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Embracing Authenticity: Live Life on Your Own Terms




Dearest Gentle Reader,

 

Ha!  Sounded like Lady Whistledown , didn’t I?  Well, I have no gossip for you and even if I did, I would not share it.  After an impressively long hiatus, I am back to blogging. I haven’t gone anywhere, still here for your Coaching, Consulting and Presentation needs, but I haven’t written and published a blog in QUITE some time.  So, what to write about?


Death.


Oh yeah, you read that right.  You see, there have been some challenges in my family of recent. We have lost some beloved family members to the grave and we’ve lost some to deception and greed.  I am choosing not to dwell on the latter, because I don’t want to sully my spirit by entertaining such people. I can love who they were to me once-upon-a-time without engaging in any way shape or form in the present. On that note...


Yey for geographical cutoffs!


Back to our original topic. Illness, death and grief are so incredibly difficult to navigate. There is NOTHING linear about either of these topics. Folks expect you to be done with experiences of grief in 5 days or three months, but I assume those folks have never lost a beloved. I read an article discussing regrets at the end of life.  Purportedly, a Nurse who worked in hospice or palliative care wrote an article about things her patients regretted as they contemplated their lives and faced the end of them.  The RN advised they commonly regretted spending too much time at work and not enough with family and friends. They lamented living life on the terms of others, not their own.  They often wished they would have kept in touch with their friends more and expressed themselves with more authenticity.  They also wished they’d let themselves be happier.


Each of these are important and I believe we can take them and apply them to our lives now.  What is it that you want and how is it that you want to do it?  I will not be addressing each of these in this particular blog, but I may revisit the subject later.  In this blog, we are going to focus on living to the terms and expectations of others.


How is that working for you?  Or, have you evolved past that?


If you haven’t moved past living for the expectations of others, don’t fret…we are ALL working on something.  It is worth considering the choices you’ve made through your life and asking…did I make these because I wanted to or because someone else chose them for me?  Usually, the chooser has good things in mind.  They want you to be successful, happy, healthy and wealthy.  Of course, there are some who want none of those things for you, but we are NOT going to focus on them. We are going to focus on those who want you to do well.  Perhaps they steered you toward a certain school?  Maybe even a particular field of employment? They could have had a big influence on that one boy/girl/they friend/job position back in college…you didn’t particularly care for them, but a parent, sibling or employer thought they were good for you? Maybe this individual sought to guide you on your clothes, hair, weight, size, style, scent, accent?  Depending on the relationship, you likely did as you were told.  I have a particular affinity for black clothing, but my mom was NOT a fan and demanded I stop purchasing black clothing. I didn’t have my own money at that time as I was a teenager, so I had to do as she deemed. She believed the color held meaning she didn't like, so she steered me away based on her own beliefs. My wardrobe is quite colorful, and I do enjoy the colors now…but very little looks as good to me as black on black on black. So, every now and again…that is precisely what I wear.


But, what of the things that run deeper than clothing?  How do you navigate that when you realize you have been living a life in a way you don’t want to live it?  How do you reconcile your wants with the wants of whoever deeply ingrained certain things into you? How do you release that?


Well, get to know yourself.


Huh? What? That’s it?


Yup.  Get to know yourself.  Get real comfortable with you knowing you.  And, I mean the whole you. Those parts of you that you wish were gone, the sides that you've been taught to hide...the shadows. Learn about this portion of yourself as well as the sides of you that are what you prefer to show to the world. We can so easily get caught up in the ways others want us to go or be that we forget about ourselves and what makes us tick.  Are you naturally a people pleaser...or did the trait come after certain experiences based on gender or presentation? Are you truly shy...or were you scolded for being too...you?Take some time to get to know you so you can identify what you TRULY want.  It is likely going to take some time. For some, it will come easily and naturally and you’ll be able to shed the desires of others quickly.  For some, you are going to have to work it. This one might make you drip sweat or tears.  You will have to refocus on yourself repeatedly.  You will face self doubt.  You will be challenged by yourself and those that surround you.  You will be frustrated and wonder if it is worth it.


I cannot tell YOU if your dream is worth it, but I can tell you that working toward the life you want is worth it.  I can tell you is that you don’t want to get to the end of your life and wonder, ”what if I would have…”


You may be concerned about failing and looking absolutely foolish.  You may be concerned about the words of people around you judging your harshly for struggling and maybe not being successful for years.  You may fear having to return to the thing you so desperately wanted to avoid. It is possible that you are thinking...I need the safety. I don't want to fail. People will laugh. This is all possible...but are you going to regret not giving it a go...or possibly not doing as well.

Keep in mind that you could have a helleuva story!  You could be successful beyond your wildest imagination.  You could have a lot of fun or learn many, many lessons. You could wake up each day enjoying the life you live and not seeking to escape it because you've built EXACTLY what your heart desires. Or, perhaps, you started on one path just to switch up the beat of the drum and do something else that causes you to THRIVE.  Either way, you won’t regret not trying. 


Go ahead and start…be safe, listen to yourself…have an exit strategy…but expect it to collect an impressive amount of dust.


So, tell me Dearest Gentle Reader…what will you do with your one wild, bold and inspired life?


Be well.


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