#authenticity #vulnerability


Continuing on with the seven part series regarding Happiness; this week we’re digging deeper on habit five: Authenticity and vulnerability.  (For more on forgiveness see here.)

In our heads, we know there is no such thing as perfect. So why do so many of us spend an incredible amount of time and energy trying to be everything to everyone and not follow our authentic self?

images-3#authenticity…what is it really?

It is the alignment of our head, mouth, heart, and feet. An authentic person thinks, says, feels and does the same things consistently. It requires making conscious informed choices based on self-knowledge.

images-2We all know people who are authentic. They are graceful, wise, centered and credible. We are drawn to people who are real and down-to-earth. They know how to share difficult or painful information with others by being honest yet gentle. They are not overly concerned with what other people think of them – what they think, say, feel and do are all in alignment.

“Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.” – Bene Brown

So what does being authentic have to do with our happiness?

imagesBy being authentic we are being true to ourselves. Authentic people are comfortable in their own skin. Their energy is spent on things they can control. Because of their primary focus on positive emotions as well as a healthy management of negative emotions, they’ve developed a natural resilience. Resilience is an ability to navigate the sticky and messy parts of life. Oh yeah….our authentic self isn’t always pretty – it’s just real.

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” – Ghandi

images-5Vulnerability is difficult for many people; most of us were brought up to regard vulnerability as weakness. What if I were to tell you that authenticity, vulnerability and worthiness are the underpinnings to a successful and happy life?

Social Scientist Brene Brown spent the better part of a decade researching this area. After thousands of interviews with people here’s the simplistic view of what she found:

We must embrace who we are to be authentic.

When we are authentic we can be vulnerable.

When we are vulnerable we can have powerfully strong connections with others.

She also discovered that vulnerability is the birthplace of joy, creativity, belonging, and love. Wow! Why then do we not consistently practice vulnerability? Because it is hard and at times scary.

Sharing our deepest thoughts, feelings, and actions with another exposes our true self – our soft underbelly. If we’re not fully comfortable with who we are, we won’t speak up and share ourselves – we’ll have a tendency to quietly stay in the background.

images-3For me, you cannot have a discussion about vulnerability without a review of judgment. I feel that another reason people are not comfortable being vulnerable is because we are quick to judge others as well as ourselves.

When we can understand that judgment wreaks havoc in our lives ….we can loose the shackles of our pre-disposed judgment and more freely navigate the deep and meaningful waters of vulnerability. This isn’t easy for most of us, me included.

Because vulnerability is the birthplace of joy, creativity, belonging and love,  (who doesn’t want more of this!?!) I’m making the commitment today to work on removing my own judgment of others and myself so that I can practice vulnerability more consistently and freely.

“What makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful.” – Brene Brown

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