Life Bitch Slap #4: “Authenticity Requires Acceptance”

joanna in reindeer ears

Being foolish makes for one hell of a life.

I was reading something earlier today and I came across this line — “There is no right or wrong way to be yourself. The basis of authenticity is acceptance.”

Snap. I must have read that sentence three times. I uttered it out loud (like a crazy person I might add) a few times. I was, for all intensive purposes, bitch slapped. Authenticity requires acceptance. 

Acceptance…what a freaking word. Accepting others. Accepting boundaries. Accepting loss. All of it can be so hard at times. But perhaps the biggest challenge of them all? To accept yourself. I mean like — for real– 100% accept yourself.

Impossible right? Well I don’t think so. Lately, I’ve been thinking about the beauty that is authenticity. It’s hard to imagine living a happy life without being authentic. It’s a wonderful thing to wake up and feel like your words are your own, and you are acting out of some grander morale code that is rooted in being honest, true, and honorable. I’ve seen a lot of that over the years. People I know have shown me what it means to be authentic to themselves…

My best friend dreamt of many careers and she has pursued each and every single one of them — nursing, politics, theatre, literature. That is being true to yourself.

My father only speaks to things he has lived through, he doesn’t pretend to know more than he does, he doesn’t speak to that which he doesn’t have something to add too. That’s honest advice.

My brother and sister-in-law have been together over a decade and never got married. They are in love, happy and not legally married. They’ve decided to ignore a societal expectation they don’t believe in, and I admire them so much for that.

I love it. I love the idea of authenticity thriving in each of our lives. But damn it’s so hard…why is that?

I think it comes down to acceptance of ourselves. To be our most authentic we must acknowledge our faults and stop trying to please everyone around us at the loss of ourselves. We need to stop being afraid of looking foolish, or letting our inner hot mess shine…cuz it happens. BEING FOOLISH & BEING A HOT MESS HAPPENS. Embrace it friends.

You can’t offer true value if you are second guessing your core values. Should I agree? Should I back down? Last time I did this and failed. What if I am wrong? That other time I was wrong. Ugh…{smack self}.

You have to release yourself of it all and just accept yourself. Some of it worked. Some of it didn’t. It’s your story and you need to have faith that it leaves you with something to offer this crazy word. That is real. Might be a little messy, but it’s real.

You know that feeling at the end of some days when you feel like you offered real value? That demands you live an authentic life and authenticity requires acceptance.

So as you kick off the New Year, maybe this year you cut yourself a little slack. You release yourself of all the expectations. You just groove to your authentic beat. Who knows where it will take you…

  • Kris Roadruck

    The most authentic people I know are very divisive  People either love them or hate them, there are basically no lukewarm middle ground followers for them. That said, the fact that they don’t really care and just be themselves is what makes them worth following for those of us that are on the love them side of the line in the sand. I like to think I operate that same way. I know it pisses a lot of people off, but on the bright side it makes knowing who my real friends are really easy to figure out. When you are constantly diplomatic its hard to tell who in your circle only likes (or puts up with) the diplomatic version of yourself and who actually likes you for you. Anyway great post!

  • Aleyda Solis

    I love that you’ve targeted this challenge. Unfortunately we’re educated to follow the masses, traditions, authority without questioning them which make difficult sometimes to be authentic, to do what we really believe in or like without being afraid to be “different” or “weird” or a “loser”. At the end we need to realize that we’re all different and if we want to really enjoy our lives we need to live it in our own terms not in others. It’s a challenge to do it though because of how (even developed democratic) societies work. Have an amazing 2013 :)