Authenticity at Its Best
Posted on April 25, 2016
The term authenticity is thrown around in the recovery process as if it's something you can catch, like the flu or a baseball. You catch it and you're golden (although that wouldn't quite be true if it were the flu). You get the authenticity bug and finally you've come to a place of self-acceptance. If only it were that easy, right?! If only authenticity were something we just had to wait for and extend our hands out to receive it. Well, like many other pieces of recovery it isn't quite so easy.
Authenticity may be best described as being true to yourself, your personality, your spirit and character. It is an active process that asks you to look inside and connect with the parts of yourself, all parts, which make up your true self. And when I say all parts I mean ALL parts. You cannot choose to hack off certain parts of your personality, dispose of them and remain authentic. Authenticity isn't selective, it's all encompassing. It means that you connect with the parts of yourself that you're excited to show others and those that you may want to keep hidden. You must be true to even those parts of yourself that you aren't thrilled with.
Perhaps, for example, you're a tad goofy but worry that this side of you may be seen by others as 'uncool.' Being authentic would mean showing this side and taking that risk in the face of your fear of being rejected because that is truly who you are – a goofball. You step outside of the comfort zone of hiding and say, "If they aren't okay with who I truly am then that's their problem, not mine."
You may be asking, "But what's so important about this authenticity stuff? Can't I do recovery without it?" The answer is simple: If you want a wholehearted recovery that is about self-acceptance, self-love, and joy then no, you cannot skip the authenticity stuff. Being true to what you like, what you don't and who you are means setting aside that which keeps you hidden – your eating disorder. When you remove the cloak of your eating disorder you must face yourself and if you aren't will to be true to yourself then destructive behaviors are more likely to seep back into your life. So on this journey, be open to your authentic self and try to invite more authenticity in. Open up those hands and catch that ball!