Over the last 2-3 years I have gotten so close to something that once seemed impossible: finding my fearless voice. And over this last year, particularly, I have never met so many people who have tested that inner confidence. A confidence that did not exist in the teenager who felt she only existed for boys or the young adult who lost everything she thought she needed and nearly let it get the best of her. A confidence I have cultivated; a confidence that has taken years but has finally arrived in the form of a you-can't-destroy me assurance. That the person I am is worthy of love and of truth and of speaking her voice. That this voice will be used for good--that I can leverage past challenges and hurt to HELP other people. And that confidence, foxes, is relatively new. And it has been so tested this year.
You see, there are all these wonderful motivational posters that tell us to "just be ourselves" and "always speak our minds" and, as Mr. Mayer would say "say what you need to saaaaaaay." And I have no problem doing this on this here blog, or around my family and friends. But you know what the Soul of the World has decided would be a fun challenge for me to face, perhaps, optimistically, before I can realize that fearless voice? A whole lot of people popping up to try and ruffle my fox fur. People who try to tear me down. You know: h8ers. (not to be confused with sk8ers).
I believe everyone's true nature is luminous. But sometimes life gets the best of us, and muddles us and confuses us and sometimes even produces some really evil shit. So when someone shows up in my life that can't be genuine with me; that can only come from a negative, competitive place, I know that this person is SO uncomfortable with their own vulnerability that they are now wearing the mask of a Really Shitty Person. (RSP for fun!) Their life experiences have altered them so drastically from the luminous beybey they once were that they now only know the mask; to go inside their own psyche and fix this would be terrifying for them. So what does that mean for us, foxes? How do we honor our true nature around people who are unwilling to show us their own? How can we be genuine around someone who's wearing a mask?
My only answer is this: you can't. I'm sorry to burst that beautiful bubble, but I don't believe you can be your authentic self 100% of the time. Because in life, you will meet people who haven't quite gotten comfortable with their own Self. People that want to tear you down, talk behind your back, make snide comments and in general just be awful because they're so unhappy with themselves. Do they deserve your wit and charm and self deprecation and embarrassing stories and humor and generosity--your 100% authentic self? No.
They deserve your pity. They deserve your politeness and your decency; two things I believe this world seriously needs to keep a' spinning. And it's okay to put your guard up after that. To say: I will be a decent human being to you, and that's all. It's okay to refuse to share your vulnerability with people who aren't comfortable with their own.
The wonderful author and vulnerability researcher (and one of my personal heroes) Brene Brown has said this of sharing your vulnerability: "you share with people who have earned the right to hear your story." The best thing you can do to honor your true nature? Step 1: Know that your true nature is light. Step 2: Choose wisely who you allow to be bathed in that beautiful glow.