I started this blog in July of 2018. It’s been 16 months of big transformation. I still learn about authenticity daily, but in 16 months, I have truly learned lessons about authenticity that I didn’t think I would ever learn. Here is my short list.
You HAVE to ask for help. People can’t help if they don’t know how. If they continually can’t help, it’s time to move on and sometimes an explanation isn’t needed.
You HAVE to set boundaries. Boundaries keep us safe, especially emotionally. The backlash of setting boundaries can feel devastating, but the positive aspects will eventually be seen. It’s not ok to be treated poorly.
You HAVE to accept some kind of spirituality. It could be appreciating nature to being a member of an organized religion. Recognizing something greater than you feels humbling and comforting, whether it’s a tree or god or something in between.
You HAVE to cultivate connection within your community as Facebook just won’t cut it forever and true friendship means so much more than 100 “likes” on Facebook. One “like” a day from an actual person means so much more.
You HAVE to be vulnerable with your feelings. It’s ok to be happy. It’s also ok to be angry and sad. It’s very important to know someone who can hold all of it or several someones who can hold different pieces. Let it put. The pain has to be released (in healthy ways).
You HAVE to understand gratitude. I’m not advocating for a gratitude journal or even a regular practice. Recognizing what is good is equally as important as honoring what’s hard.
You HAVE to treat yourself well. Self care isn’t a day at the spa. Self care can be as simple as mindfully washing your dishes or giving your pet love. Self care is free. If you can afford a day at the spa or massage, go for it if it makes you feel better!
You HAVE to recognize your limits. It doesn’t matter if you are ill like me with energy being more scarce than money often. I’m realizing where and who I have to focus my energy. If someone or something drains you, please do something to change it. I know often our jobs can be draining or children, but you aren’t helpless. There might not be a lot you can change about the situation, but a mind shift might work.
You HAVE to recognize when you are wrong. You aren’t always wrong even if someone treats you horribly. I recognized yesterday that I had said something that came out very wrong and insensitive to a dear friend. I got to sincerely apologize yesterday. It made me feel good as it was accepted with compassion. If you are having a conflict with someone, don’t simply avoid it. Do your part to say you are sorry. If they accept it, wonderful. If they don’t or won’t engage in compromise, maybe you need to leave it be, and it’s not a positive relationship. I just want to reiterate that you don’t have to apologize to everyone as sometimes people actually need to apologize to you, and if they don’t, leave that too.
You HAVE to accept that you are an imperfect person who makes mistakes and forgive yourself for it.
You HAVE to treat yourself with compassion. The things I say to myself about what I’m going through are horrible. I’m learning to treat myself like I would a best friend. Truly working on writing those eviction notices to the ugly thoughts planted in my head from a childhood of pain that I allowed to be an almost entire adulthood of pain.
The truth is, you don’t have to do any of these things. If you have other ideas about authenticity, let me know. These are just some of the lessons I’ve learned in the past couple years that made so much depression, anxiety, and utter misery dissipate for me. Is my life a perfectly wonderful wealth of rosiness? Absolutely not on any level. These lessons about authenticity have taught me to handle the pain of life, learn to cry for the happy and the sad, and generally keep putting one foot in front of the other (metaphorical for me of course as I use a wheelchair 85% of the time)
I know some of you have been on this journey since the beginning with me and appreciate your support and accolades for where I’ve come from. Some of you have seen parts. Despite it, I’m grateful for the personal messages, emails, and comments posted here how writing this all out has affected you. It makes my heart feel full.
(A time a few days ago where I was working at my crazy weeds being mindful of my limitations. The first picture I ever actually thought I looked beautiful ever)