Sunday, October 5, 2014

authentically speaking, i can't wait to do this!!

I'm pretty much an open book. I have no problem telling most people my problems and seeking advice. Perhaps I'm a little too open with personal things? I'm sure my husband thinks so. Basically, I'm the exact opposite of Brooke (here we go again with opposites). Out of all of the things Brooke and I will be focusing on this year, authenticity is the one area I feel confident in. She's pretty much the most well-rounded and down-to-earth person I know, so to feel like I'm ahead in the game for once boosts my confidence with this blossoming intentionally thing.

I used to think I also had high walls built up around me, that no one was ever going to get to know "the real me". I was sure I was the black sheep of the family (being a middle child and all), and the way I bounced from social group to social groups reaffirmed that I was never going to fit in anywhere. Then college happened and my walls crumbled. I found confidence and self-esteem in areas of my life I wasn't even sure existed. I finally felt safe with a solid groups of friends, and  relationships within my family blossomed. Everything I had kept bottled up started pouring out--fears, struggles, likes/dislikes, dreams, anxieties, everything! What a wonderful thing to finally feel like I had discovered my true self! Since graduating college four years ago, my confidence and openness has waxed and waned but I generally feel that I've been able to stay true to myself, letting my light shine.

So here's the where the difficulty comes in: I don't know what to focus on for authenticity! I know I have improvements to make, we can always improve, but I'm not quite sure where I should start. Currently, I'm reading a book by Brene Brown--The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are--and I'm loving the concept of embracing imperfection. I feel like a pretty authentic person, but I struggle with perfectionism. I speak my mind all I want, am pretty set in what I think is right and wrong, have a clear sense of direction, and feel extremely settled with the life I've built for myself. However, it's very difficult for me to let anyone see any sort of struggle. I can talk about it all I want, but when it comes to seeing the struggle in action...what a different story. It's rare that anyone (even my husband) sees me cry, and it's almost as rare that  anyone sees me rattled (in fact, I've been told by many coworkers that I'm the most level-headed at the school...say what?). I've been born and bred with the "fake it til you make it" motto. I've recently succumbed to the "you're not good enough" message that plagues our society in everything from body image to religious affirmation.

In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brown states that part of choosing authenticity is "cultivating the courage to be imperfect, to set boundaries, and to allow ourselves to be vulnerable" (p. 50). I think that's where I need to start--cultivating courage to be imperfect. I need to be more patient with myself. I need to realize that I'm no longer a size 4 and probably never will be, that I can only handle so much responsibility at work until I break, that I can follow through on only so many promises until I starting failing people, that I can't take care of others until I take care of myself. Basically, I'm not superwoman (even though I'd like to be).

While my goals aren't set in stone (I'll let you know when they are), I'm nearly positive "courageously embracing imperfection" is going to be my guidepost. If you have any ideas on how I can cultivate that kind of courage, please share! I'll need some support!


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