I’m a Fraud

I feel most free, alive, and vulnerable when I am being authentic. Authenticity is letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we really are. I can literally feel my authenticity being felt by others and I can also feel when folks are spending too much time “in their heads” to return the favor. In certain spaces, it’s a little harder for me to be authentic, like at work or at church or some networking events. (I shut down or act fake when someone is being fake around me and some environments just breed counterfeit selves.) That’s why for those who know me, I throw so many events. It gives me the power to create a safe space to be authentic and creative.

I am most inauthentic when people are telling me what they think I want to hear, or when I know folk are leveraging me without caring about me. I try not to expose them because who really is going to admit they are using you or trying to impress you. My “killing them with kindness” is very inauthentic. Unfortunately many people think they are more secure when they are projecting false images. Many of us develop our identity in response to how we think others may perceive us. We go to any extent to incorporate these imagined perceptions of ourselves into our own self-concept. (Looking-glass theory)

Each day I try to remind myself not to dare shrink myself for someone else’s comfort. Not to dare become small for people who refuse to grow into themselves. To follow my own path.

“Nothing has transformed my life more than realizing that it’s a waste of time to evaluate my worthiness by weighing the reaction of the people in the stands.” ~Brene Brown

So in the name of self-care, I’ve adopted new goals:

  • Have the courage to be imperfect, to set boundaries, and to be vulnerable;
  • Understand that we are all struggling and also all have so much strength;
  • Know that I am enough… even when I’m doing nothing but breathing

Why wait until you’re ready before you can truly be free? Find the courage to be yourself. And when unpleasant things happen, trust that life is giving you exactly what you need practice in. Trust that you have all the resources within you right now to make it through. Be gentle with yourself. You’re doing the best you can…You’re doing the best you can.

“If you’re struggling, you deserve to make self-care a priority. Whether that means lying in bed all day, eating comfort food, crying, sleeping, rescheduling plans, finding an escape through a good book, watching your favorite tv show, or doing nothing at all — give yourself permission to put your healing first. Quiet the voice telling you to do more and be more, and today, whatever you do, let it be enough. Feel your feelings, breathe, and be gentle with yourself. Acknowledge that you’re doing the best you can to cope and survive. And trust that during this time of struggle, it’s enough. ~Daniell Koepke

Choose authenticity. Choose choice. Don’t be afraid to start over or take care of yourself. Been fake at work all year? Show up yourself today. Been working your ass off? Allow yourself ample leisure time without feeling guilty. Scared to death to pursue a dream? Take action when you’re afraid. Procrastination is waiting for the right time, waiting to develop courage or waiting for things to get better. Are you seeing yourself through the eyes of those who don’t value you? Don’t pursue a connection with them today. Surround yourself with folks who energize you and inspire you to be your best self. But also remember, it’s not others peoples job to love you. It’s yours. Know your worth, even if they don’t.

We wrestle with the shame and fear of not being good enough, of being flawed, of being unattractive, of being incomplete, of feeling intense joy sometimes… Today, let someone love you wholeheartedly just the way you are. Today, let that someone be YOU. Invite grace and gratitude into your life. Be joyful that there is no copy of you in this world.