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You Can Grow Authenticity by Practicing It

Uncategorized Jan 09, 2021

In Brene Brown’s book The Gifts of Imperfection:  Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are, she sums up her research on shame and vulnerability with her “10 Guideposts for Wholehearted Living.”

Each of the 10 contains a powerful gut-punch so full of REAL wisdom for anyone who wants to intentionally grow into who they REALLY are.  I recently decided to take on each one, one at a time, making my current one a daily mantra for a whole month, before moving on to the next one.  I can tell you they hold much food for thought – and new insights.  I believe that the insights that come from working on these Guideposts can engender healing from life’s wounds.

The first of the Guideposts reads this way:  “Cultivating Authenticity:  Letting Go of What People Think.”  Dr. Brown says that authenticity is a practice.  We can consciously choose to be authentic in our relationships with our self and with others.  Like many important choices, choosing to be authentic isn’t easy.  It takes courage.

So what is authenticity?  If we are to choose to take it on as a practice, we need to know what it is.  Here’s how Dr. Brown defines it from her research:  “Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.” (p. 50)

Do you see at least some of the inherent challenges?  For everyone who decides to practice this kind of authenticity?  It takes courage for every human to take this on. 

For those of us who have been spiritually and emotionally abused by an authority figure in our church, I believe that these challenges can seem impossible.  We have become vulnerable and have experienced quite a few “shame triggers” that can cause us to want to “stay small and quiet” in the hopes that the abuse won’t continue or be as bad.  The abuse can devour our authenticity.

Being authentic takes us out of our comfort zone and isn’t always the safe thing to do.  However, I completely believe Dr. Brown’s research and am fully committed to it.  Yet it’s so easy for me to “stay small and quiet” when to speak up would be risky.  But losing my authenticity in that moment is even more full of risk – I lose who I am.

Dr. Brown says that when she’s in a vulnerable situation there’s a mantra that she repeats:  “Don’t shrink.  Don’t puff up.  Stand on your sacred ground.”  (p. 53-54)

Exactly.  Do we dare have the courage to practice our authenticity?

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And remember, you're awesome!  And God holds you in the palm of His hand.

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