I make a very conscientious effort to be authentic in every area of my life. Authenticity is something that I value. So many times I've heard myself saying "This is me, the good, the bad, and the ugly".
I really believed these statements to be true. Then one day I was talking to a friend about how someone hurt my feelings. I told him that I was upset with this person. "No, I haven't told him how I feel" I tell my friend. I value my relationship with this person and I'm afraid that if I tell him how I feel that it may put a strain on the relationship. Is this relationship that I value authentic? How can it be authentic if I don't feel like it could handle an honest conversation?
Someone I know is behaving in a way that makes me uncomfortable. Sneaking around, gossiping, and looking to make trouble for others. I considered this person a friend but her behavior making it hard to continue being her friend. How can I trust her? Trust is the foundation of any relationship. How authentic am I if I can't express my feelings for fear that they will be used against me?
The relationship between vulnerability and authenticity is a very curious thing. When we choose to be authentic vulnerability is part of the package. Isn't it? Can you be authentic without being vulnerable? Whenever I have to express my authentic feelings I do feel vulnerable. What if the other person views my vulnerability as a weakness and uses it to attack me? Is it safe to be authentic with everyone? Is "selective authenticity" really authentic?
I feel incredibly vulnerable when I show up as my authentic self. What if someone doesn't like the authentic me? What if I speak my authentic feelings from my heart and someone is offended, or worse gets angry? Is the act of living your life with authenticity worth the risk of being vulnerable?
I believe that once we all let our guards down and choose authenticity we can see that our vulnerabilities are not so different. When we see that we are all struggling with the same need to be accepted, same need to be loved, same need to be heard we may begin to help each other up instead of looking for ways to tear each other down.
It is only when we can accept our own vulnerabilities that we can begin to truly live authentically. Once we are comfortable in our vulnerabilities then we must hold space for others to do the work to find comfort in their vulnerability.
It takes a tremendous amount of strength to look authentically at our vulnerabilities. It takes even more strength to find comfort in them. How comfortable are you being authentically vulnerable?