own your beauty: some final thoughts on authenticity

Four weeks ago, I shared with you the thoughts from the fantastic Brené Brown on the subject of authenticity:  thoughts which certainly had me thinking about how it relates to my own life.  As is always the case, Brené mentioned some pretty profound things, but two of them really stuck with me:

1.  Authenticity isn't so much a characteristic as it is a practice; and

2.  When we practice authenticity, this is how we invite joy and grace into our lives.  And it is an incredibly powerful way to live.

I can't tell you how much I agree with this:  in choosing to live a more authentic life two years ago, it has required me to be very conscious of how I spend my days and how I live.  It's not always easy, but it's very much like the thoughts Beth shared with us in response to the video on her blog:

"I have reached the conclusion that regardless of whether other people are being authentic, I don't want to be held hostage by my fears of what people will think or say. I want to be me. I need to be me. It may not be a condition of other peoples' happiness, but it is a condition of mine." [emphasis mine]

This, ultimately, is the goal of practicing authenticity:  it's the realization that to behave in any other way keeps us from truly living our lives, truly experiencing happiness.  And while I fully understand how uncomfortable, or even frightening it can be to step out of our normal (and possibly even soul-sucking) routine, there comes a point that in order to live fully, we have to take steps -- even baby ones -- to adding more and more authentic moments to our days.  This is not just desirable, or even merely necessary to survive:  it's necessary to thrive.

When we began this conversation about authenticity, I invited you all to make a list of all the things in life that fill you with joy and grace, and so many of you happily participated, sharing awesome activities including:

painting in a journal;

creating art;

smiling at strangers and seeing their faces unfurrow in response;

eating peanut butter straight from the jar;

wearing hair messily;

practicing yoga;

having a clean home; and

singing in the car.

There's clearly no doubt that we're very able to name the things that fill us with joy and grace, is there?

Now, remember when I said that you're going to want to keep this list somewhere close?  Here's what I'll challenge you to do:  every morning, as you're making your to-do list for the day, I want you to take a look at your list, and add at least one of those things that fill you with joy and grace to your to do list.  If your day is too busy for one item, then instead pick one of the ones that takes no time at all -- for example, if tomorrow's a busy day, you might not include"clean the house" (if that was on your particular list) but you might instead include "sing in the car," if that does happen to be one of the things that fills you with joy and grace.

Get it? 

In other words, just one thing that adds a bit of joy and grace in your life every day.  Over the next year or so, we'll continue to tackle things that might get in the way of our daily authenticity practice (as well as meet some people who can inspire us with new ways to practice authenticity), but for now, let's just make a committed effort to adding joy & grace to our daily lives. 

Are you in?

I hope so.  Let me know your thoughts.  And next week, we start on a new topic: imperfection and perception.


This post is written as part of BlogHer.com's Own Your Beauty initiative.  To see more, click here.