“Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.” ~ Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection
I woke up convinced I was a failure.
Living as the only extrovert in a houseful of introverts, I’m constantly beating myself up for over sharing and expressing feelings in a way that can sometimes cause my family members to shut down. It’s not that I’m offensive, I’m off the cuff. I don’t hide my true feelings well. And sometimes, no matter what your personality type, that can be tricky.
I’m wrestling with discernment, distinguishing the difference between being other than and using discretion. The long pause before speaking has become my best friend.
Please tell me I’m not the only one who struggles with this.
When I read Streams in the Desert the same day I woke up convinced I was an utter failure at communicating, it was like pouring butane on a smoldering fire. This is what I read:
I never saw in her even a hint of an emotion unbecoming to someone who had drunk from the river of the water of life.
That line, well, it made me angry.
Why is it wrong to express emotion, I thought. Why is Christian virtue equated with suppressing our natural feelings? After all, we aren’t robots.
I need to know that you struggle, that you get angry and rant, that you think unkind thoughts at the absolute worst time. I need to know that you have a breaking point, a hot button that looks like a temper tantrum in the middle of the day when things don’t go as you envisioned.
I want to know that you are frail and weak as well as strong and brave; that you don’t have everything figured out and you’re at peace with saying, “I don’t know” when you actually don’t know.
Because how do we understand the transformative power of mercy and grace if we have life all figured out. When we only present ourselves as selectively worded status updates, we alienate people who need hope. People need our failures and messiness, just as much as our victory and joy.
By noon on the day I woke up with a vulnerability hangover, I began to practice loving myself. I admitted to my husband how I felt. Alongside his empathy, I reminded myself that I’m not a failure, that when I judge others and myself, I usurp the power of God. Because there isn’t a single one of us who can be everything to the people we love. Only God can do that.
I don’t have to evaluate myself because I’m not competing to become His equal, just His child growing into loving herself. On some days, like this one, I let go of who I think I need to be so I can embrace who I am.
What about you, how do you practice authenticity?
Want to join us for 31 Days of Letting Go in The Deep End? Click on the button for a reading schedule and links to the series. Yesterday’s post has all the details about our companion book club on Thursday’s and how you can subscribe to posts.