Yesterday, I shared with you how I plan to keep life simple in 2013. I’ve learned in recent years that keeping it simple, also means being authentic.
The most exhausting thing in life is being insincere. ~Anne Morrow Lindbergh
I listen to my husband, José talking on the telephone to an elderly lady who’s calling for advice on how to leave her property to her children. She’s clearly biased in favor of her son, but she depends on her daughter for financial support! José, as always, refuses to give advice to people (which is a really good thing I’m learning too.) I can hear him telling her: “I’m not going to tell you what to do, I will only tell the implications of all the options.” The lady is possibly upset – because she’s not hearing what she wants to hear. But I think, Jose told her what she needed to hear.
I recently listened to a conversation between Cheryl Richardson and Iyanla Vanzant. Iyanla talked about not allowing people to walk all over you. She talks about the ‘pathology‘ of her family: to ignore, deny, dismiss bad behavior. She has taught herself to tell people when they hurt her or when she cannot tolerate their behavior. I think about how I’m learning to do that too. I’m not always successful but, I’m getting there.
In the past few months, I have been sporadically attempting to write morning pages of the kind recommended by Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way. As I started to write these three pages first thing every morning, a lot of things from my childhood and past reared their head. I could see patterns of behavior forming in childhood based on certain events and experiences. I could see all the relationship transactions more clearly. Frankly, it was a scary and uncomfortable experience.
This morning, I get sudden clarity about why I haven’t been writing morning pages for the past month. I see my family ‘pathology’ cropping up: suppressing uncomfortable emotions, tolerating behavior that hurts and avoiding uncomfortable conversations. Perhaps this also explains why I’m so resistant to feedback – I tend to view it as criticism. I tend to clam up or defend my actions.
I recall an incident from earlier this year that was a defining moment for me. I wrote a post in which I shared a hurtful experience. My blogging friend responded with a comment which hurt me because I felt misunderstood by her. I responded with a rather rude comment. We then took the conversation to Facebook, messaging each other. I told her that I thought she was rude, criticising her person rather than telling her how her behaviour affected me. She wrote back, pointing this out to me and suggesting that I should communicate using ‘I-statements‘. My first reaction was want to write back to her and tell her I knew all about ‘I-statements’, being a communication trainer. Instead, I took time off to introspect. I realized there was a pattern in how I responded to what I perceived as criticism. I chose to accept my mistake, explain my feelings and apologize. In other words, I chose to be authentic. Since she too was authentic in her response, our friendship has got much deeper. I now understand and admire her more and am open to be challenged by her. Why was this a defining moment, you ask? Because in that conversation, I felt the deep peace and joy of being completely authentic.
This year I will focus on keeping it authentic. I will shun the pathology of avoidance of uncomfortable issues and emotions. I plan to resume my morning pages, to work on myself and to heal my past. I will open myself to blogging about topics that might be uncomfortable to me and to you, my readers – not to shock or offend. But to keep it authentic.
I leave you with quotes on being authentic from two bloggers who I hold in high esteem.
Everything we put out for others to consume is already epic, because we’re opening ourselves up to critique, belittlement, and crushing disappointment if others don’t like it. ~ Danny Brown in his post You Don’t Have To Be Epic Every Time.
I’m keeping life simple and authentic in 2013. What are you doing?