“I’m FINE”. How many times have you responded with those two words when someone asked you how you were doing…when really, you were a hot mess? You may have heard this before, but FINE really stands for:
What is our cultural obsession with needing to put our best face forward all of the time, even if it’s a fake one? Who decided that lack of emotion = strong, and emotional = weak? As an entrepreneur, there is nowhere I see this more pronounced than in the business world – where perfectionism, workaholism, and a suppression of our personal lives can make you feel more like a robot. But I think a change is coming. More and more people are awakening to the fact that to be emotional, to experience growing pains, to not be “OK” is to be human. As a business owner and coach, I want to normalize that. It’s OK to not be OK. Which reminds me of a little story…
“I’m Not OK”
Fall 2021. This was one of the most successful seasons of my life professionally, but also extremely hard for me emotionally. As I published posts on social media celebrating my wins – becoming an international bestselling author, being featured on the cover of an international magazine, and more, I found myself wrestling with the need to be authentic about the whole picture.
Inside, I was really struggling emotionally in anticipation of my wedding. I was processing a lot of healing around self-love and worthiness. But I felt very resistant to speaking up and asking for help. I felt like I shouldn’t be struggling while also in the midst of such big successes. Like somehow, me not being OK made me unworthy of my achievements. Then I remembered, it’s OK to not be OK!
Authenticity is an Act of Self-Love
As a self-love coach, it’s important for me to live what I teach, and to remain teachable. I’m still learning, too. One of the most powerful lessons I’ve learned is that the pressure to be perfect leads to self-destruction. As I continue to grow and achieve new levels in my life and business, these lessons around self-love will resurface again and again. It’s not just a “once and done” kind of thing. It’s more like peeling an onion. Having compassion for myself through this process of growth is an act of self-love.
After sitting with my feelings for a while, I decided to create a post on social media being honest about how I was struggling and not “OK”. This felt like the right thing to do to honor my whole self and show up authentically in my business.
This is what I shared:
“One of the things that happens in life is that sometimes life is a rollercoaster… we have a major issue we are working on and suddenly life presents us with EXACTLY what we need to do that inner work… and KAPOW the emotional train has been derailed. It is really scary, and difficult, to show the world when we are struggling.
I don’t want to make this post all about me and what I am going through right now. That isn’t the point. The point is that we ALL have times where we are on an emotional rollercoaster. And none of us should have to hide it. I want it to be normal to work through these parts.
I am having a really hard time right now, facing one of my big emotional blocks. It has risen to the surface in my consciousness because of my self-love work. The world tried to convince me that a sign of being an adult was not having any more of these trials and tribulations. That is part of what I still struggle with, and am struggling with right now.
It seems groundbreaking to people that I am talking about these things. Please do not give me credit for that. I want it to be normal that these things are discussed. I do not want to be oppressing myself in these ways that society has previously programmed into my life.
Lots of people feel the way that I do. It feels like if we show our struggles that people will hold it against us, and abandon us. Well, if that is the case, then maybe they should not be a part of my life. That doesn’t mean I have gotten to a place where I feel safe showing it, but I am working on it.
I know I am not alone, no matter how alone I feel. I know that the voice inside of me that is terrified, needs my love/support/acceptance. I have to soothe and heal these parts of myself. No one else’s validation can fix a part of myself that I haven’t accepted.
I have to work on accepting that sometimes my life is a trainwreck on an emotional rollercoaster, and that it is okay that that happens.”
Authenticity Empowers and Inspires Others
The feedback that I got from this post was amazing. So many people commented and shared that they identified and resonated with me. They thanked me for speaking up and sharing authentically. I felt seen and heard and supported. There is nothing more empowering than showing your true self – being vulnerable – and being met with love and acceptance. What a gift.
I know that this doesn’t always happen. Being vulnerable and honest about the hard things can sometimes be met with criticism and judgement. Or maybe there was a time in the past that you were vulnerable and authentic and someone shamed you for it, so you said, “I’m never doing that again!” I’ve been there too.
But we can choose to surround ourselves with more people who hold space for us – all of us – in our humanness. There’s no better way to find out who is a true friend and who is a fair weather one than being authentic. And if nobody’s told you this – you deserve people in your life that hold loving space for all of you – at your best and at your worst. And that includes you.
Further Reading on Authenticity and Vulnerability
As a coach and entrepreneur I truly believe that I have the opportunity to lead by example. By doing something different, we give others permission. I wouldn’t be here, showing up and being real if others before me hadn’t inspired me by doing the same.
If you are looking for more inspiration and insight around showing up authentically and vulnerably in your life and business, I highly recommend these books:
- Heart Talk, Cleo Wade
- The Gifts of Imperfection, by Brene Brown
- Fierce Self Compassion, by Kristin Neff
- Break Free to Health and Vitality – a hardcopy of my book is now available on my website for purchase! I’m honored to contribute my story to this powerful anthology. This book is the perfect example of “it’s ok to not be ok” and how our most challenging times in life can serve as amazing opportunities for growth and transformation.