When I heard Oprah ask each guest on her show, “What was your greatest life lesson”, it really got me thinking. Which lesson made the most impact on my life and brought me the greatest peace, ease and joy? Which one lesson would I most want to share with you in hopes of helping you have a happier and more fulfilling life? It would have to be when I learned that the best way to live your life is to be your authentic self.
Until I learned this lesson, I felt like I had to always pretend as though nothing was wrong. I would suffer silently. I could not show weakness. I needed to stay strong and positive. I could not burden others with my problems. From the outside, my life looked perfect. Not even my closest friends knew the extent of my pain that I truly was dealing with.
Then everything changed and I would never go back to my old way of living ever again.
One day, during a conversation with one of my closest friends, I had a revelation. Kim was mentioning how she was suffering from a headache. I wondered how my friend had absolutely no problem complaining about such a trivial pain like a common headache, when I could not share that my entire life was falling apart. I was in the midst of bankruptcy and losing everything including my house, possessions, money and pride. I could not chose a healthy relationship if my life depended on it and I was surrounded by toxic people. I was borderline reaching a depression. I felt like a failure and years of major, unresolved issues were coming to a surface all at once. How close could we be, if one of my best friends did not even know these important facts about me? She only knew the “Everything is fine. My life is great” version of me, but inside I was suffering and struggling. If I was listening to my friend and consoling her for a headache, was I depriving her of the opportunity to comfort me? It would bother me if I was unaware that one of my friends were suffering and was not given the opportunity to help ease their pain. Isn’t that what friends are for?
I broke down and I told Kim everything. She did not judge me like several other people in my life. Instead she was loving and supportive. I used to try so hard, when all along, all I had to do was relax, let go and be me. You mean, it was that easy? After all the struggles and years of trying to be perfect and please others, and all I had to do was be my authentic self? Everything I was afraid to be, I could now be and with no worries of being accepted or liked by others.
To receive that grace and freedom was life altering. My relentless tumultuous life, had finally turned into the simple, peaceful life that I had always longed for. Every area in my life had turned around for the better. It seemed impossible, until I made that one major shift. Instead of using my immense strength to overcome the pain others were causing me, I decided to be proactive. I used my strength to stand up to them and removed anyone who did not allow me to be me, or made me feel like I was a horrible person. I mean, nobody is perfect, and God knows I tried. But I came to an acceptance and awareness. I have and will continue to make mistakes, but everything that I do is with a pure heart and with good intentions. So could anything I do really be that bad or unforgivable, with those virtues behind each choice I make? I needed to give myself a break and not be so hard on myself.
I now have more room in my life for positive and nurturing people, who value and cherish me and what I am about. Ones who accept me for who I am. I now know that I am enough, just as I am. I do not have to explain. I do not have to prove anything to anyone. I can just be my true, authentic self and be loved.
Are you living an authentic life? Please share in the comments below your greatest lesson or if you found this to be yours also.