"...Clothed in authenticity and genuineness."
What does that mean and why it is important to me?
Webster’s defines these values:
Authenticity – worthy of acceptance, conforming to an original, not false or imitation, true to one’s own personality, spirit, character
Genuineness – having the apparent qualities or character, sincerity and honesty, free from hypocrisy or pretense
When I went back to school a few years ago to become a transitional coach, I ended up by default on a “core” values journey. We learned the importance of being in touch with our values and how integral they are to every aspect of our lives. Living through the lens of those values is powerful and empowering.
I had buried my deep core values and was living with surface values. When this veil was removed, it enlightened me. Some of the area’s in my life had not gone so well. When life comes at us and we get bogged down. Circumstance and situations can make us lose sight of what is most important. Our values may have been attacked, ignored, minimalized or rejected. This hurts profoundly. We don’t understand how subtly we shut down.
I had a determination to be clothed in my values of authenticity and genuineness. It’s not easy to show up in life wearing our values on our sleeve. What if people don’t like the real me?
In her book “Love Warrior”, Glennon Melton shares her discovery of having a representative self who shows up in life in place of her authentic self. Sometimes it’s just easier.
My discovery, was to make a conscious decision to move forward in life leading with my core values. It is easier to represent Kathy because it is comfortable for both the audience and the performer. Stepping out as the real Kathy opens me to vulnerability and potential rejection.
A simple example. I show up at a social gathering of friends. A person across the table asks, “How was your week?” Not great I answered. The person squiggles in their chair. I keep going, I didn’t get the contract I was working on, I didn’t accomplish a specific goal. Their response, “Sucks to be you”, and they quickly turned to the person beside them and start a new conversation.
Now, if I said, “Awesome it was just great”, would their response have been different?
Yes, it was because I have tested that out. Often, people even friends aren’t interested in the truth because it might require something of them. People have become accustomed to my representative self and it is easier to stay on the surface then to dig deeper. What my journey has shown me is that I need to realign myself with those who are interested in knowing the genuine authentic Kathy. It narrows my following but is wonderfully freeing to connect with those who value me and honestly care.
Rediscovering my deep core values and being committed to showing up in life dedicated to living by them has brought me to a place of personal peace and harmony.
We all want to be loved and accepted for who we are. Being true to one’s values will draw others with similar values. At first, it was a little lonely on my journey to clothing myself with authenticity and genuineness but as time moves on, the sense of relief and freedom far outweighs the challenges of change.
Kathleen is a Transition Coach, a TEDx speaking coach and an End of Life Celebrant. Working with people at sensitive times in their life is her passion.