Pathway to Authenticity

The road to being the most authentic you isn’t always glorious or exciting. For me, the past year of craving this authenticity has also brought with it great turmoil. I have spent much time pondering the ramifications of becoming 100% who I am in every facet of my life. I look at some people and see their disregard for filtering their whole self in all of life’s situations and I envy them. Of course, it’s not a good habit to compare ourselves with others, but when we are craving to be unleashed from a fabricated life, seeing authentic living in others is an inspiration injection to the eyes!

A handful of times during my therapy sessions, I have asked my therapist how I should express how I am feeling in my writing or with someone in my life. She profoundly answers, “Why don’t you just be honest and say what you are feeling?” As soon as the words leave her mouth, I burst into laughter because of the simplicity. Honesty is not what I’m trying to avoid in being authentic. My deflection of saying what I’m really feeling might have something to do with the fact that for the first 30+ years of my life, I chose to silence that part of me in order to be loved and accepted by a church group. Day in and day out, I trained myself to conceal my true self; my thoughts, my feelings, my emotions, my disagreements, my questions. Like the dog pictured below. That was me. Muzzled.

Photo Credit: Jon Díez Supat via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Jon Díez Supat via Compfight cc

Honesty and vulnerability were directly opposite of what I practiced. Sure I had moments where I was honest with friends and church peeps. But I’d say that 75% of the really vulnerable moments, I was reprimanded or rejected by the people I was trying so hard to belong to.  Sadly, I wasn’t the only one trapped in a muzzle.

Tending to our soul and blossoming into our true self is comparable to the process of growing fruits or vegetables. It takes hours of quiet, persistent, consistent care (and no one is cheering you on from the bleachers). How beautiful it would be to be born so pure and genuine and be able to effortlessly live authentically! Like a coffee pot is engineered to make coffee, how ideal would it have been to know from our first breath how we were engineered to be fully functional and authentic!

But instead we were born pure and genuine, only to have to spend the rest of our lives fighting. Fighting to know what makes us truly happy and free, fighting to know what our values are, fighting to know who to invite into our life, fighting to live a meaningful life, fighting to not get overwhelmed, fighting to forgive (ourselves and others), fighting to know how to love and be loved, fighting to stay focused, fighting to understand our purpose, fighting to be our true selves!

Photo Credit - Ryan McGuire

Photo Credit – Ryan McGuire

I’m sure my perspective will shift from seeing it all as a fight, but this is where I’m at right now. That’s why you can call me a SCUFFLER. I’m in a rough, confused struggle and fight. I’m continually and thoroughly shedding old mindsets that trigger me to hide my true self. I am tirelessly trying to figure out how I want to show up in life. Right Now. Not who I once was, not who others want me to be, not what society seduces me to be, not what media batters me to be, not even who I will be in the future. But who I want to be in this moment!

As wonderful as life is, I am searching for my place in it. Not attached to a company, a group of people, a movement, or even to the loving relationships presently in my life. I want to know my place in it as an individual. At 40 years old, I am finally conscious of this and intent on pursuing it. Of course it will not be revealed to me in a moment or a month; it will take time. But after spending the first twenty years of my adulthood fulfilling other people’s plans for my life, the deepest parts of me are fueling my focus to unearth this one life I’ve been given! And if it means being in a rough, confused fight for a while, I’ll take it! Because on the other side, I know I will be more of myself. Besides, reality is that every one of us are scufflers now and then.