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Connecting authentically / Taking off the mask

Connecting authentically can sound very appealing and natural to some of us but totally strange and even terrifying to others. 

What does it mean to connect authentically? Well, it means showing your true self, disclosing your thoughts, emotions and needs to the person in front of you. And I am sure, as I am saying this, some of you are already getting uneasy. Be authentic? Disclose my feelings? Why would I ever want to do that?

We all have had those experiences (and some of us quite a lot) when we showed our true self to someone we cared about and it totally backfired on us. Maybe we were honest about our romantic feelings and we got laughed at. Maybe in our family home, whenever we wanted to say something, no one listened. Or, maybe when we cried, it was mocked and we were repeatedly told to toughen up.

Our modern world does a pretty good job of making us swallow up our emotions and pretend we don't have them at all. It is no surprise we build our walls up. We are getting countless messages that being vulnerable is not desirable whereas being rational and unmoved is being strong. And we have seen it many times, people respect the strong ones, while the weak seem to be walked over.

If we want to “succeed” in today’s world, we can easily come to the conclusion that it is better not to have any emotions at all. And that can work pretty well up to a certain point. We can have a successful career and even our relationships can look pretty smooth on the outside. But how are we actually doing on the inside? Do we have anyone to talk to when things get tough (as they inevitably do in life)? Is there anyone we can ask for help when we need it?

Authentic connection, how I look at it, is about pulling off the mask, opening up your heart and saying: "Hey, this is me, this is how I feel and this is what I need”. And yes, it might come as a shock to others if you have never said anything like this before. However, you can trust me on this, if someone truly cares about you, they will listen, when you say: “I am hurt”, “I am upset”, “I am sad”. They will not pretend you didn’t say it and they will definitely not want to leave you because of that.

And if it happens that they repeatedly ignore your feelings, wants and needs, well, are they really the kind of people you want to surround yourself with?

If you are able to be genuinely seen for who you are in a relationship, have mutual trust, care and respect for one another, you are building an incredibly strong bond that will not get shaken over time. 

I know not many of us were fortunate enough to see those kinds of relationships growing up. Therefore, it might be hard to believe that they are at all possible. They are out there though. How I see it, they just require a little more effort with our modern world telling us that everything else is desirable. There are plenty of myths, scenarios and stories our society has created and it is so interesting that underneath them all we really are the same people longing for love and connection.

I invite you to think about authenticity in your own life. Are you putting on a mask in your relationships with people? And if you are, how is it helping you? And are there instances when it is not? The chance is, if you are reading this, you might have already been thinking about some of this yourself. I would be very happy to hear your comments down below.

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