Why We Need To Be Unapologetically Authentic

Nearly a month ago, I started a new fitness regime.

After months of not working out, I decided it was time. The last time I did any exercise was when a few friends and I did some month-long fitness challenges together. We even created Your Best Self {a Facebook page to publish our challenges and invite others to join us}, but my time became limited soon after. I had a lot going on in my life, which infringed upon my motivation to exercise…until I took responsibility for the fact that I’m the only person that controls whether or not I exercise. It’s not something I can blame on circumstances or other people.

So, armed with a new challenge, I posted on Your Best Self, complete with an apology for the lack of page activity. As I did so, something occurred to me ~ I was apologizing. For what? Living my life? Taking care of my family? Of course, my {introverted self} began over thinking {as I do} about daily life and how we interact as a society.

Those who know me know that I am a born nurturer…for everyone except me. While I’m making sure everyone else is taken care of, I forget about me. While I’m focused on the external drama, I don’t have the time or energy left over to do self-care or pursue my passions, projects or interests. We don’t have to look very far for drama anymore; it’s right there on our phones, 24/7, on every social media feed. We spend more time looking at our screens, keeping up with everyone else’s lives while being less attentive to those in our proximity. By concentrating on our screens, we miss things going on around us. We run ourselves ragged, keeping up appearances, showing everyone what we want them to see even if it’s not what’s really going on. Are people’s lives really as great as they claim? And why is it so important for everyone to think that? I hasten to add that I really don’t believe that everyone’s reality is different from the life they project; I’m merely saying that things aren’t always as they seem and I’m living proof of that. For many years, I had to smile for the world so my secret life of being abused stayed a secret. Nobody suspected the truth ~ that I was in crisis, stumbling through a life I couldn’t escape until the determination came from the decision that I’d had enough.

My current reality is far better than it was, but I have real anxiety about many things. Although I don’t set out to impress anyone, I still worry about how people might wrongly perceive the things I do out of my anxiety when, really, it doesn’t matter to those who know and understand what I’ve been through. We shouldn’t hide our authenticity from others; we’re only human, after all, and we’re here to learn and grow. None of us are experts on life, nor do we know everything. Our lives consist of daily lessons, many of which we won’t “get” the first time, or even the second {third…fourth…?}. Further, our authenticity stems from what we have been through in the past. Our experiences may not define us but they definitely shape us. Our experiences and our perception of those experiences change how we handle situations and what we’re willing to tolerate.

Personal authenticity is important. Striving for that authenticity is a liberating concept as long as we understand that it doesn’t give us license to treat others badly. We must learn to focus more on the things that matter to us, whatever that may be ~ raising a family, job satisfaction/security, creativity, friendships, etc. ~ and put 1000% of ourselves into those things. Further, we must resist the urge to pretend that our lives are “awesome” and “perfect” {if only for appearance’s sake} when we are really struggling or catering to those who bring toxic, unwanted drama into our lives because we can’t say “No.” When we put the focus back on what’s really important in our lives, it’s not a not a selfish thing. Achieving our goals and fulfilling our dreams/life’s purpose helps us connect with the right people while negative, toxic drama infringes upon our peace and ability to concentrate. I feel way more exhausted after dealing with other people’s crap and it takes me longer to recuperate from the effects of drama-related stress because I’m an empath who really feels what other people go through. I have to constantly remind myself to not obsess about what others may think of me and that I’m doing the best I can after what I endured for so many years. I didn’t ask for the anxiety, struggles with depression or the PTSD, but there’s no way anyone emerges from years of daily abuse unscathed.

Given what I’ve been through, I’ve learned that authenticity must remain a fluid concept. It’s not because we fundamentally change, but because we constantly adjust and adapt, based on what we experience, what we learn, and how we perceive things. We must also accept that those who cross our paths have a role in our lives, which may be temporary or permanent. Even dysfunctional relationships serve a purpose if only to teach us about what we don’t want in future relationships.

