I’ve spent my career in the non-profit sector. I’ve sat with patients and discussed a myriad of topics such as long-term illnesses, homelessness, human trafficking, single parenting, substance misuse, faith, mental health, suicidal ideation, domestic violence, childhood abuse, employment, financial struggles, fears, hopes, dreams, and goals.
Real Conversations are Hard
When I show up to work each day, I never really know where the road of conversation will lead. I must acknowledge that some of these discussions are hard, and the topics are heavy. However, I can honestly say that I feel more “at home” in these social situations than in small talk scenarios. Part of why I love my job is that the patients I work with are so open to sharing their life experiences with me, something I do not take for granted and realize is a huge act of trust on their part.
You Do NOT Have to Carry Your Burdens Alone
Over my career in the non-profit sector, I have come to realize and appreciate the strength and courage of vulnerability that our patients exude. In today’s world, it takes a lot to admit needing help. In a time when societal expectations are to “have it all together” and make life look perfect through social media posts, it is a privilege to sit face-to-face and have someone open up and share vulnerabilities with me.
While the world may send pressure with the message, “Your burdens are too much. No one wants to hear about them.” It is easy to believe the lie that we have to be strong all the time. I am here to tell you today that your burden is not too much for someone to want to hear. You can be strong, but it is ok to be vulnerable sometimes too. Speaking genuinely and being our authentic selves spurs on human connection and helps us feel not so alone.
Everyone Struggles Sometime
There was a time in my life several years ago that I went through a really difficult time. I remember each Sunday walking up the steps to church feeling quite broken inside but forcing a smile on my face. I bought into the lie that I was the only one struggling with my marriage. Shame and embarrassment kept me from reaching out for a long time. Finally, I shared openly and authentically. Shame faded as relief came. The truth that I wasn’t alone in this struggle brought a sense of peace to my heart. I was supported, encouraged, and loved.
Remove the Filter — The REAL You is the BEST You
Life is hard, but we were not meant to do it alone. Today, I want to encourage you and challenge you to begin living a life of authenticity. Release yourself from the pressure to look like you have it all together. Find a few trusted people and commit to being open with them.
It may seem like our world thrives on surface level conversations and photoshopped selfies, but I am here to tell you that there are people out there who crave connection and authentic relationships. I promise your life will be enriched when you can just be yourself and be accepted wholly and genuinely for being you.
Change Your Mindset – Be Authentic
This lesson in authenticity is one I learned from the patients I have met here at our clinic. It is a lesson I took far too long to implement in my own life, but now that I have, I will not go back. Please don’t mistake this blog to mean that you have to tell your personal business to everyone you meet. No, your story and struggles are your own, and only you decide who gets to hear them. Just even one person, or a handful of people, that you can turn to and be open and honest with can be transformative.
So today, I urge you to begin to change your mindset to see authenticity and vulnerability not as a weakness but as beautiful attributes.