“Real isn’t how you are made, said the skin horse. It’s a thing that happens to you.” This is one of my favourite quotes from Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly. “…to love ourselves and support each other in the process of becoming real is perhaps the greatest single act of daring greatly.”
Think about that for a moment. What would happen if you were just you in this exact moment your in. Not the person your husband, or sister or colleague you believe wants you to be. The woman that you truly are.
In this exact moment, I am home from work. Having a pain flair, I am practicing self compassion. Some days are not glorious and exciting and I am not bounding with energy (actually I rarely have energy, but that is a post for another day.) Some days I hurt for no good, explainable reason, and I have to take a step back and give my body rest. Despite doing all the “things” I am supposed to do to heal, there are times when the best thing to “do” is to just be. Bree Brown goes on to talk about owning our story. It may not be glamorous, or fun or really anything we feel like sharing. But it is ours. And the reality is, that everyone has parts of their lives that they don’t like, that they’d rather people not know about or that they feel shameful, guilt or remorse for. Part of my story is that I am learning to focus less on valuing myself for how much I can do, but for how I can be. Scary stuff I know. Not how much I can clean, or what I can get done at work, or even how great I can bake. But how can I be me, the woman that God wants me to be, in this moment?
The tough part of this is that, like any skill, in order to get better at it, you have to practice. “I am not what has happened to me. I am what I choose to become.” I have to make the conscious decision to be authentic; not to hide behind facades and busyness but to share the good, the bad and the ugly. Several years ago, when I was asked how things were going I would always say “great!” When they really weren’t. Somewhere inside of me were storms, and tears and frustrations, or even clouds of happiness but I would never truly share these. I deflected and would instead get others to talk. Without ever being vulnerable, I was essentially sending the message that vulnerability was not actually okay. Since its a natural reaction that we tend to mirror others speech, emotions and behaviours, if I am sending the message that I don’t feel safe to be real, why would someone else?
I think a big stumbling block for me on my road of authenticity was feeling shameful about my life. Lets be real here (wink wink). There are parts of it I did not like. Wasn’t what I had expected or hoped my life to turn out like. Maybe even parts I was disappointed in or downright angry about. Parts like, even today, where I wake up and go “really? really? why is this happening. or what is going on?” Fair enough. Let me tell you this, that it is ok that your path has’t turned out the way you expected. Admit it. Own it. Own your life. It. Is. Okay. It does not mean you are a failure. It doesn’t mean you haven’t tried. It doesn’t mean you are settling. Quite the opposite. Once I finally brought everything to the surface, it was like I was released from an unseen barrier that was holding me back from truly enjoying life and those in it. There is freedom in owning all of your life. The parts you can control, and the parts you can’t control. They still make up you. Now I feel free to share with those in my life. To share with others who also have a story, who also are on a journey of their own and maybe just need the real me to show up and just be with them.