The practice of being authentic and living an authentic life is an incredibly courageous one. And in my experience it is one of great vulnerability.
I often feel like ‘knowing who I am ‘ changes almost daily. Since beginning to walk the compassionate self-awareness path I am constantly learning and seeing new aspects of myself. Noticing my feelings and thoughts, the stories I tell myself and the often old and limiting beliefs that drive my behaviours. Noticing the subtle ways I can hold myself back, or sabotage myself when I want to say no to opportunities that arise because they scare me. Afraid to fully own my strengths and talents. My increasingly subtle but still prevalent lack of self-worth. My strong and super normal human desire to feel loved, to belong and yet within that the ways I can abandon myself, abandon my authenticity, in the hope I will feel that love, that sense of belonging. The ways I people-please, don’t speak up, put other’s needs ahead of my own, try to control others and myself, push through, try too hard to be perfect, pretend I am ok when really I am struggling.
Yet, ‘to be brave enough to live it’, to be brave enough to live authentically I have to practice dropping all of my old behaviours, my ways of being in the world the make me feel safe, my old limiting beliefs. I have to practice showing up authentically and at times that can mean feeling red raw on the inside, scared I will be judged, criticised, rejected for who I am in this moment, for not being enough. Scared I will feel unlovable and end up being all alone.
And the antidote to this vulnerability, for me, is self-compassion.
The practice of self-compassion allows me to ‘know who I am and be brave enough to live it’, to practice the vulnerable act of fully showing up to all that comes up within me and life, to live authentically. Even when sometimes all I really want to do is hide behind my old masks! And when I do, again, self-compassion is the answer. Being authentic is a practice, a life-long ever changing practice.
With great warmth