April 2

HONESTY MONTH: DAY 2: “It is naive to think that self-assertiveness is easy. To live self-assertively–which means to live authentically–is an act of high courage. That is why so many people spend the better part of their lives in hiding–from others and also from themselves.”― Nathaniel Branden

To be authentic in life is not a familiar part of our culture. We are taught from a very early age to “fit in” with others, to be a part of a team or group. To be average, to be the same as them.

What a different world it would be if we were all allowed to be exactly who we are from the gate. To shine in those areas where our talents and skills lived. To let ourselves and others display their peculiar gifts and abilities.

If you want to paint purple trees, do it! And if all you want to do is write music, write music. If you want to dance, wouldn’t it be wiser to let you learn everything about that instead of math and science, when those things do not come to you?

I always wanted to design a school setting for children that tested their abilities and skills and interests at the age of beginning (kindergarten for most of us) and then focused on developing fully those things that we are good at and interested in.

Most of us would have let go of social pressures to perform at high levels in things we do not like. I did not like playing baseball or basketball, but had to endure those things because they were “required” subjects for me. I excelled at math and English and other subjects, but did not do well in some. What a great time I would have had if I could have just done the things that I was good at.

What if we got to actively pursue our interests, instead of those things our parents wanted for us?

Is it any wonder children learn to lie about so many things at such an early age? Not to me. There are secrets being hidden and agendas that had nothing to do with most of us being supported by others. We learned to be a sheep. To conform, to fit into a mold that has nothing to do with our spirits.

We were trained to do things that are not part of our journey here. It is the social need for us to be part of something that has nothing to do with who we truly are. What a lot of work we have to do to learn how to be authentically ourselves. I believe that the steps we get in recovery have so much to offer us in terms of being authentically who we came here to be. Most of us used and drank to overcome the discomfort of living into someone else’s ideas of who we are “supposed” to be. Not our own.

How do we get back in touch with our inner guidance? I think the steps are the greatest roadmap I have ever found for this. I am grateful as hell for Step 4 in finding out who I am NOT and peeling away the layers of bullshit till I get to be an authentic self. It works…it really does!

Published by: Kelly

I am a therapist and counselor with long-term recovery from addictions and personal trauma. My writing reflects these experiences and the road I have traveled in 12-Step recovery settings, along with the work I have done for over 30 years in the field. My love of dolphins includes the stories of them being healers in places all over the world. I long to offer every broken spirit and body the experience of a healing hug. May my words and stories inform, uplift and delight your spirit and soothe your weary heart.

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