For me, authenticity is the best form of self-love. I had spent a good share of my life hiding how I’m really feeling when it doesn’t suit other people.
When someone would say “You don’t mind, do you?”, if I cared about the person I’d say “It’s fine.”. If someone asked if I was mad, I would attempt to prevent them from feeling like they let me down or they should apologize. What did that do to me? It made me feel weak, dishonest and angry at myself.
You try to push down your tempest. See how that works for you! You just choke because it gets larger and resists you. It wants to come out and unless you give it what it wants, it’ll get lodged in the throat! … or unleash its wrath. Either way, it won’t be pretty for someone.
The worse part of what I was doing was the ‘who’ of my unauthenticity. You see, I had no problem being myself around strangers or people I sort of knew and had ticked me off. I didn’t pick fights … I was just very good at being real and assertive. I chose to be ingenuine with the people I loved and loved me back.
Did I mind? Yah, I bloody mind! Am I angry? Damn straight! It could have been that easy but instead I attempted to fight the storm … which we know is a really special brew of ‘something wicked this way comes’ when we opt for a darker brew by allowing it to sit longer!
I was treating emotions as good or bad, positive or negative. I’ve come to realize that these ‘negative’ emotions aren’t negative after all. They too serve a purpose. If I’m scared, suspicious, angry, maybe that’s just what one needs to move ahead or past something. Maybe it’s what we need to go through in order to be truly close to someone. If a person can’t show respect and if they let you down or don’t think to apologize, maybe you’re better off without them inside the walls of your kingdom. If someone thinks you’re being ridiculous and disregards your feelings without giving you a decent reason and tells you their viewpoint without care for how they deliver that information, maybe you’re not meant to be that close. You don’t relate and you both may need to move on.
We do have to allow others to be authentic and so getting our backs up without being prepared to listen when we express how we’re feeling is not fair to other people. You know how it goes … treat others the way you want to be treated. I’m not saying friends and family can’t disagree or that sometimes you can’t live with differing opinions. What I am saying is that no one should be expected to choke down their emotions around the ones they love the most.
I’m suggesting that if two people are being authentic with each other, they can decide whether the matter at hand is something they can live with disagreeing about or if it’s a dealbreaker. If it’s a dealbreaker that’s okay. There may be no right or wrong in a situation … sometimes it’s differing opinions and no more time should be wasted on each other when you don’t want the same things or share the same values.
Personally, I consider if it’s out of character or if someone is a ‘repeat jerk’. If someone, for example, is lashing out because they’re going through a hard time, it may be more in line with my values to cut them some slack. I will answer honestly if they ask me how I’m feeling, but the storm I was calling for may just turn out to be a little drizzle within an hour and sunshine to follow.
Everyone has to decide what they want to be or do with the people in their lives. No one can do it for anyone else. I think it finally hit me when I was angry and my brother couldn’t understand why I didn’t tell him. He said something that made so much sense: when we aren’t being real with the people we love, we’re not trusting them. We don’t give them the opportunity to do right by us: to apologize or explain their side or make it up to us. We’re not trusting that they have our backs and the relationship is never real .. just a cheap fabrication resembling love from a distance. He also said, if someone repeatedly can’t step up or discounts someone else’s emotions, they need to be cut loose because they aren’t ‘your people’ anyhow. He was right.
It took me a long time to figure out what a real and genuine relationship is for me. Now I have time to allow people to get close to me if I feel I can trust them to be myself, and to feel authentic, truthful and strong.
This, in my books, is one of the most profound forms of self-love.