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Authenticity in real life

Confessions-2I’m continuing to think about authenticity, still flowing over from last week. That’s the thing about it, when you set your focus on authenticity, you look for it in all areas of your life. But there’s a balance, I think, between authenticity and showing up well.

Here’s how it played out in my house last night. Long week and before I went home, I ran some errands and stopped by Whole Foods to get dinner for me and my husband. By the time I got home, I was hungry, not a good start. I walked into the house thinking that all I wanted to do was put on cozy clothes and eat dinner. But then I did the house scan. Some of you might know what I mean. The glance around your surroundings where you see every dish, spot, paper and dust bunny that needs to be cleaned up or put away. I’m wired in a way where I can’t relax until everything is done. As part of the scan, I see my husband who got home ahead of me, on the couch, watching TV. And I’m bugged. The conversation in my head was (read at an increasing pace here…) why didn’t he do all that stuff when he got home because it had to get done and how could he just watch TV with all that stuff to do?!?

What came out of my mouth was, “hey,” and then I started to do the stuff. Not gladly, but irritated. And he knew. Oh, they always know. I’d like to say I pulled my head out…but I didn’t, at least not for a little bit. Nice entrance, Lisa.

So I was authentic…but I didn’t show up well. Authenticity is about being who you are, being comfortable with yourself, feeling brave to stand on your feet knowing you’re showing people who you truly are, not who you think they expect you to be. Being authentic is also being human and realizing that we are not perfect. In the same way that we are striving to be our authentic self, so are others around us. My husband and I are not wired the same. He says it would be boring if we were. I know I should agree, but really…what a clean house we’d have (side note…my husband actually is very clean…he’s home dusting for me while I write this…our timing is just different)!

Today, I’ve thought a lot about that interaction last night. Each of us struggle with different things, one of mine is that evenings are a roll of the dice for my mood. I am a morning person through and through, more creative, more energy, more talkative (once I get up and going). Evenings, I’m tired, exhausted, talked out. In thinking about last night, and other similar interactions, I realized that the person who showed up at my house really wasn’t my authentic self. I wasn’t showing up how I believe I am in my heart. And I didn’t like that reality.

What do you do about that? The first step is realizing that it’s even happening. I’m working on being authentic and that means pulling in the true parts of me even when I’m cranky. In fact, I may need to pull them in even more when I’m off center because I need the steadying force that those characteristics give me. And I think it’s also letting go of pride enough to say, “I’m not showing up how I’d like to, forgive me and can we start over.” Your partner, your close friends, they know you’re off even if you don’t say a thing.

I like to remind myself of something I said a few weeks ago, “once you let go of perfection, you can be good.” Authentic is good, but it’s not perfect. Authentic balances with human. Authentic is brave.

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