The Brutal and Beautiful Truth of Authenticity

Maybe it’s the full moon or simply the reality of being alive, but this past week my friends, colleagues, clients and I have discussed the beautiful and brutal aspect of showing up as your true self. I believe it is author and activist Glennon Doyle who coined the term “brutiful” - and I love it. So if anyone feels like their butts are being kicked lately, know you aren’t alone, in fact you are in good company.

Sometimes being authentic and owning your strengths and weaknesses or sharing your truth can be freeing. Other times it can feel exceptionally lonely. While the bravery it takes to be vulnerable and honest with yourself and others is rarely comfortable, in the long term it is often worth it. It’s worth it because you are practicing being and becoming your authentic self.

So... if you are brave enough to show up in the world and own your divorce, your dreams, your renewed commitment to seeking sobriety, being honest about your sexual and/or gender identity, the honesty that parenting is rocking you to your core... please know sometimes being real will feel freeing and other times it might feel scary. This is NORMAL and OK and YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

If showing up in the world ends up being more brutal than beautiful lately, one important question to ask yourself is: Am I sharing my truth with the people who have earned it? If not, you might be able to set yourself up for better success if you reserve your most tender truths for those safe and deserving of the most inner aspects of your life. A difficult truth is that sometimes our family members and/or close friends aren’t in a place to hold our truth based on their behavior. That can feel incredibly challenging. So we need to look at who has truly, CURRENTLY earned our trust and truth - allowing that to change and grow with time and experience.

Stay brave, stay honest, and know it might result in some highs and lows but it is worth it because growth is both exciting AND painful. You and your authentic self are worth it.

Sara Hughes-Zabawa, LMSW has extensive experience working with trauma survivors, depression & anxiety, LGBT+ individuals and their families, and faith transitions. She is also a yoga instructor and uses mindfulness training to support clients in cultivating self-care practices.

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