Whew, this one…. this self care lesson, it’s direct. I feel like so many times when we’re discussing self care with you all, we’re also discussing life lessons. Truly, it’s because self care - how we treat ourselves and allow others to treat us - is intertwined into our every action. So, let’s talk authenticity and how being in-authentic can cause damage.
Have you ever paid attention to how you feel (body, mind, heart) after interacting with certain people? Do you notice yourself feel energized, motivated and happy sometimes and, at others, ready to sleep, cynical and overall blah? Have you ever examined WHY you walk away like that? Typically, those feelings boil down to one foundation : honest (aka - authenticity)
Honesty is good for the soul - not just to be a good person. If you practice honesty, you establish value in yourself, build your confidence, cultivate valuable relationships, establish healthy boundaries, avoid long term stress and aid your physical health. It’s the Super Pill of self care!
Maybe you feel like I’m giving honesty too much credit. I promise, I’m really not. AND I have several different scenarios to illustrate what I mean! (Remember in all of your authenticity to also practice discernment and tact. These complementary skills will go a long way in the way you care for others and yourself.)
Scenario 1 : Establishing Value in Yourself
Consider a time where someone asked you to participate in something you didn’t agree with and you went along with it. It felt gross, right? It felt gross because you denied your belief system or your core values. When you deny your values to go along with someone else, you’re essentially saying their values are more important that yours. Repeating this behavior can be detrimental! Slowly, the value you had in your beliefs and why you believed them - an ESSENTIAL part of who you are - deteriorates. You’re slowly chipping away at what you think of yourself. (Take it from a people pleaser who has had to fight her way back into valuing herself and valuing her values)
Scenario 2 : Build Your Confidence
This goes hand in hand with scenario 1. When someone asks you what you think or asks you to be involved in something you don’t agree with or want to participate in, saying “no” feels good! Sure, it may feel awkward at the time on occasion but, in the end you’re going to be thankful for your boldness and bravery to stand firm. The more you do this, the more defined who you are becomes - to everyone around you and to YOU, yourself! This is what builds your self confidence!
Scenario 3 : Cultivate Valuable Relationships
Thinking back at scenarios 1 and 2, if you focus on establishing your values and building your confidence you’re naturally going to weed the detrimental people out of your life. People gravitate to what’s similar to them. By being honest about who you are and what you believe, people who don’t align with you will eventually fall away.
Scenario 4 : Establish Healthy Boundaries
Boundaries aren’t just meant to keep negative people and experiences away from you. Boundaries also help the good people in your life know how to treat you. We show people how we want to be treated. Acting inauthentically will cause confusion when people interact with you. For instance, say that you believe in not gossiping and tearing other people down. If you’re in a group of people and they’re ripping someone apart and you either a) don’t say anything or b) go against your nature and go along with them, that group is going to think you’re right in it with them - that you share this similar love for gossip. As such, they’ll continue to gossip and tear people down in front of you, constantly confronting you with a draining and stressful experience. If you’re upfront with them, though, they’ll either realize they don’t want to be around you and fall away or, they’ll respect you and refrain from doing those activities around you.
Scenario 5 : Avoid Long Term Stress
I’m sure you’ve probably been picturing exact situations as we’ve walked through each of these scenarios. Do you remember how uncomfortable, draining and stressful those situations are or have been?? Yeah, it’s no bueno. By being honest and up front, you can eliminate that stress. Now, I’m not promising it isn’t going to be uncomfortable in the moment and that some people aren’t going to try to make your life difficult but, I am saying that being honest will help eliminate that long term stress. The further you get from that immediate awkwardness, you’ll be able to sit confidently in your decision and you won’t be stressed about ways you could have done things different.
Scenario 6 : Aid Your Physical Health
It goes without saying that minimizing stress and anxiety has a profound affect on your mind as well as your physical body. When you’re stressed, you FEEL it. Your chest is heavy and tight; it’s hard to breathe; there’s pressure in your head and nausea in your stomach; your energy runs low and your limbs get heavy. Medical research even proves how stress has a measurable effect on your physical body affecting your blood pressure and your heart, even showing up in the form of diabetes. (Check out this Mayo Clinic article to learn more)
I know I jokingly called authenticity a super pill and, really, it’s a great way to be healthy yourself and overall be a better person. Being authentic is incredibly important to our health. The better boundaries we establish, the more confidence and self value we build, the healthier our relationships become, and the healthier our bodies get when we practice honesty.