Christmas in my household is small and quiet. This year, it was even smaller and quieter than usual, consisting of me, my mom, my step-dad and step-sister. My two step-brothers, who are mostly always around for this holiday, couldn’t make it down this year.
I sat in our family living room, staring at the beautifully decorated tree, with downtown San Diego visible in the background. Christmas is my favorite holiday, and this was the first year in a long while that I didn’t have to work on Christmas Eve. I hadn’t gotten around to putting up a tree in my apartment this year, so our family tree felt even more special and important. Mom was cooking Christmas Eve dinner in the kitchen and my step-sister was in the next room, sleeping off the last of a twenty-four hour bug that unceremoniously struck right before the holiday. I considered life; my family, everything that is going on right now, and my little world as I know it.
It isn’t perfect. Nowhere near perfect. I sometimes squirm with the imperfection of it all. But just because it isn’t perfect doesn’t mean that it isn’t wonderful.
I have twelve months of experience and perspective to thank for being able to understand that, while imperfect, it is still special. This year is better than last year, and that is in large part because I am better than I was last year. I am more aware of who I am, more capable of true honesty, more accepting, and perhaps most importantly- more grateful. For everything.
Gratitude, acceptance, and authenticity. These things are game changers.
People enjoy and appreciate authenticity. When you meet someone who is truly authentic, you just know. They are completely present for conversations, quietly and soothingly confident, and you feel like you might be just a little bit more authentic for having met them. There is just something so refreshing about a person being completely and unapologetically themselves
Unless the person is unapologetically an asshole. No-one appreciates assholes.
This world could use more authenticity. It can be difficult, and scary, to reveal our true selves to the world. We work hard at making sure that the skeletons are safely secured behind locked doors, and that people only see what we want them to. We filter ourselves. We make sure that people don’t find out the secrets that we deem necessary to hide away- the ones that we don’t think we will be forgiven for, were the world to find out.
What are the things that you love most about yourself? What sets you apart from the person standing next to you? What positive attributes do you fall back on during moments of insecurity? What are the positive affirmations that you use to restore your faith in yourself?
Think about these things, these things about yourself that you actually love, and notice how you feel. You feel good, right? Calm and at peace perhaps? This is self-appreciation. This is healthy. This is you authentically giving yourself credit, where it is deserved.
You know what else the world needs more of? Kindness. Patience. Forgiveness. Understanding.
I’m going to ask you to think again. How often do you look at the things you lack, rather than the things you are blessed to have? How many more times do you notice shortcomings in your life, rather than the things given to you in abundance?
Joy is literally sucked out of our lives when we get stuck on the disappointments, the failures, and the comparison game. We think everyone else has it better than us, and it makes us completely ignore all that we have achieved and accomplished in our lives.
Authenticity tells us that WE CAN DO THIS, even if we are terrified. It is believing in ourselves, and knowing that we are capable, without ever having done it. It means being confident, yet humble. Authenticity is not driven by ego, it is driven by understanding. I find that I connect more deeply, forge longer lasting bonds, and feel more understood when I am being authentic. It cuts out the bullshit and brings opportunity to the table.
We can work to offer understanding, kindness, and forgiveness even where it is not deserved. Especially where it is not deserved. It is being these things despite all the justifications you have to not be these things. It is having your feelings stomped on or completely disregarded- and being kind anyways. It is being better than your surroundings simply because you are capable and willing.
Authenticity is kindness. It is patience. It is forgiveness. It is understanding.
It is grace.
In 2015 I want to have more grace. I want to keep working on become more true- more authentically and unapologetically me. I want to be a better daughter, a better friend, a better employee. I want to be kinder, more patient, more forgiving, more understanding. I want to forgive myself for the mistakes I have made, the parts of my past that I am working to let go of, and for all the mistakes yet to come.
I want authenticity for you, too. I want you to want to be less afraid of announcing yourself to the world, in all of your perceived flaws or imperfections. I want you to be kinder, to yourself and to others. I want you to forgive, first yourself and then the world around you.
I want all of us to be more authentic, even when it is hard and even when it hurts.
What do you want out of 2015?