I have been reflecting on my journey. At the beginning of 2016 I set my intention for the year ahead. I decided that it would be my most authentic year yet. This process had already been underway for some time without me naming it as such, but 2016 was a year of transformation that would push me way outside of my comfort zone.
I was committed to this intention, and I worked hard! There were times that I found myself stumbling over my words, finding it almost impossible to express my authentic thoughts and emotions, but then there were other times I found myself being pleasantly surprised by the words I heard coming out of my mouth, and the warm feeling I had in my heart. I had challenging and transformative conversations that felt nourishing and expansive. There were times that I felt deeply connected to others yet there were many times when I felt completely alone.
During this time, I witnessed the impact that my authenticity had on those around me. Some people opened up more, and thanked me for inspiring them, but there were others that looked confused and distanced themselves from me. I worried what people were thinking about me. Was I going too deep? Was I scaring people away? Did people like the ‘real’ me? Did I like the real me?
I questioned many of the connections I had in my life, and took an audit of how I felt around people. As someone who has the gift of being an empath, I feel other people’s emotions which makes this process much more challenging. I tried to work out who actually cares about me, and who am I convenient to?
At first communication felt clumsy and awkward and I felt scared. I developed tools to challenge my negative self talk and often said to myself ‘follow your heart and trust the process’. I reached out to others on a similar path hoping that someone else would understand and I was able to start the process of making new friends.
At times, I found myself falling back into old habits and adopting my chameleon like abilities depending on who I was with. ‘Just be you’, I told myself, but I wasn’t quite sure who that was yet. I opened my heart up and showed my vulnerable self to some people, then felt too exposed and became overly defensive. I told myself ‘I don’t want to live in the shadows anymore, I CAN do this’.
Expressing my authentic self has, at times, felt completely overwhelming, yet at the same time it has been liberating. I feel fantastic. My confidence and self-esteem have radically improved as a direct result of this transformative practice. I have come to the conclusion that everything interesting happens outside of my comfort zone. Authenticity is a journey not a destination and I continue to practice. I do not claim to be perfect (and I would be hesitant to believe any ‘guru/expert’ that does), but I have significant experience, tools and insights from this practice and if something I have written resonates with you, please feel free to get in touch. You’re not alone. I can help you.
I write about my journey so openly because I think many other people feel the same, yet often we hide. When we expose our tender heart we run the risk of it being hurt and so sometimes it’s easier to pretend that we don’t ‘feel’. We stay in our comfort zones, we put up a mask, and we hide where others cannot see us. I have found the courage to expose my tenderness and I invite you to do the same.
I am passionate about creating spaces where we can talk openly without ridicule, shame or judgement. What I have experienced through my personal life and working with ‘Authentic Connections’ groups is that it is only once we truly open up, that we can truly connect.
If you feel like you can relate to this blog post, please feel free to connect in the comments section below or send me a message. Remember that exposing your more tender parts is an act of courage, you can do it, and I will support you with love.