“How do you always just get “things” from people? You’re always so friendly and you have so many great connections! I don’t know how you do it!”
“Remember all the times that G shows up with little gifts for us on every occasion, and I wonder how the heck I can even get myself dressed in the morning?”
“You do have a way with connecting to people on a different level than most. It’s quite remarkable…”
These are all comments that have been made to me (or about me) over the past few days. They were completely unprovoked and came out of nowhere when I was otherwise talking with others in what I consider to be normal, everyday interactions and endeavours.
Sometimes it’s hard to step back and see yourself, your interactions, your relationships, or anything else about how you operate on a daily basis through the eyes of another person. These three statements all came from different people, in completely different circumstances, and for completely different reasons. When I think about the situations that prompted the comments, I realize that I was just going about my day, explaining what I consider to be everyday events to the people around me. Interestingly, these people see it differently – they see what I do as remarkable.
I don’t quite believe them, but if I step back and look at it from their perspective, I guess maybe my relationships and interactions with people are quite remarkable. The fact of the matter is, though, that what I do is just… what I do. It’s nothing special or out of the ordinary. I make an effort to connect with others because enjoy everything about people: Talking with them, interacting with them, hearing about their lives, telling them about my life, helping them if they need help, supporting them if they need support, and in general, just being a friendly person in their lives. Interestingly, I get some of these same things back from them and these are the small diamonds of every day that make life worthwhile and rewarding.
What it really comes down to, I’ve realized, is Authenticity.
Authenticity and Vulnerability
It’s no secret that I greatly admire the work of Brene Brown and that for years now I have been striving to live in a more authentic and wholesome way. This means being myself, embracing my uniqueness, and not being apologetic about it. I believe that these two aspects, authenticity and vulnerability, have resulted in some difficulties and misgivings in my life: there are many people who are uncomfortable when faced with another person’s vulnerability and instead choose to push away instead of lean into the discomfort. I have definitely lost friendships, relationships, and maybe some “respect” in some people’s opinions. However, I’ve come to realize that I’ve actually gained much more than what I’ve lost.
Yes. It’s painful losing people and it’s difficult to continue to pick yourself up off the rocky ground after you’ve been pushed from the brink of the summit over and over. However, when I actually take a look at the life I’ve made for myself over the past few years, despite the many challenges, my life is remarkably beautiful.
I have relatively few, yet very close friends. These people are the ones who are always here for me and who want me to be there for them. I have my strong beliefs and convictions and I am proud to say that I stand up for them even when it isn’t the most popular path to take. I am (hopefully) raising strong and confident children who will know what it means to be genuine, honest, hard working, and authentic.
While it might seem a small bit self righteous (and it certainly is not meant to be), today I am grateful for my own Authenticity. I have never actually taken a step back to see where the hard work of vulnerable and authentic living has gotten me, until today. Without authenticity, I would not have allowed myself to be fully realized for the person I am. According to others I am a kind, giving, and remarkable person and I am grateful that I can be that person in other people’s lives.
It’s been many, many years in the making, but I’ve finally come to see some of the benefits of my hard and uncomfortable work. For that I am grateful and proud.