Fuck how to be "a better version of yourself" or: why I choose authenticity and empowerment over self-improvement

Photo of Sara M. Ablinger by He Shao Hui - Life.
Photo of Sara M. Ablinger by He Shao Hui - Life.

As the end of the year approaches, you find articles and memes on how to be "a better version of yourself", on how to change yourself once and for all, how to set up your mind and stop all the excuses. You´ll find top 10 lists on how to stop procrastinating and implement those New Year´s Resolutions.

And I want to tell you something: fuck that! 

 

I strongly believe that there are two reasons for not creating or implementing something in your life:

Either you are sabotaging yourself (this can have many reasons and there also many ways to create a more positive life) or: you don´t want to. Only you can find out, which one it is for you.

 

I do not think you have to get better at anything - being authentically you is more than enough.

 

I deeply think and moreso feel that a life based on authenticity, vulnerability and honesty is the way to go for your soul, heart, body and mind to thrive and grow.  It´s  the key to true connection (with self and others) and belonging.

 

On being honest with yourself:

Being honest with yourself is something you have to cultivate on your own. It is a state and a practice of self-awareness: being aware of what you are thinking, feeling and doing.  Self-awareness also means being honest about the mess you carry inside yourself. Not just your dreams, passions, talents and all the wonderful things of what is burning inside you. Being honest is also about this big messy pile of not feeling enough, of loneliness, confusion, sadness, shame, disappointment, anger, self-doubt, manipulation, mistrust, envy, even hate.

Self-awareness goes hand in hand with self-acceptance and also means acknowledging the power & strength within and realising all the ways where we dimm our light, belittle ourselves, use others. And this is where the saboteur comes in: often we are sabotaging our life because our power could be too powerful, to overpowering, too much. We might not need anyone anymore or other might not need us anymore. And that´s horribly scary. So, why not stay small and stay where you are - you know the dysfunctionla dynamics in your life. You know how to handle them.  Self-awareness and honesty with yourself weakens the saboteur within. It might take some time, but at some point you watch yourself going in circles for the hundreth time and you just stop.

 

On vulnerability, self-responsibility, accountability:

After being honest with ourselves, we get out into the world and ... most of us try to do their best and be respectful, supportive, loving. Some might hide away their powerful & strong self, others the messy pile inside - both is not authentic.

But then we are human and we make mistakes, we hurt others, we hurt ourselves - out of accident or due to being inauthentic. Being authentic with others - sharing who and how we are - makes us vulnerable to getting hurt or rejected and again: this is scary. For many this is where they draw the line and think they protect themselves from hurt. But what we do: we actually hurt ourselves over and over again. We sabotage connection.

Instead we tell ourselves our old stories of being unwanted, misunderstood, isolated, unloved. This is the position where people wait for the perfect friends or the perfect lovers to come along and find them, maybe even heal the messy pile inside.

That´s where self-responsibility and accountability comes in: when you are self-aware you might already know why you are not authentic with others and sabotage connection. But your why will not heal it. You have to hold yourself accountable as a grown-up for how you interact with people, where you give away your power and make yourself small. Be accountable for when you fuck up with others. Listen. Speak from the heart. Be vulnerable, share from your messy pile. What really changes how we connect with others is understanding that we all have this messy pile inside, that we all feel inadequate, insecure - this is what connects us all. It´s not just you that´s such a mess. We all are. You are not that unique weirdo. We have more in common, than what separates us (even with those who have different world views than you!).

When you are you, when you are all of who you are, you can really connect - and it will be honest. Even a rejection feels different if it is authentic and respectful - there is no betrayal, no lies, but respect and mindfulness.

Of course you cannot be authentic with everybody, it might be unhealthy and self-endangering with some people to open yourself up. You will learn which people are respectful and mindful with your authentical and vulnerable self. When you practice self-awareness you will be more in tune with yourself and so also with your boundaries. You will see where people are mistreating, disrespecting you or crossing your boundaries. You will ultimately sharpen your radar and intuition for other people too.

Licencefree photo from Pexels
Licencefree photo from Pexels

On be-longing and being your authentic self:

 

I do think that being authentically oneself, makes us strong and able to create a life that correlates with who we are and how we want to live.

 

Being and living authentically will give you a sense of belonging.

Belonging is a feeling inside yourself, feeling grounded and knowing that you have a right to be here on this earth, as much as anyone else.

Belonging is a sense of being connected with the earth and all beings.

Belonging is knowledge of how you want to create your life.

Authentical living and belonging will give you a sense of purpose.

Authentical living will bring you in your power.

Belonging with others is being authentically connected with others.

Belonging is trusting your intuition.

Belonging is trusting your body.

Belonging is understanding the circles of life, earth and time.

 

So, you don´t need to change a thing. Paint your life in all the colours with all the crayons in your box, even the broken ones.

Restriction will not help you in drawing more freely, painting with all of your colours from your messy pile will.

“Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.”


Brené Brown, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

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