"Relationships are an art of compromise."
"You need to know when it's better to keep silent."
"Any transformation must always start with yourself."
These are sayings that we all know well and probably use ourselves. But what does it take for us to disagree and give up everything that someone expects or what is "accepted in society"?
Today's view of love in the public eye has become largely focused on looking good and fitting in the "right box" rather than feeling good. When it comes to relationships, I believe that true well- being arises from the formation of a deep spiritual bond with a partner, the sharing of memories, and the exchange of energy – the ability to both give and receive.
It's about investing your time in the people who matter most to you.
However, as you take decisive steps and make important choices in life, you always have questions or reflections on the surface of your consciousness that need to be answered before you can safely flow through events and focus on building the future. One of the most important (and perhaps the trickiest) questions is:
Am I true to myself, and am I "myself" in my relationship?
Turns out, the concept of authenticity has been relevant for a long time, only we each come to it in our own time and situation. What does it mean to be authentic? How do you practice this in your life and interactions with others to build lasting relationships? Authenticity is not something we either have or lack, it is a practice – a conscious choice of how to live, the range of choices we make every day, being present, true and fair.
This idea is likely to inspire and frighten at the same time because, on the one hand, it is a value that we appreciate both in ourselves and others and, on the other hand, in a society built on the rules of inclusion and indulgence, it is quite a challenge. Choosing to be honest with yourself, not to please others, is not the safest way to walk because it leads outside the comfort zone and, as it might happen when you are in strange, unknown places, there is a risk of getting punched in your face.
It’s assured, the only guarantee that can be given to anyone who acts or dares to act – you will be criticized. And criticism is painful, even if we are well aware that it is unfounded and out of place. A natural and very logical reaction would be to harden against the opinions and thoughts of others – we often present this skill to ourselves and others as a useful and welcomed quality, right? But the problem is that, by closing ourselves, we are no longer able to be authentic and honest. A vicious circle that can only be broken with courage.
The courage to tell your story to the world while remaining vulnerable to criticism. It is a risk that must be taken to experience a true, open relationship, offering the other the depths and beauty of one's self, rather than a hardened, carefully sealed shell of barricades.
Giving up what we are in the name of not disturbing or pleasing other people is simply too high of a price. Yes, we and our loved ones may experience the "growth pain" of authenticity, but it always turns out to be one of the most valuable gifts we can give to those we love.
Choosing authenticity means cultivating the courage to be incomplete in yourself and your relationships, setting the boundaries of privacy you need, letting yourself be vulnerable, and learning to empathize with each other, knowing that we all have our insecurities and internal struggles. To keep alive our interconnectedness and sense of belonging which is only possible if we think we have enough of each other. It is good as it is. When I came to my decision to make my daily life and choices based on my desires, to be honest with myself, to be able to get out of the pits I dug myself. When I experienced events and situations where the only thing I approached was depression and dissatisfaction with life, a marvellous author Brené Brown, a writer, a researcher, and a professor at the University of Houston, came to my attention. Based on her research, she has written several books on topics such as shame and guilt, vulnerability, and authenticity. Brown compares the choice of an authentic life to a revolution.
"Choosing to live and love with all your heart is an act of disobedience. You confuse, offend and intimidate countless people, including yourself. You will be amazed that you are brave and, at the same time, overwhelmed with fear. I feel that way almost every day – brave, scared, and very, very alive.”
We need to grow and change, to watch silently, to accept and reconcile. The most important is the direction of all these actions – whether it comes from the pressure of the outside world and its long fingers, which are constantly digging into our minds, demanding capitulation in front of its relentless order; or from our nature, which, acting intuitively and wisely, chooses the most appropriate tools to take new steps in our lives and relationships with those around us.
Writer E. E. Cummings said, “To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else – means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight, and never stop fighting.”
I wish it for all of us – the strength of the spirit, the courage, and the permit to experience yourself in a close relationship with your loved one.
Author: Dārta Daneviča