8 Steps to Authentic Relating and Having Integrity
The other day I watched India Arie on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday.
She said that she finally realized she was living the life her mother wanted for her.
She decided that her journey hence forth would be about discerning what she truly wanted for herself.
As such, her relationship with her mother has evolved. She can now say to her mother, “Mom, that’s what you want, not what I want.” And, her mom gets it.
India left the music industry because she realized her whole career was based off of what other people wanted for her. The people around her admired her because she had what they wanted. She realized, it was not what she herself wanted.
I can relate so much to this. When I left my career for my spiritual journey, though it had to do with many things, one was that I was living out a life very similar to that of my mother. She had been a teacher her whole life and that’s what was modeled for me when I was growing up.
It was easy & natural to follow in her footsteps.
In the back of my mind, I couldn’t help but wonder if I was living out what others wanted for me. Had I only come up with being a teacher because that’s what I saw in my home? Was it really what I wanted?
I had an argument with a really close friend recently. She kept saying to me, “I just want you to be happy.” I guess she felt like she knew whether or not I was happy & what I should do about that.
The other night on the phone, again, a new friend who doesn’t know me well said to me, “I want you to be happy.”
From that, you might think that perhaps I am not happy.
Quite the opposite. Most days, I am grateful, thankful, happy. More than that, I am downright joyful, a lot.
So, what with these seemingly positively intended wants from those around me?
Though I am happy, I am human, too.
I am subject to waves of ocean.
Movement of emotions.
My rhythms move with the turning tides of the earth and the seemingly changing moon in the sky.
In Vedic Astrology, which is slightly different from Western Astrology, because western was based on a fixed sun, I am Cancer Rising.
Cancer is water, emotion, deep feeling.
Furthermore, the constellation Ashlesha, which in Sanskrit means, “the coiling snakes” was rising in the eastern hemisphere at the time of my birth. This gives me the qualities of healer.
I am a deeply feeling, moving, tide of emotion. This gives me access to deep healing, for I have great feeling & compassion.
I get that others want me to be happy.
What about what I want?
I want to be real.
I want to be authentic.
I want freedom to be how I am.
I want to not have to pretend, hide, or cover-up so that I please you or make you feel good.
Just because I am feeling something in any given moment doesn’t mean than I am not happy. It means that I am feeling.
These friends, as well meaning as they are, have some expectation that my being happy means that I will always show up happy & never express any other emotion at all?
Is that even possible?
Even if it was, would I want that?
I get to feel. I am alive.
Why would you want something different for me?
It’s like when someone cries and the other says, “Don’t cry.”
That makes me cringe.
Cry if you want to.
Do what you want.
Feel what you feel.
The deepest gift you can give me is acceptance. Accepting me as I am and as I am not, in every moment, that’s unconditional love.
A lot of people don’t really know how to unconditionally love.
They talk like they do, but if you are wanting for those around you things other than what they really want, if you are judging based on your life and your path what you think they should want or have, you are fooling yourself if you call that love.
Love is acceptance. Exactly as we are. Exactly as we are not.
So, to get what we want, we have to be real. We have to own where we are and what we want.
Name it to claim it.
This can also dissipate it. For, what we resist persists. So, if we really feel sad, but to please others & have them feel okay, we hide & repress our truth, it only grows in unhealthy ways until it erupts in anger or disease.
Just say it! Get it out!!
Oh, I know, there’s that spiritual principle that you should not say anything less than positive for then you will create it. So, we walk around with dreadful thoughts in our heads but only speak positively. That’s bologna.
If it’s in your head, it’s there. Speaking it, sharing it with a friend as a touch-stone with the intention of being real & releasing it, helps to get it out of your head where it’s just making you feel crazy, sad & confused.
Revealing our less than perfect thoughts can be a powerful tool for healing. We release it, dissipate it, and surrender by acknowledging that its there instead of pretending its not.
Icing on mud pie does not cover anything up. It’s still mud pie.
I use to be a leader, participant & coach at Landmark Education. In one seminar, a friend who knew me was to tell me what I stood for from their perspective.
My friend said:
“You are an unwavering stand for authentic relationships & a champion for the integrity of what is so.”
I have never felt so seen or gotten in my whole life.
I am a stand for authentic relating and for us to just name what’s really going on. I’m the girl who blurts out the elephant in the room, for I am sensitive, feeling, emotive & deep, and this, my friend, is healing.
So, next time you want to cry, cry.
Next time you want to name what’s real for you, do it. Don’t pretend or with-hold your honest feeling for the sake of looking good & pleasing others.
I don’t need you to be pleasing for me. I want your real. Do what YOU want!!
How to Authentically Relate and Have Integrity:
- Be coachable. (That will help with the rest of this list 😉 )
- Be Real: Name what is so for you, and/or in the context of relating with others. No pretending. Fess up when you realize you are pretending. (This means having the courage to be vulnerable.)
- Honor Yourself As Your Word: Do what you say you are going to do by when you say you are going to do it. If that changes, tell the person involved as soon as you know it’s changing. This is integrity.
- Acceptance: Give space for others to show up exactly as they are & exactly as they are not. (a.k.a. Unconditional Love)
- Feel Your Feelings: Realize that emotions are tools; powerful guidance, to be felt & honored. You have full permission to feel your feelings.
- Recognize that emotions are just energy: Don’t get trapped in the ego mind story when emotions arise. The mind will always look for the story, emotions just channel through. Feel it. Notice it. Let it go.
- Be Responsible: Be willing to be %100 cause in the matter of your life. You are a powerful co-creator and whatever has shown up, you’ve played a part in creating. Own it to have your power. Responsibility is your ability to respond. Will you show up and accept your part powerfully, or will you take a victim stance?
- Commitment: Show up. Participate. Honor your word whenever possible. Life is about being in the game of your life, on the court. To gain, you must risk and put yourself out there. Say hello to strangers. Be the path love takes. Get involved. Follow your desires.
Love you SO much!
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