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Be Authentic

The Art of Athenticity and Vulnerability

July 07, 20226 min read

Everyone is chatting about authenticity. Be yourself. Be authentic. It’s the old, new buzzword. I’ve noticed that the pendulum of authenticity swings wide. Taking a picture without filters is authentic. Showing’s one house in the normal, natural state (authentic!), then all clean and nice (proof that yes, the house gets cleaned).

As someone who has been on a wellness journey for over a decade, I have gradually seen more of embracing authenticity – and it’s beautiful. Let’s normalize messy homes! Let’s normalize carrying around extra weight (or unexpressed energy as I like to see it)! Let’s normalize the struggle and the reality of the journey. Forget the filter. Wear the bikini or bathing suit! Time also marches on, so let’s embrace aging. I’m open to these changes, but also reflect that to be where I am today, I’ve traveled through fear, self-doubt, criticism and am arriving at authenticity through vulnerability.

Let’s go with the topic of self-presentation and self-doubt. When I first started my wellness journey, I had just been diagnosed with Lupus, which was exacerbating my thyroid and Hashimoto’s. Doctors put me on medication that made me constantly sick, weak, and practically unable to care for my daughter. It was a difficult time that I struggled to explain to family and friends. In a way, it was more difficult than the stroke I had had three years previously. That’s the way of autoimmune conditions.

A friend encouraged me to see a nutritionist. I did not see the point. I already ate healthy. I exercised. I did not drink, but socially, and let’s be honest – with a two-year-old, my social life wasn’t hopping, unless it was playing leapfrog with my little one. But I was desperate to feel better and be able to play with my daughter and have energy in the evening with my family, so I made the appointment.

Admittedly my heels were dug in that nothing could change when I arrived at the nutritionist’s office. Remember I ate healthy, I looked healthy. I exercised. I WAS healthy except for my Lupus and Hashimoto’s and the doctors told me there was nothing I could do to change my outcome. After my initial appointment, and the overwhelming kindness and understanding I received -- life started changing for the first time in years. The next appointment I was all in. The next appointment after that, I was unstoppable!  

I did a gentle, heavy metal detox for about 5-6 months that required stringency with my health and diet. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (S.L.E.) is an autoimmune disorder, where the body mistakenly attacks itself. Many people with S.L.E. also have thyroid issues, like me. Heavy metals, which I had tested positive for, can be involved with autoimmune conditions. My months’ long heavy metal detoxification was a learning process. I was amazed at the process and how my body and blood test results were changing. My doctor was astounded. Honestly. He told me to continue doing what I was doing.

There are several ways our bodies detox. The liver is key to the detoxification process. Once the liver does its job gathering the garbage up for removal, other physiological processes take over to actually take the “garbage out”.

This is where other organs like the lungs, digestive system, and skin do their jobs in completing the process. The intestines eliminate through urine and feces. We also eliminate toxins through our hair. Our skin is another organ that detoxifies through sweating. For me in this process, it was like ALL those heavy metals that were affecting my health negatively, came out through my skin. But only the skin on my face and chest. In the form of acne. I was a sight to behold for months. You think teen acne is bad? Try adult acne.

This chapter of my wellness journey made me very vulnerable. Everyone had an opinion on my adult acne. I was even told by a friend that I just “needed to wash my face, that acne was just dirt in the pores”. SIGH Trust me, I was washing my face. I even got monthly facials, desperate to alleviate the boils and acne that plagued me, but also afraid that I was going to overload my already sensitive system to more chemicals in the process. I was told to cover my offensive acne with makeup to “hide” it. I was called unprofessional in my job. I switched skincare lines several times thinking that would help. Finally, I had to accept that there was little I could do but wait. And waiting was….torture at first. Then there was acceptance. Fortunately, very, very slowly the worst of the acne subsided as I continued the detox. I began respecting that my body really did not like gluten nor milk. As other detoxification pathways normalized and were no longer overloaded, my face calmed down. And very slowly, it cleared.

Being vulnerable is TOUGH. When we expose a part of ourselves, we are open to judgment. Yet in being vulnerable, we are authentic. Can we have one without the other? It’s a goal, it can be done as we flex that muscle and build self-confidence. Being authentic self is a part of being psychologically mature and fully functional as a human being. It’s something that I strive for every day as a human being, but also as a health coach. I, too, am on a journey.

These are the keys I have found to being more authentic and showing up for ourselves every day with confidence and kindness. Vulnerability demands a gentle approach with ourselves too, right?

1.      Have realistic perceptions of reality.

2.      Accept yourself and other people.

3.      Be thoughtful, be kind.

4.      Have a non-hostile sense of humor.

5.      Express emotions freely and clearly.

6.      Realize that you are 100% responsible for your actions and experience.

7.      Be open to learning from your mistakes. Mistakes will happen, but they’re learning opportunities.

8.      Understand your motivations.

9.      Face negative emotions head on. Shine that light and give yourself grace and space to feel what comes up.

Maybe you’re not ready to be authentic and put yourself out there. And that’s all right, too. You are right where you are supposed to be. Just know that as you dip a toe in authenticity, try out the bikini at the beach, I am not judging you. I love you exactly the way you are. There is nothing about you that bothers me. You are beautiful, you are human and I see you. You are on your own wonderous journey and I celebrate that. If you need it, I give you my confidence that I have in you, to fully embrace the grace and space you need to accept yourself, your inner beauty, your outward radiance, your creativity, and authentic self. You amaze and inspire me! I am honored to know you and the wonderful person you are.

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