I am redesigning my website. I want it to look professional, authentic, and inspiring. A colleague asks me what authentic means to me. Me at my most vulnerable, me at my best, me at my worst?
Haha…! Funny question!
Is it? … Maybe not so much. Authentic is not just me at my most cutest, vulnerable, my most delightful.
Authentic is also me in the middle of a fight with my husband, having judgmental thoughts about others, or seeing my poochy belly hanging out of my t-shirt.
I am pretty sure I don’t want any of that on my website. I want the me at my most lovable best. Me worthy of love, acceptance, and belonging.
Certainly not the me that might trigger criticism. Not the me that might prompt people to turn away, or turn against. Certainly not any part of me that might trigger being alone, all by myself.
When I consider the parts of me I want to keep private, I start thinking of the times when fear of rejection stopped me from living my truest dreams: my longing to go to theater school, to tell the first love of my life I had a crush on him, or to pursue publication of my first children’s story.
When I sit with this fear of rejection, I wonder if courage means taking a social risk and still doing what I believe is true? Maybe courage doesn’t mean risking my life to help war victims in Syria, or offering myself to replace the inmate on death row just before his execution.
Maybe my courage lies in holding on to my vegan diet, even if others find it weird. Or calling upon my co-mediators in the lunch meetup to recycle their plastic plates, instead of throwing them away. Or repelling from a cliff with a terrifying fear of heights, with guys I’d never met before.
What if authenticity means living your deepest aspirations, even if you might face negative consequences? Would my answer to my colleague be that authenticity means being true to my values, living them in everyday life?
Courage and authenticity seem interrelated, especially if we’re not sure we’ll face an empathetic, accepting response. So my questions to you are:
- What means authenticity to you?
- How is courage connected to authenticity?
- What comes up for you?
Let me know, I would love to read your response.
Playing hide and seek
My niece and I used to play hide and seek. She would hide behind the curtain, and I would open a drawer and ask out loud “Is Floor here?”, then exclaim “No, she isn’t!”. Then open another drawer and ask the same question, and of course, give the same answer. Till I had opened all drawers and cabinet doors, and finally looked behind the curtains: “Oh, there she is!”. With surprise and delight, of course.
Floor loved it. As soon as she was found, she would tell me to hide behind the curtain, and open all drawers and cabinet doors. “Is Elly here? No, she isn’t!” Till she found me, with as much surprise and delight as I had done, of course. I loved it too.
Hiding behind a curtain of fear
As adults we often play this game too. Usually with less delight.
We hide behind a curtain of fear, self-doubt, resentment, negativity and despair. Then we complain that God isn’t here. (or our husband, friend, mom, sibling, colleague for that matter), because we can’t see Him. And whén the Spirit finds us, we pull the curtain closer, because we are too scared to be seen for whom we really are. We are sure that our nakedness will reveal our basic flaws. We cannot believe that our vulnerability shows only beauty and basic goodness.
Being our best self
Inspiration means to be filled with Spirit. To be filled with a sense of purpose, passion and presence. It means nothing more than letting God do Her part, let Her do what she does best: carry our worries, concerns, insecurity and anger. So that we can do our part: bringing our soul to life. We relax into the sense of support our breath gives us, and feel into what we truly want. We breath in, and listen to our heart. We hear her tell us what brings us alive. Even if this is a so-called “have to”, we can still feel with how much joy and gratitude we can do our task. Because we celebrate that we are alive, that we have this opportunity to contribute, that we have legs that carry us, and hands that touch. Because we can be the best street-sweeper to be found.
You can be your best self in any situation. Thàt’s being inspired.
Still saying God doesn’t exist? Drop your curtain, get into the arena of life, and show up as your vulnerable, authentic, beautiful self.
And feel inspiration take you to the next level.
I wish you a happy new year!