Have you ever been jealous? I mean soooo jealous you cried your mascara off? (Okay, guys, uh- cried until your nose ran down into your mustache?) I have. Recently. I wanted something so badly, worked so hard for it, employed every device and skill I knew to make it happen and felt like I had a great shot at it becoming mine. But I wasn’t chosen. Wait? What? NOT- me? Not-ME? What the…? What did I do wrong? Why not ME? (Cue mournful violins.) So, I wallowed for a while. This hurt. Really hurt. The pain was palpable.
Putting myself out there had taken courage and vulnerability. And I was so proud of myself for doing it anyway. I continued to wallow the next evening in a bubble bath with Popcorn and Prosecco and a side of Pity. Wallowing became layered with jealousy. A LOT of jealousy. Comparing myself on every level I could digress to. Trust me, there are many levels. I took in the consolation of close friends. Heck, I even found myself being kind and gracious in the situation. I was still the sweet, charming southern girl I was raised to be. Whew. All better. (Cue Halleluiah chorus) Yay Me! Right?! Around the same time, I participated in a self-awareness survey where I asked 10 people who liked me but would be candid to name three adjectives that came to mind when they thought of me. I loved my results. (I knew there was a reason I like these people. So astute). The responses included gracious, confident, focused, respectful, trustworthy, beautiful (blush), caring, organized, driven, strong-willed, witty, bold, clever, supportive, and intelligent. Wow. Talk about helping me rebound. I am AWESOME!
Ahem, well, uh, I thought it was all better…
A few weeks later and quite unexpectedly, the green-eyed monster slithered his way back into my heart and mind. This time he came much better armed. On top of his recent “You’re incompetent, untalented and a whining poser” he added the quite effective “AND you are not REALLY gracious, neither sweet or charming. Just who are you kidding? You know it should have been you all along receiving the “Atta boy’s” and congratulations. Not them.” Gulp. This guy plays for keeps.
A friend observed my demeanor, and I shared my struggle. The stabbing pain was still there. Why couldn’t I just let it go and move on? In the grand scheme of life “this” won’t matter. So what is wrong with me?! Her reply stopped me in my tracks. “Why are the tears you cried and the pain you are feeling now any less significant than the ones you shed over the loss of your mom? You are a compassionate, creative woman. You stepped out of your comfort zone, and it stung when it didn’t turn out. I admire the heck out of you” (okay, she didn’t exactly say “heck”). But she’s right. I have emotions. Some are good, and some are less than so. But as long as they are real and mine, I will benefit from their lessons. They are just as valuable.
I own a business that’s foundation is built upon being one’s best authentic self. The name of my company screams my purpose – AuthenticA Coaching & Consulting. It is what I am about. But what happened when I couldn’t handle experiencing the weaker parts of my genuine self? I began quite a downward spiral of self-recrimination. We set foot on the pity path before we know it.
Being authentic isn’t always easy. But it’s always worth it. It requires transparency, vulnerability and courage. It brings us closer to the glorious and unique creation we each are. It connects us to our brothers and sisters in mankind. This week ask ten friends the question. “What three adjectives come to mind when you think of me?” Write down the answers and see what patterns you find – good things or things to work on. Be proud of who you are and be willing to polish any rough edges. We all have them. And the next time you feel like you’ve fallen on your authentic face, pull out your list of adjectives and let them be the mirror reflecting courageous, amazing, genuine – YOU.