These past few weeks at my local church, we’ve been in the midst of a series entitled, ‘Real’. It resonates loudly with me because the essence of the message is the story of my own journey.
It is about making the shift from living a life defined by the world’s values, to living and leading from within…or in the case of my own faith, living from a God and heart-centered place. It is about finding alignment of outer and inner; of shifting from self-centered to service-centered; of getting the ego out-of-the-way in order to really work, live, love and lead – from a place of courage instead of fear; love instead of hate; humility instead of pride.
Getting ‘real’, in my book, is also about living authentically; recognizing and honoring the gifts we bring to the world – to our families, our community and our profession. Far too often, we sell ourselves short and/or sell ourselves out before we’ve ever even gotten out of the gate. We act from a place of fear. We act from a place of pride. Or sometimes, we fail to act at all.
Recently I met with a girlfriend of mine over a great meal and glass of wine. All sense of time lost to us, we talked for hours about our dreams, both big and small. We shared the heart, soul and life lessons of each of our own journeys – the heartaches, the triumphs, the struggles, and the victories. We talked about what it means to be ‘real’, too. Not just what it means, but the courage required to live the life of our convictions, and the short-term sacrifices we must sometimes endure to honor our core selves and to ultimately reach our dreams.
I adore my friend. She is a kindred spirit and kind soul, who much like me, is learning to find her own way and to honor her core self, too. I also respect my friend.
In recent weeks, she was offered an opportunity that would enable her to realize one of her long-term dreams…to move to New York. The only problem is that the offer came in a form that left her feeling disrespected, discouraged, and devalued. She had been sure for so long that this was the path, and yet when the time came to make a decision, it didn’t feel right. Not at all. Faced with the temptation of settling for something far less than her value; of settling for something she intuitively knew wasn’t right but would nevertheless enable her move, she took a deep breath, said a prayer, and turned down the offer.
It was a gutsy move, and I pause to wonder…
Would you have done the same? Would you have had the courage to honor your core sense of worth and values at the potential expense of realizing a dream? Is a dream really worth pursuing if you must devalue or lose your self and/or soul in the process? Do you have the faith and resolve to delay gratification of a dream to do the right thing, whether in honoring the self or others?
When we courageously close the door to what we know is not right, another door almost always opens, though quite often, the pause between one door closing and another one opening requires a tenacious resolve and commitment to our dreams. It is a test of our courage and conviction; and for those of us who are spiritually inclined, it’s an important test of our Faith.
Yesterday my girlfriend called to share recent news. In the wake of a door she closed on her self; in the aftermath of her courageous decision to honor her own worth above the temptation that ‘settling’ promised her, a new door opened. The right door. The door that whispered,
Come. Here. Now.
You are valued. You are worthy. You are wanted.
In New York…
8 thoughts on “Getting Real”
Beautiful. I love to hear stories like these. Testaments to the promise of living your truth. I feel as if I’ve been unfolding over the last few years and much more intensely over the last six months. To hear of your friend’s success is heartwarming and reassuring. Congratulations to her and to all of us on the quest to live authentically. 🙂
Well said, Emelia. And yes, this journey of authenticity is indeed a quest, but one worthy of the fight! After all, honoring the truth of who we really are and all that we have to offer are among the greatest gifts we can give ourselves and each other.
Glad to see your blog again – you’re a great example of “keeping it real”, and your friend’s story reminds me that it takes courage to say no to things that might look good on the surface but aren’t the best for who we are. If more people lived like this, do you think there would be less of the “dis-ing” your friend encountered?
Hi Elizabeth! You’re correct – it does take courage to say no to things that might look good on the surface but which aren’t the best choices for us. It also takes a degree of self-awareness and acceptance of self, strengths, passions and values to be able to make a discerning decision. Courage enabled my friend to say ‘no’ to the wrong choice, but self-awareness and respect were the ingredients which enabled her to first recognize that it was a choice that did not reflect her own sense of worth or value.
Thanks so much for chiming in. Keep up the wonderful work on you site!
Oh my gosh, Sharon, that is such a great story! It has taken me too long to realize that it’s SO important to listen to that authentic voice inside us that tells us what’s right and what may almost be right, but is really not quite. Had I listened and not settled for the “not quite right” options in the past, I know my life would have taken a different direction and I would have made far fewer mistakes in both my personal and professional life. Your story really proves that patience – and pausing – really pays off! Thanks for sharing this!
Why is it that we are so quick to abandon our own authentic voice, fill our head with self-doubt, and give our personal power up and over to others? We walk around life thinking about decisions in terms of coulds, shoulds, and ‘what will others think’ instead of honoring that small, but clear voice inside. Like you, it’s been an important lesson for me to learn, but in the learning, I’ve discovered that the more I respect, honor, and love my most authentic self (and the choices made from that place), more of the same is returned to me by others. It’s one of those wonderful paradoxes. More importantly, I’ve learned that my true self is not only enough, but the greatest gift I can give others.
Thanks for stopping by, Linda. 🙂
My big brother (RIP) used to say: “No matter how much you love something or someone, you have to love yourself a tad more”. What he meant by that was, not because you want something, it means you have to throw your essence out the window for it.
There is always more than one way to accomplish our goals. We just have to look deep.
If something doesn’t look or sound like a good idea, it’s probably because it isn’t.
Juan, your brother was a wise soul. I believe that when we give up the essence of who we essentially are in order to pursue something or someone in our lives, we not only deny ourselves, but we deny others the true gift of our most authentic selves. The key to hearing that little voice inside is self-awareness. The key to following that same voice is courage.
As always, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and insights.