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The Road to Authenticity

January 27, 2017

Recently I had an out-of-body experience where I spoke a need and felt dismissed and spoke up (again) only to meet a brisk comment, and there.it.was. That tension of saying my thoughts even if it wasn’t understood and wanting not to appear difficult or ungrateful. The latter won.

And I hated it.

I slunk out feeling ashamed and frustrated for allowing nice to trump honest.

Which is ironic because when the actual event took place, I was playing out an entirely different scenario in my imagination where I spoke up. Then spoke up again. Where I stayed my ground with confidence. And after being ignored a third time, kindly got up and excused myself out the door.

Have you been there? The tension between reality and how we actually want to respond? The fight for authenticity? For living consistently from our hearts to our actions back to our hearts?

In my attempts to keep peace, I fear I’ve allowed being nice to trump being honest. And that, my friends, is not real.

Well, there’s a new sheriff in town and she’s about having her outsides match her insides.

Later, I shared about this experience with a friend, about wanting my heart to authentically reflect my words, and my hands waved in the air searching for a definition when she passionately declared, Congruent. You want to be congruent.

And I’m gesturing wildly like a mad juggler, squealing, Yessssss. THAT’S the word I’ve been looking for. Congruency, come to mama.

Being congruent trusts your gut.
Being congruent puts words to your gut.
Being congruent speaks with confidence and love and graceful permission.
Being congruent doesn’t apologize for thinking thoughts and feeling feelings.
Being congruent is the test of any soul who desires to live authentically.

This journey towards authenticity, toward celebrating what’s really going on in my head and heart and finding words to honestly match, is a vulnerable path. Honesty, I’m finding, can’t exist apart from genuineness or enjoyment, but in fact compliment and cement one another as they overlap into congruent living. If I’m thinking something, but feel too apprehensive to communicate it, 9 times out of 10, the feeling isn’t out-of-line, it’s simply uncomfortable.

As I check in with my insides and reflect if they are consistent with my outsides, I’m asking simple questions that help me realign when I teeter toward nice because honest seems scary. These inner nudges bring life-changing freedom as I’m diving into what it looks like to live congruently:

Am I actually enjoying this?
Or, am I afraid to say what I’m genuinely thinking and feeling? If so, why?
If I wasn’t going to see this person again how would I respond?
If I saw this person every day, how would I respond?
Am I being honest with myself?
Is that honesty congruent with my actions?
Despite the current circumstance, am I responding from a place of authenticity?

I do believe we can claim our voice, our honest feelings and thoughts and express them with confidence knowing they are valid and true and when we speak them into air, without caring for how others respond, we become braver and more fully human. We are journeying the road of authenticity, friends. We are being congruent, and it’s a brave, beautiful process.

I’m all for filtering through wisdom when reaction threatens to run rampant, but when the above experience went down, I asked myself, Am I being true to myself or not wanting to hurt someone’s feelings by disagreeing or claiming my voice?

There’s a difference between dimming and declaring.

There’s being congruent. There’s allowing our outsides to match our insides.

So if you’re in a space where you habitually offer a dose of overly nice out of fear of speaking up, look deep inside and ask yourself, What am I really feeling? Do my outsides appropriately reflect my insides? Am I experiencing enjoyment? Am I living free and me and honestly? Am I being congruent?

This, my friends, is where transformation shakes hands with reality.

And you’re invited.

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4 Comments

  • Reply Rita O'kelley February 4, 2017 at 4:05 am

    Thought of you when I read this.

  • Reply Lynn Burke February 5, 2017 at 10:03 pm

    This is a great article….I struggled for years with matching my insides to my outside. It started to become clear to me when 20 years ago my counselor said…you know, you aren’t great at figuring out how you really feel so just trust your gut. If you’re feeling uncomfortable, then stop and take your time to figure out what’s happening. It changed my life and it’s wonderful to just stop and listen to yourself. It’s a life long struggle, but it gets easier each year. Thanks for your sharing…

    • Reply bekah February 12, 2017 at 7:46 am

      Lynn, thank YOU for sharing. Wow! A 20 year journey- I must learn from you. I love your words: “stop and take your time to figure out what’s happening…” wise words indeed. Thank you for being YOU.

  • Reply Lindsey February 17, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    This is amazing. My feelings put to words. Funny how there’s an inner battle of emotion when if the truth is spoken it probably wouldn’t even be an issue. But the desire to please all trumps true authenticity. Hope all is well on your daily journey! Love this!

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