“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing it’s best, night and day, to make you everybody but yourself—means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight—and never stop fighting.”
E.E. Cummings sure hit the nail on the head with that one.
Just being real can feel pretty radical when you live in a society that praises perfection and focuses on status—on what type of car you drive, on how big your house is, or on how many Facebook friends you have.
Living in a world filled with constant adverts about how to be more attractive, more successful, more respected, wealthier, thinner, fitter, better— isn’t the easiest playing ground for practicing authenticity and worthiness.
It’s hard to feel good enough when you’re constantly reminded that you could in fact feel better…isn’t it?
Living in a world filled with health and wellness, fitness coaches and life coaches, life-healers and energy-dealers, we can easily slip into thinking that everyone else out there falls in to the “I got my shit together” category—that everyone else has more joy, less stress, less loneliness, less falling apart—but that isn’t true.
None of us—regardless of whether someone teaches yoga, or has a masters in philosophy or phycology, regardless of whether or not they have 25, 000 follows on Instagram, have 50 million fans, a daily two hour meditation practice, or a heart pure as gold—not one of us is immune to imperfection.
We’re all in the same boat—each one of us just doing our best.
We’re all works in progress, all currently under construction, being rinsed-over and re-vamped. No one is “there yet”—no one out there is flawlessness, or free from challenge, or pain, or suffering.
We all feel not good enough sometimes—but we forget that along with life’s other truths when we’re in the moment of comparing ourselves to others.
Every single one of has flaws and qualities to work on and places we could be better, so why do we judge ourselves so harshly, choosing to hide behind who we think we should be rather than honouring who we actually are?
Because authenticity takes vulnerability and vulnerability is the opposite of safe.
We all like to be safe and comfy and cozy—well, vulnerability doesn’t fall into that category.
It’s unfamiliar, unknown, uncertain.
It takes courage to be yourself, to drop the play at perfection and allow the people in your life to see the less-than-perfect version of you.
It’s scary, and yes, it’s raw and it’s unsafe because you could get judged or criticised in the process, but authenticity is the only option if you want to have real connection, real love and real support in this lifetime.
You can’t really be connected to people if they don’t really know who you are—and you can’t truly be supported by people if they have no idea what’s challenging you.
So, we have to start with loving ourselves first and from that self-love and worthiness, we gather the courage to be vulnerable and be authentic. And from being authentic and honouring our unique, original selves, we form deeper connections, real connection—and we receive more love, compassion and support in our lives.
There are parts of you no doubt, that could be brighter, clearer or more calm—we all have those parts—but you are worthy of being loved and accepted anyways, your imperfect self is loveable and acceptable as is.
You don’t need to wait until you’ve “arrived”—until you’re educated enough, or aligned enough—or practiced enough to really love yourself, to really be yourself and find acceptance.
If you did, you’d be waiting this entire life time.
Why not choose to love and accept yourself now so you can stop pretending and wasting energy conforming and performing?
Why not put that energy instead into living a life that’s true to who you are?
There’s no point in wasting time being anything that you’re not, or pretending not to be something that you are.
This is your chance to be you—your only chance to be you—and when you don’t fullfill that opportunity and you burry away parts of yourself from shame, or fear, or feelings of not being enough, not only do you block yourself from real love and connection with others, but you end up re-pressing yourself, depressing yourself, creating anxiety, dis-ease, resentment, anger and sadness.
Authenticity isn’t easy, no, but you can’t go wrong when you’ve been true to yourself—and you’ll never regret speaking from your heart, or moving in alignment with what you really want from your life.
It’s ok to stop pretending that you exist in a bubble of magical happiness, where nothing throws you off track, where you never get angry, or say something you don’t mean (or project blame, shame, or frustration), rather than admitting that you struggle.
That your toddler makes you want to lock yourself in the closet sometimes, that there are days when you feel you can’t possibly go on, that what was said hurt you—or that your last lover really did break your heart.
Your raw realness and the authenticity of who you are—not how well your hair is blow dried, how clean your car is, or how perfectly you juggle all the different hats in your life—is what makes you a desirable friend, partner or employee.
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Ed: Bryonie Wise