Show Up For Life In An Authentic Way
The advice to "just be yourself," sounds simple enough, but isn't always easy. It's human nature to complicate anything you can get your opposable thumbs on, including the very essence of who you are. How many of you could raise you hand high in the sky if I picked up a giant megaphone and blasted your ears with the question, "Are you showing up to life in an authentic way?"
I know my hand would be cautiously flying at half-mast, because "just being yourself" is a confusing and scary and vomit-inducing uncomfortable thing to do all of the time. It requires knowing who you truly are and unlearning all the habits that have moved you further away from that point of knowing. It means being vulnerable and taking risks and shedding your false skin. In other words: work and pain. Sounds about as fun as listening to a drippy faucet for three hours, right? But you know what's on the other side of that work and pain? A specific flavor of inner peace that comes from expressing the truest version of yourself and a deep sense of satisfaction about how you're showing up to your life every day.
So if all these glorious sprinkle-coated results are waiting for you in the promised land of authenticity, why aren't you running across the bridge that separates your current circumstance from a more fulfilling one? You'd think that just knowing you could feel more aligned and joyful on the regs would put your feet in full motion to sprint into the life you most desire, but there's a reason you stop short and stare at the bridge in stead of making a fast break for the other side, and that's because on some level you know you're going to have to leave something(s) behind.
Here's the thing: your authentic self hasn't gone anywhere, it's not MIA, and you don't need to "find" yourself. Your authentic self has always been and always will be, you just have to be willing to unearth it from beneath all the false crap you've piled on top of it. It's been buried under the lies you've told yourself about who you are and the false accusations from the mouths of others that you have agreed are real and right and true. You've developed a threshold of toleration for these beliefs and its become the devil you know. And having dinner with the devil you know feels easier than stepping out to meet someone new for drinks.
The energy and push it takes to move out of the false beliefs you've created about yourself elicits more discomfort than continuing to think the same way. In summation: change is hard. But you aren't here to spend your one beautiful and incredible life existing as a fraud, showing up as a watered-down imposter version of yourself. An ocean is never going to stop being an ocean because someone told it that it's a lake. An ocean won't shrink itself to fit someone else's expectations or gain approval. An ocean just keeps on being an ocean and saying things like, "check out my cool waves," and "it tickles when a school of fish swims fast." Sadly, you're not an ocean. You're a human. A human with the choice to live exactly as your soul desires.
Any hesitation to be yourself stems from the fear of not receiving love. If you already have the love and acceptance of people that matter to you, you want to protect that security by continuing to be the version of yourself they believe you to be. I am a natural happy and upbeat person, but sometimes I can get dark, man. The people in my life depend on and expect me to shine my sunny side up perspective on them regularly, so it always felt too risky to reveal how very un-sunny I can feel at times. I worried that if I wasn't living up to the role I had been placed in, they would grab their love right off of me and shove it back in their pocket. Conversely, if it's love you're seeking, the fear to reveal who you really are right out of the gate pulses forcefully in your veins. When you want to make a connection, impress others, or gain their approval you start to analyze and censor your authenticity.
In the name of all that is genuine, I ask you to consider this: isn't the only way to give others the chance to truly, honestly, and unconditionally love you to be your authentic self? Anyone who can love the Debbie Downer side of me as much as they love the Rainbow Bright side is investing their love in all of me. When you don't allow others to see you as you really are — glowing yet scarred, confident yet questioning — you never even give them the chance to really love you, accept you, and connect with you. And for those who can't love me as Debbie, but only as Rainbow, our love wasn't written in the stars.
In order to be authentic you're going to have to make some sacrifices. You're going to have to get uncomfortable. You'll have to part ways with the bogus bits of yourself that you've been feeding and watering and pruning all these years. Don't allow the blunt edge of your resistance to change to lazily scrape away your desire to be your true self. Decide that you're willing to move through some uneasiness. Pour one out for the devil you know and start living like an ocean. Show up to your life in an authentic way.