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They should have boxes of tissues in the greeting card aisle at Target, shouldn’t they? Actually, come to think of it, women’s magazines should come with little tiny tissue packs attached to the articles about baby’s surviving remarkable odds…or long-lost twins being reunited…or mothers who gave up careers to watch Sesame Street and make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and clean Goldfish crackers out of couch cushions.

And since we’re (mostly) expats here – let’s include free mini-packs of Kleenex for those moments when you feel compelled to flip through photo albums from your last home…or the one before…or the one before that.

Am I alone here? Okay…maybe so. I am a complete and total crybaby when it comes to this sort of thing. Tell me a story of how your kid made you the cutest Valentine’s Day card ever and you’ll see the first hints of glistening in my eye. It’s not allergies. Don’t kid yourself. I’m unequivocally moved to tears.

But would you believe for years I gulped back tears because I was worried I’d look weak or – let’s face it – crazy. I used to love to get in my car or take a shower and crank up my favorite songs that made me cry. I loved the privacy of that. No one would ever know that I (GASP!) had feelings. Feelings like empathy and sentiment and what appears to be a pretty strong ability to put myself in another woman’s shoes.

Little by little over the past couple of years I’ve decided to shed the burden of trying to look invincible. What I’ve found is that the part of me that gets choked up about things like greeting cards and television shows is the same part of me that makes me a good friend and a good coach. But, even more important than that, is the fact that letting that sloppy, sniffly part of myself show also makes me – Me. I am that person who cries at the things that other people find overly sentimental.

And what about you?

As a coach, I love supporting my clients in the process of taking off the mask and living more authentically – messiness and all.

Sometimes just spending some time writing or thinking about these parts of ourselves can give us a whole new perspective on the complicated nature of our personalities. And it can be a great way to move towards living more authentically.

Not sure where to start?

Check out these 10 Questions for Nurturing Your Authentic Self:

  1. Is there a part of yourself that you’re hiding?
  1. What little burden are you carrying around for fear of looking silly, weak, petty or unlikeable?
  1. If that part of you were gone tomorrow, would you miss it?
  1. Who already knows this part of you and loves you anyway?
  1. What would happen if you told someone you love about this part of yourself?
  1. What would change about your relationships with others if you trusted that they’d accept this part of you?
  1. What’s the worst thing that could happen if you let this part of yourself show at work, at home or at school?
  1. What would it look like to both accept this part of yourself and recognize that maybe it’s something worth changing or doing some work around?
  1. How would you respond if the person you loved the most also had this characteristic?
  1. In what soul-nourishing ways would your life get better if you decided this part of yourself isn’t all that bad?

“You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful.” Amy Bloom

 

 

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