Authenticity and Sharing Your Ambitions
I believe that one of the primary motivations we all have in life is to be free. To feel like we are able to be our authentic selves and go after the life we want without constraints. To have a sense of personal power, where we don't feel weighed down by our fears or the need to conform to the expectations of others or society.
It takes a lot of courage to do this. To live in our truth and feel that we are free to express ourselves fully - to express who we are, how we feel, and what we truly desire out of life.
To be unapologetically "us" requires a willingness to be vulnerable and be seen. This comes with a sense of risk - because by putting ourselves out there, we leave ourselves open for the possibility of rejection and judgment. That by being who we truly are - we may no longer be accepted or loved by others.
And so, we're often taught in personal development circles to not care about the expectations of others. And I would say, in some instances, this may very well be sound advice - because we are often conditioned to give the expectations of others more weight than we probably should.
But it's important to remember that we live in relationship to others, and it's ultimately not possible (nor desirable) - to live in complete detachment from others. I believe we are innately social beings. So it's helpful to learn how to discern whose expectations we may wish to consider in life.
For example, if you have people in your lives that cheer you on and believe in you and they see what you're capable of - it might not be such a bad thing to be encouraged to strive towards your highest potential.
But on the other hand, if you have people in your lives that doubt you or try to put you down or don't support you on your path, it's really not worth trying to seek their approval. Trying to please them will just lead you to living a life that's not truly yours. You'll always be coming from a place of lack and trying to chase their acceptance of you. And so, whatever approval they DO give you will be short-lived, because their doubt and negativity is really an insecurity within themselves - and has absolutely nothing to do with you.
And so, while it's certainly not a bad thing to have people in our lives that love and support us, who want to see us happy and successful - it's important not to allow the criticisms of others stop us from pursuing our dreams or speaking our truth. Because judgment will always be there. As long as we're human, there will be judgment. So we must expect it. We must learn how to deal with it - and not wait for the permission of others before we feel comfortable being who we are.
On my own journey, I've come to realize that if I'm NOT getting judgment or resistance from others, then it's a good sign that I'm playing it small. That's because not only am I playing in my own comfort zone - but in the comfort zone of others as well. I'm playing it safe, rather than being boldly and courageously me.
Sometimes when we play it safe, it's not only because we are afraid to venture outside our comfort zones, but because we're afraid of making others feel inadequate or bad about themselves. We may diminish our own dreams and ambitions so that they can feel better about themselves - when we try to fit inside their preconceived box of how we should act or what our ambitions should be.
We may minimize ourselves and lie about our true desires or ambitions in life. It's important to recognize that this is not something we would do out of humility. In fact, it's really quite the opposite because we're selfishly denying and apologizing for whatever gifts we feel we have inside us to share. It comes from a place of fear.
And if we don't consciously choose to let this fear go, it will forever prevent us from feeling truly authentic and fulfilled in life. We will never be able to realize our greatest potential.
When we diminish or downplay ourselves, it really is a form of lying. At the minimum, we're suppressing our truth. Not only will this destroy our own vibrancy and inner light, but by doing so, we will also destroy the vibrancy and authenticity in our relationships.
It may feel better in the short run to diminish ourselves so that others can feel better about themselves, but in the end, the "you" that is in relationships - is not the real you. It's a mask that you wear. And so how can we ever truly feel good about ourselves if we feel like we must hide our real dreams and ambitions from others?
And it's especially important to recognize that if we're holding back just to make others feel better, we are not in a position to blame them. We are choosing to "fit in." It's definitely not humility that makes us believe other people are too small-minded to handle our dreams or ambitions. We can't consider ourselves to be martyrs. We can only blame ourselves.
We can't blame others for our failure to be truthful and vulnerable. Because in the end, nobody but us can diminish the image we have of ourselves. Nobody but us can minimize us without our permission.
And so we must realize that we have to be honest with ourselves and others if we are to live fully. Yes, there will be people who won't like it or who will feel threatened by it. People may try to "claw" you back down to the level they think you should be at. They may even decide to detach or leave because they're afraid of being left behind or abandoned. But ultimately, we must take our own responsibility for living authentically.
It is only when we are able to summon the courage to do so will we be able to truly share our unique abilities and gifts with the world. And when we do this, we actually attract the right people into our lives. The people who are meant to be in our lives will will be receptive to our truth. Whether it's in support or service to them, they'll motivate and inspire us to reach our dreams and highest potential. It is the space where real friendship and love blossoms.