Just a wild thought: If anyone can just grab a bottled-up vitamin drink called “Self-Confidence” in the Health Food aisle, I believe it’d be sold out in less than 30 seconds. A sip of that magic potion, we get to unleash all our hidden potentials and pursue boldly after our audacious dreams within 5 minutes. I’d line up for it if it’s available on the market!
But coming back to reality, as much as we all crave to develop our inner confidence, I think the essence of self-confidence goes hand-in-hand with the word, Authenticity. “Be authentic.” “Show up authentically.” “Become your authentic self.” Don’t they sound like glamorous terminologies that people use on social media nowadays?
Everything is energy, including the words we use. But do we really know how to harness the power of the word, Authenticity? Exactly how do we embody it and feel more authentic in our presence so we can look past the surface, and connect to each other on a deeper, essence level?
Frankly speaking, if you were to mention to me 5 years ago, “Hey Jen, just be your authentic self,” I would’ve probably rolled my eyes at you because it didn’t sound like an effective strategy to deal with my reality in the past. The reason was simple. I was pretty much on the autopilot 24/7 busy mastering the people-pleasing and over-giving skills at all areas of my life. I thought “living authentically” is a pure luxury and I might seriously put everything at stake if I showed my true self. In a nutshell, I had a high tolerance for an “inauthentic living.”
Babies and young children are our teachers. They exude the purest form of authenticity. I’m always in awe of my 2-year-old niece who mumbles with stunning self-confidence and zero shame. It reminds me that we are not born lack of self-love and genuine self-expression.
Along with my self-discovery journey, I start layering off the parts that had been encumbered by mental blockages for decades and start getting closer to the core where I can finally hear the sound of the alignment clicking from within. One thing for certain is that there is no destination, only process.
So, I realize that by asking the following 3 simple questions, it can help us tune into our authentic presence.
Question 1: How VULNERABLE can I be with others?
What is that exactly holding us back like a scotch tape covering our creative expression from the heart? Our soul is yearning for expansion, to be seen, to be heard, and to be real. But, ironically, we can almost get chills down the spine sometimes when we attempt to speak our truth.
Do we feel deserved and worthy to express ourselves? The fact is that we are so afraid of being judged or rejected. The fear of maybe we are too weird, too loud, too quiet, too clumsy, too stupid, too showy, too righteous for people to accept what we have to share?
It’s totally normal to have these crazy voices in our head. I have them as well. But what happen is that we make it all about us (self-absorption) instead of being generous about others.
Learning how to express a different level of vulnerability is an art that we are mastering this lifetime (of course, without any hidden agenda). We don’t have to be an open book in front of everyone we know.
It’s not necessary to have others dive deep to understand us 100%, but choosing the right crowd (the people who support our identity and voices) to share that tender part of us is essential. After all, we still want to create a healthy container for ourselves.
Some benefits of practicing vulnerability:
- You become more courageous to share your story.
- You invite more genuine connection and attract your tribe.
- You feel set free and healed when you act from the heart space.
The more healed we are from the inside, the more vulnerable you can express yourself without self-judgment, because this is actually our natural state of being as human.
And, your soul will thank you for this!
One of my favorite book of Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection is a must read!
Question 2: How HONEST can I be with myself?
If you are the only person on this entire planet, how true can you be to yourself?
Human beings are social animals, and we naturally seek commonality to build trust relationships. However, we cannot love anyone else more than we can love ourselves. We cannot be true to anyone else more than we can be true to who we are as a person.
To be honest to ourselves takes courage. It’s so easy just to put on a mask to people-please to fit in the crowd and feel that we survive through the day.
As a recovering perfectionist and overachiever, I could still be ultra-critical from time to time when it comes to failing the to-do list. If you were like me, here’s a quick value-based check-in to help turn our inner control freak to an inner caring friend so that we can be more aligned in life.
For instance, my Top Core Values are Caring, Love, and Freedom.
- How can I honor myself intentionally, so I feel more Cared, Loved and Free on a daily basis?
e.g. Take small actionable breaks throughout the day:
Go for a walk in nature, dance to my favorite song for 10 minutes, savor a nice hot cup of lemon ginger tea, enjoy a hot bath with sea salt, chat with a loved one for 15 minutes…
When we proactively practice living our values from the inside out and feel fully charged energetically, it’s easier to be genuinely present with people we care about.
So, what are your top 3 personal core values in life? And how do you honor yourself intentionally on a daily basis to cultivate the relationship between you and these core values?
Question 3: How INTIMATE can I be with myself?
We are all driven by a need to belong. The desire for intimacy with friends and partners is innate in each of us. Remember, we were all once feeling completely sufficient and comforted in our mothers’ womb. However, we spend all our lives to look for the emotional fulfillment to feel secure in our own skin.
The world quite often reflects back to us the feelings about ourselves, usually in how people treat us. So, before we are seeking the level of intimacy we want with others, we need to ask how intimate can we be with ourselves.
Are we willing to connect deeper within and listen to the voice of that “little me” who might have carried many past wounds and burden? Dare to slow down and initiate a heart-to-heart talk with that little girl (or little boy) in us. She wants to be heard, seen and healed. It’s good to find some time to reconnect with that sensitive part of us again, creatively.
This simple tool can help you rebuild the long-lost bond that you might long for within yourself. All you need is a piece of paper and a pen. Light up a candle if you prefer to create a sacred space.
Step 1: Take a long deep breath. Visualize the “little girl” in you. How old is she? Where is she? Write any question out with your right hand (left hand, if it is the dominant one) as you want to connect with her. If you have no idea, just starting out by saying hello, nothing complicated.
Step 2: Close your eyes and take another deep breath. Answer the question with your left hand (right hand, if it’s the non-dominant one) as if the “little girl” responds.
p.s. The key is to just free write, and there’s no need to edit! Let her voice be heard without judgment.
Step 3: Continue the same process as you go deeper. Ask one question at a time with your dominant hand, and respond with your non-dominant hand. You can go as deep as possible till the “little girl” fully expressed her need or rant.
Put aside any expectation and just enjoy the process as it might surprise you in a special way.
In essence, if we are willing to step into the power of vulnerability, honesty, and intimacy, we allow our light to shine from within and be the lighthouses in someone’s storm. We need you to claim your light!
The hardest battle you’re ever going to fight is the battle to be just you. – Leo Buscaglia
Sending you lots of love, joy, peace and happiness,