I’m a work in progress and always will be. I’m always learning, growing and evolving. I live from moment to moment {which is all I can manage} and deal with things as they happen. I try to not let my depression, anxiety, and PTSD get the better of me and strive to remember the following {in no particular order}:

  • Self-care is not a selfish act but a necessary one. {“You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” ~ Eleanor Brownn}
  • Life is not always as awesome as other people “pretend”. I hid my life of abuse so well that people were always telling me how “lucky” I was to have such a “loving husband”. {For the record, I only just gritted my teeth forced a smile and nodded which is a tell-tale sign that things aren’t that great; anyone who’s genuinely happy with their partner will exude warmth as they interject their own praise.}
  • Resisting/denying what happens only makes any given situation more difficult. I look for the lessons and embrace the opportunity for personal growth.
  • Let go of whatever makes me unhappy or causes me pain. Life is too short. {This one is more difficult when it comes to people. I only end relationships when there’s no way forward.}
  • Never apologize for my authenticity or for “being busy” with my family or life. Genuine friends understand and accept.
  • Ask for help when I need it.
  • Stay true to my beliefs, ideas, opinions, and purpose.
  • Spend time doing what I love.
  • Be with people who uplift and nourish my soul. {“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” ~ Jim Rohn}
  • Strive to look like ME and not some unrealistic, airbrushed version of someone else. Style is far better when it’s adapted to the person and not the other way ’round.
  • Always be the best version of who I am. {“The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday” ~ Matty Mullins} I’m not responsible for everything that has happened in my life. I can only own what I’m directly responsible for and choose how to react to the way other people behave or the way they treat me.

Please share this post with anyone who may need some encouragement and a gentle reminder that they’re not alone in their struggles. ❤

God Bless You!

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5 thoughts on “Why We Need To Be Unapologetically Authentic

  1. Authenticity is something I struggle with, so much so that I have made it my resolution for 2017. I realized towards the end of 2016 that I covered up, diluted, or ignored the parts of myself that I thought would alienate me from those around me. In truth, those aspects of my identity (which I am still peeling away to discover) are what make me unique and an individual. For years I struggled with the idea that there was something false and untrue about my place in the world, only to realize that those feelings come from the fact that I was not living with authenticity – I was going to events to celebrate people I didn’t like, putting time into covering up my true ideas, and putting myself in places that I didn’t want to be. As I have worked through this by analyzing my past, celebrating my interests and what they mean to me, and connecting through failures, I have deepened my relationships with friends and family, resulting in an increased quality of life. Authenticity is being politely selfish, connecting through shared hardships and joys.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Carl!

      Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to share your experience in a comment. 🙂

      A growing peeve of mine is the word “should”. Throughout my life, so many people have said, “You should ” and I think it’s a huge factor in my rebelliousness. It’s made me question the whole point of saying “You should…” because, frankly, I don’t need anything else to feel guilty about. I mean, I know people mean well, but it’s projection. “You should get out the house more.” Why? Because YOU aren’t a homebody, I shouldn’t be one either? “You should get up earlier. You’re sleeping your life away!” Uh, no. My body just happens to have a different internal clock than yours. “You should come with me to this social gathering!” Why? So I can watch YOU flit around like a social butterfly from my awkward corner of the room while I wish I could go home?

      I used to agonize over being invited to social gatherings, feeling like a complete jerk for making excuses to not go, but I have realized that I don’t have to feel bad for declining an invitation if going is only going to cause me anxiety. As you said, sometimes we do have to be politely selfish. Putting ourselves through an immense amount of suffering for someone who doesn’t really understand is no longer an option for me.

      Thank you again for weighing in. I do hope you’ll continue to visit! 🙂

      Kindest Regards,
      Carol

      Like

    1. Hello! Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment.

      You know, I thought about the quote you shared, as I was writing, but didn’t include it. It’s so true. I’ve also said that we can’t compare our life to someone else’s “Chapter 20” when we don’t know what happened during the previous 19 chapters.

      Thank you again for taking the time to leave a comment. I do hope you will continue to visit. 🙂

      {hugs}
      Carol

      Liked by 1 person

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