Being Who You Are Is Hard Work

“Having nothing to hide relieves stress and builds trust.” - Ray Dalio

How often do you hedge in conversation? Someone asks: "how are you?"

You say: "good" or "fine." You justify this lukewarm okayness with the idea that maybe, just maybe, if you lie about how your life is going--it will shape shift to reflect your lies. Or because you don't want to "bring others down" or even "rub it in their face."

You turn down what you are feeling. You smudge what you are thinking. The answer that comes out is half-baked at best. It lacks authenticity, strength, and vulnerability.

This act of "turning down" has rarely (if ever) worked for me. It feels terrible. But it's still something I struggle with. With simple questions like: "how's your dad doing?" I make up dumb answers. It's force of habit. I don't want all these opinions flying around about what he is or isn't doing. Yet that moment of dishonesty spirals quickly.

My energy depletes in the conversation. My chest tightens. I take less interest in the other party because, yes, I'm defending my ego against anything that might harm it.

I imagine you do the same in your own little ways. I imagine that because we all do.

But imagine if you admitted you felt like total crap. Or that you felt that you were on top of the world. If you admitted your marriage is in shambles. Or better than its ever been. If you admitted to your amassing portfolio of diversified debt. Or insane wealth. If you admitted to the familial dysfunction. Or your occasional disagreement.

The freedom that comes from speaking from the heart, not from the mind, or from the ego, is priceless.

The only way to become okay, to become more than okay, is to be radically aware, open, and honest where your feet are. Admitting that your life isn't perfect, doesn't make you less than. Admitting that your success wasn't a straight line, doesn't make you less worthy of that success. Admitting that things are GREAT won't make others feel terrible.

This kind of openness about oneself--to oneself and to others--is the path to being the absolute best version of yourself. Because once you admit where you are, you hold the power to change it... if you want to that is.

Kate Ward