I want to be the real authentic me in every situation of my life; whether with family or friends, on the job, at church, volunteering, etc. To be comfortable in my own skin; to agree to disagree; to love wholeheartedly; to let people in to a deeper me; to be vulnerable; full of joy; real with hurt and disappointments; and overflowing with passion. But, how do I get there?
Several months ago I hit a moment in life where you know something has to change because you cannot keep on doing the same thing expecting different results. I am told that is part of the definition of insanity. I came to that place and started asking myself real questions:
- Where did my passion go for the things that once brought me so much joy?
- Why do I feel stretched so thin, that if another thing were added to my schedule, I would snap?
- I am doing so many things, but why do I not feel like a success in any one of them?
- Why do I want to say “no”, but I keep on saying “yes” out of fear?
- What if they knew what I really thought or felt?
- I feel resentment, anger, and hurt, but I am not sure what the root of it is?
- Why do I not feel valued?
- What are the relationships in my life that really matter? And what am I doing about it?
- What if I fail or make the wrong choice?
All of these questions I was asking myself had to do with discovering a deeper level of boundaries and authenticity; it was time for some soul-searching.
I have been reading two very powerful books over the last several weeks: “Boundaries” by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend, and “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Dr. Brene Brown. These two books have started me on a journey that will be lifelong. Many times as I have read, it feels like my brain is being re-wired; I have cried, laughed, had to forgive myself, and copy and paste to facebook and/or twitter because the revelation is too incredible for only me! Ha!
One of my favorite quotes so far is this: “Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are. Choosing authenticity means cultivating the courage to be imperfect, to set boundaries, and to allow ourselves to be vulnerable; exercising the compassion that comes from knowing that we are all made of strength and struggle; and nurturing the connection and sense of belonging that can only happen when we believe that we are enough.” -Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection
I am only halfway done with each of these life changing books (I have to read in bite-size amounts so I can fully digest every bit of it); yet I already feel strength and joy arising. I am learning the daily practice of authenticity and healthy boundaries. Sometimes it is more easily said than done, but I am committed to the journey because I already see a more vibrant true me shining through.
I want to encourage you today if you are asking yourself some of these same questions–there is hope! Begin the journey of self-discovery and soul-searching. “Take ownership of how you feel, how you think, and what you want…and then begin to step out as God leads you.” –John Townsend & Henry Cloud, Boundaries