Finding the Peace

Living Authentically

If there is one thing about myself that I sometimes wish I could change, it is my transparency.  Usually, with me, what you see is what you get.  This can be a strength and, at times, can feel like a weakness. The weakness comes from not being good at playing “the game”.  You might ask, “What game?” But, generally it is the game that people play when they aren’t being honest and direct, but have some inner motive to get what they want any way they can. It is the game being played to present a situation in one way, but really it is another way.  These games are precisely the reason people often hesitate to share their realness with others – as the sharing of “realness” can be used against them in hurtful ways when shared with the wrong people.

But there is strength, as well, in being real to the world. I opt to error on the side of “realness” even in the face of being hurt. It is through our authenticity that we present to the world who we are and how we access developing all that we can be.  Developing and becoming our fullest potential makes the most sense in how to live life.  If we aren’t working at becoming “all we can be” then what is the reason to live our lives? Brene’ Brown calls it Wholehearted Living.  She reminds us that when we struggle to be authentic and brave we also go against the grain and put ourselves and our work out in the world.  Some people are going to feel threatened and so then go after whatever will hurt us the most. 

I also like to remind myself that times of being hurt can feel very alone. But feeling alone can be the greatest gift of all. When we feel alone, we have to reach inside ourselves which is one of the best ways to learn how to stand on our own two feet and move forward to be authentic. So perhaps one of the lessons in living authentically is to be okay when we find ourselves in a vulnerable situation that someone used against us.  Part of stepping into authenticity is to be okay when others don’t like us or agree with us. I do believe that part of living authentically and stepping into acceptance and love of who we are, means standing our sacred ground. Brene’ Brown uses this mantra of “standing our sacred ground” and encourages us to remember not to be small so that other people are comfortable and not to throw up our armor as a way to protect ourselves.  Instead, step fully into who you are, and let your light beam far and wide – brighten the world.  Yes, there will be times when your openness sets you up to also get hurt. But hurt comes either way in life situations and relationships. I would rather be fully alive and have moments of pain because through the depths of pain I can also find the greatest heights of joy.

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  • Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker
    Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner

  • Janie Pfeifer Watson, LICSW, is the founder and director of Wholeness Healing Center, a mental health practice in Grand Island, Nebraska with remote sites in Broken Bow and Kearney. Her expertise encompasses a broad range of areas, including depression, anxiety, attachment and bonding, coaching, couples work, mindfulness, trauma, and grief. She views therapy as an opportunity to learn more about yourself as you step more into being your authentic self. From her perspective this is part of the spiritual journey; on this journey, she serves as a mirror for her clients as they get to know themselves—and, ultimately, to love themselves.


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