It is naive to think that self-assertiveness is easy.
To live self-assertively – which means to live authentically –
is an act of high courage.
That is why so many people spend the better part of their lives
in hiding – from others and also from themselves.
– Nathaniel Branden
It takes courage to find our voice, to declare our purpose and to move forward toward our desires. And it also takes the discovery of our authentic self. There is deep and authentic You that exists underneath the layers of “need”, the layers of “should-ing”, the constant “wanting” and not doing, and the voices of others chattering away in our mind. When we are living in this state, burdened by these layers and the constant ring of others in our head we become hidden. We can become frozen and lose our ability to move forward, to take the first small steps toward achieving our dreams and aspirations. And we can become exhausted.
Hiding our SELF from ourselves
I was doing a workshop yesterday with a beautiful group of women all of whom are moving back into the work force and are working toward creating financial stability in lives. We were exploring the various dimensions of our wellness and I asked the group what is one small first step they would commit to in order to begin creating a change in one dimension. A woman in the group, we will call her Elizabeth, shared that she really wanted to get healthy and lose weight. She wanted to commit to start with walking each day. When I started to push her a bit to really get her to commit and to be held accountable, you could see the pain in her face.
And then I asked the telling question, “What would be different in your life if you lost even just 20 pounds to start? What would be different for you if you could move from walking 15 minutes a day to 30 or 40 minutes a day?”
The tears came. There was so much pain, so much disbelief that she had it in her to create this change. Elizabeth had lost belief in herself. And she could not even imagine what she could create for herself. There was no picture, no vision, no deep authentic desire to support her to move forward. She had lost her authentic self – she was hiding behind her weight and mostly she hiding from herself.
Dropping the masks we wear can lead to healing who we are
This conversation took so much courage and as we continued, Elizabeth began to open up to these truths and to herself. She spoke courageously about how tired and exhausted she was. She began to speak her truth from a new place – from a place of authenticity and courage.
I hope to stay in touch with Elizabeth and it is my prayer for her that she will continue to look inside, to peel off the layers she has shrouded herself with, discover what she truly desires in her life, what her purpose is and what vision she can create for herself and her family. My desire for Elizabeth is that she can begin to assert herself, to make her needs and desires known, and to create boundaries for herself so she can move on the path toward her authentic and amazing self.
When you know who you are, you can become Authentically You
The journey to authenticity is a journey of self-awareness. A journey of willingness to look deep inside at our current truths. It is a journey of taking risks to step onto the path you truly desire, regardless of the nay-sayers around you.
We each and everyone of us have a gift to bring to the world. We can only discover this gift when we have the courage to live in our truth and assert our one true and authentic self.
Live Well. Live Alive.