Authenticity: how revealing your truth sets you free

on Friday, 03 November 2017. Posted in Inspirational

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Yesterday my friends and I went to the movie Girls Trip. Though it was mostly a hilarious movie (that wíll reveal your dirty mind against your will) it had that typical for comedies semi-dramatic ending:  “Ryan” a self-made coach that pretended for years to have it all, breaks down while giving a speech  for a room full of people spilling the truth about her not so successful marriage. She called it: revealing her truth.  

For some reason, that message hit home. Of course in the movie that daring speech gets her a standing ovation. The big screen makes revealing your failures for the room full of strangers seem so liberating and powerful. But in real life sharing your most honest self is a little less heroic with more hard work than applause.

Until I was about 7 or 8, I didn’t think about what was true about me. I just was. The bliss of being a child. Unfortunately, that happy child encountered some fierce blows that made me grow into a teenager that wasn't happy at all, because the truth was, my truth hurt.

I didn’t want to deal with my truth. I tried to replace it with a different, stronger better version of reality. I became a different person in different situations. I became skilled in simulating openness but never letting anyone come close. I was afraid that if anyone would really look at me, they would see who I really was. I had no idea who I was but I was pretty sure it wasn’t good. So nobody knew the real me, not even me. 

In my early twenties, my truth caught up with me. I started generating the results I believed I deserved. I attracted situations and people that were hurtful. I was confused and scared and literally, hurting myself. I felt I had lost my truth altogether.  It landed me in therapy where I managed to peek under the blanket where I had hidden all my truths. To my surprise what I saw, wasn’t as bad as I had suspected it to be.

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Participating nearly a year in group therapy, I met some amazing women. All with their own truths. And I slowly started to realize something: When you know your truth and aren’t ashamed of it, sharing it with other people can actually be a strength.

From that moment on I vowed never to hide again. I don’t hide my fears, I don't hide my scars, not even in workshops because they are a reminder of the pain I overcame. I’m proud of my wrinkles because they show the loss and laughter I experienced. I am open about my past, my and downfalls because it shows I worked damn hard to become the women I am today.

In my late twenties, I became a guidance counselor for minor refugees, I was reminded that showing who you truly are, can be a powerful tool to help others deal with their truth. Guilt and shame will only make you believe your truth is worse than some else’s.... but it rarely is.

There is a comfort in knowing you are not alone in your darkness. Realizing that what you see in yourselves as a weakness is what you considering strength in others, is liberating and empowering.

When I became a trainer I learned that revealing your truth on a professional level can be a tricky thing.  If you don’t share part of your truth, people don’t relate and you seem inauthentic. Nobody is perfect and nobody likes to listen to someone pretending to know it all.

On the other hand, if you overshare people get uncomfortable and you come across as unprofessional. You lose credibility talking about achieving goals and taking ownership if you come across as a mess.  

Done well, revealing my truth is your tool can be your most powerful tool. It builds trust, inspires (self) compassion and brings comfort.

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I have the advantage that I get to explore my truth for a living. Everything I read, everything I learn, empowers me. As a result, I have matured and become stronger and more confident. That confidence is reflected back by the participants and that in turn feeds my confidence again. Like a truth fulfilling prophecy.

But I still struggle with being an authentic trainer.  I am not perfect and there are situations that life hits me where it hurts and I am thrown out of balance. It feels a little ambiguous to talk about success if I know I just had a good cry in the car on a rainy day. 

In an article, I read about an exercise where you look in another person’s eyes to practice acceptance compassion and acceptance. I wondered what the effect would be if I tried that on myself. So I gathered my cohones and looked myself in the eyes in a mirror for 2 minutes.

It was a life-changing experience! How often do you take the time to truly see all those different parts of yourself? In that moment you will realize there is not one truth. You are different layers of truth.  Some strong, some vulnerable, some weird, some mean., some impossible, some impossible not to love. 

Revealing your truth” means taking your knowledge of all these layers and knowing when to show them to whom.

You will probably never be done exploring the layers of your truth. But you should be excited to explore who you are with curiosity, humor, and self-love. Because all these layers together finally reveal your inner child. And that child doesn’t need to overthink: It will just be.  

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