Authenticity is a muscle.
It needs to be strengthened, used regularly, and stretched, or it starts to weaken.
In our relationships, we need to actively and consistently effort to bring our most authentic selves forward.
It is a daily practice to say the hard thing. To share what we like and don’t like. To communicate our needs and desires. To hold boundaries. And to express our deepest and most sacred longings.
But if we stop doing this, we are left with 2 options: Leave the Relationship or Leave Ourselves.
Most people choose to leave themselves.
We start to cleave off the parts of ourselves that we feel are not welcome in the relationship. We start to mute our true thoughts and feelings, and end up disconnecting from our desires altogether.
When we do this again and again, something starts to happen… the muscles of authenticity begin to grow flimsy and weak. We start to lose the ability to sense our desires, deepest longings, and our beautiful boundaries.
We start to lose ourselves.
Sleepwalking through our relationship. Sleepwalking through life.
To some very young part of us, this option feels safer, perhaps more familiar, than daring to be ourselves.
But no relationship is worth staying in if you can’t be yourself within it. Period.
So what if you don’t want to leave the relationship AND you don’t want to leave yourself? What do you do?
You need to start getting real with yourself. You need to be willing to feel those uncomfortable feelings.
You need to be willing to sit in the unknown.
Years ago, in my marriage, I had formed a bad habit of withholding and stuffing my true thoughts and feelings. The relationship was falling apart. And I was falling apart.
With the help of some skilled coaches, I started to clear the pipes of my authentic voice. I'd give myself space to blurt on paper-- writing stream of consciousness in an unedited and fully unenlightened way. I would write and write until I had that full-body-tingles-feeling-of "Yes, this is what I actually feel."
Once I had honed this writing skill, I nudged myself to try blurting out loud (which felt far scarier). I would start by speaking the phrase, "What I actually feel right now is..." and I would finish the sentence as fast as I could.
I would do this practice again and again until tears began to flow and my whole body relaxed in the warm embrace of my True, Authentic, and Beautiful Feelings.
Authenticity is a daily practice.
What practices can you do to keep it alive and strong?