figured out. There are times when I’m more authentic than others, times I still struggle with belonging and fitting in, and wondering Who do I have to be? Sometimes, I still think of myself as defective; especially when it comes to things like romantic love, which continues to evade me. But the difference now is that I can always come back to that sweet, little girl that I got back in touch with during my inner child work. I’ve seen her, heard from her, spent time with her. So when I’m tempted to morph myself into someone else, I remind myself that there is no one like her. She is a unique and wonderful creation of God.
Authenticity. There is nothing like it in this whole world. That’s because there is nothing and no one like the real you.
Happy New Year.