The Authenticity Explosion

When you make a new commitment to being authentic, all kinds of things come up and come out.

Maybe it is the disclosure of your sexual orientation, or maybe it is your divergent religious views from that of your family, or maybe you have just found some part of you that you have kept buried for whatever reason. 

When you recommit to expressing yourself, it's going to unleash the floodgates. 

You might move from being nice to being brash. Anger that you didn't allow yourself to express will come out. Sadness, hurt, frustration, all these feelings will come out in full force and often in all directions at the same time. I call this "the authenticity explosion." It isn't gentle, it isn't pretty, it may even come as a shock to you. "Why am I being like this?" you may think to yourself. This is not license to be unkind or malicious to others, it is a reminder to is not license to be unkind or malicious to others, it is a reminder to love yourself in the midst of this process. 

I know this process firsthand. 

When I was in school studying Theology (as well as following), I had a knack for pushing my wife's buttons. And my Dad's buttons. Oh yeah, and my in-laws. As well as bending the ear of my friends Josh, Byron, Kendrick, and others. I was gradually and sometimes frantically coming out with whole aspects of my being that I felt I could only share in certain places. After I lost my job as a youth pastor, it was like a part of me died. During the space of chaos and void of that period, I began to come out more and more with what my views truly were and acknowledging how I had kept the internal conflict within me as much as possible. Then, I began to decide things. I began to declare things. I began to see that it was not others who were holding me in a box, it was I who kept myself there. Then I left church altogether and so ensued another explosion of authenticity. The frustration that my wife heard firsthand was not pent up in a felt cage, it had space to breathe and dissipate. The views I had held and worked to express could just be my views instead of being a conflict with leadership or with a community. My misgivings, my hopes, my dreams, my very SELF, could just BE. When I first started at Collins Chiropractic, it was a huge release of my energy and intensity that was largely untempered. It was too much for some people and it was not consciously done, but that release was a pivot point on my journey into authenticity that I am so grateful for. 

Maybe you're feeling the pressure of being confined. I invite you to explode. 

Not merely to release anger, not to berate or hurt anyone else, but to finally express the you that has been hiding. 

After the anger, hurt, frustration and bitterness have their say, you may be greeted again with the sadness that was there first. The sadness of not being seen and appreciated. The sadness for the authentic you that was put in shoes and boxes. The sadness of misunderstandings. The sadness for the contortionist you thought you had to be. 

After the big bang began evolution. You are a microcosm with the same progression. 

If you've already had your own personal "big bang," your own explosion of authenticity, I'm not here to tell you to break down and fake it. Other little bangs and interruptions will be there to greet you on your journey, and you can say, "Hello!" to them as you meet them. But if you are where I was (or somewhere similar), pent up, bottled up, repressed and suppressed... know that your moving forward will include some kind of an explosion. Knowing that is coming, I have one bit of advice: Work to be as authentic about this process to others as you are loving of yourself. It might feel like your world is falling apart and your certainty anchors don't have a place... that's okay! Maybe someone else will understand what that feels like, and maybe they won't. You are not working to be hurtful to anyone else, you are finally working to express yourself... and that takes real work and real grit to match. 

 I'm proud of you for daring to be authentic, and I understand if that feels chaotic and scary. 

Here's to the love and grace for yourself as you grow from who you have been to who you are and who you can become.

Authentically yours,

Barefoot Ben