I've been reflecting on this notion of authenticity. My reading has led me to the work of Dr. Brene Brown, an author, speaker, and research professor who studies vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame. Here are her big questions:
"How do we learn to embrace our vulnerabilities and imperfections so that we can engage in our lives from a place of authenticity and worthiness? How do we cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection that we need to recognize that we are enough – that we are worthy of love, belonging, and joy?" (http://www.brenebrown.com/welcome)
Wow. After writing a blog post a few months ago on using a mantra "I am enough" to reduce my anxiety and worry, I got goosebumps after reading that question. Someone is actually studying this? And not just studying it, but writing and speaking about it? I felt this sudden realization that I am not alone in my ramblings. I felt a sudden sense of connection. It was like Dr. Brown was speaking directly to me. Because the reality I believe is that we are all somehow connected within our personal journeys. It's what makes us human.
I also viewed her TED conference video on vulnerability and authenticity. Her talk was so heartfelt and insightful, yet lighthearted and funny. The last slide in her presentation brought tears to my eyes. Watch it here:
In her website I came across this postcard of writings by Dr. Brown. It was like a personal message. A friend of mine calls it "God Winks".
You can download your Authenticity 4x6 card (for free) from Brene Brown's website. Click here!
Some thoughts I will be thinking about before the new year...
- How do I define and practice authenticity in my own life?
- How can I balance being authentic AND productive (i.e., in my work)? Can these two qualities work together compatibly?
- How can I be most authentic in my relationships with others? In my inner/spiritual life? In my professional life?
- How do I let myself be vulnerable, so that I can also be compassionate to myself and others?
Happy New Year everyone! Here's to our own journeys towards our most authentic selves in 2011.