Over the past couple months I’ve been noticing a lack of authentic living theme that directly relates to an insightful quote “Are you willing to disappoint another in order to be true to yourself” from the poem The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dream which I was introduced to more than a decade ago during an ICF coaching conference.
This reoccurring theme often surfaces during a first time session where we explore your core values, current vision, perceived and real obstacles, personal cost, and available resources to create momentum so that you can begin moving the mountain a few pebbles at a time.
I wish I had the perfect answer to why are so many of us willing to take action that better supports others at the expense of not fully supporting your personal self, but I don’t. Although it reminds me of the overused analogy: when the plane is going down, put on your oxygen mask first, then help others.
Think about it this way, if you had a bagel business would you give away all of your product because you’re worried that potential clients won’t think your nice? No, you may share by offering samples but you wouldn’t give it all away.
Would you give all of your money away to the person on the corner with the sign or a worthy cause? No, you would share in your wealth.
Would you take a job and make a career move, but not accept pay that provides you a very liveable wage because you didn’t want to offend them because they would think you are too greedy?
No, no and no.
Taking action that support your core values and believes is not about being selfish rather, when we come from a place of strength and live authentically we have so much more to offer the world. Truth be told, do you really think others are gaining as much as you are losing when you put your values and what’s most important to you on the back burner so that others will not be disappointed in your actions?
I’ve often used this analogy – when you are not being your authentic self, it’s like you are wearing a mask so that X (you can fill in your blank, mostly it’s about being accepted, liked, acknowledged so that you can feel worthy) happens. While you’re wearing that mask you’ll notice that some people like you, some people don’t, and some people don’t care but there’s a personal price to pay to carry the weight of this mask.
Once you take of this mask and reveal your true and authentic self you’ll notice, some people like you, some people don’t, and some people don’t care but you don’t have to pay such a heavy price, because you’re not lugging this big heavy mask around.
I invite you to read The Invitation and take a moment to reflect on one action you could take today that fully and authentically expresses you. If you’re willing, comment about it below.
Imagine what your like could be like if you did this every day.
It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living
I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.
It doesn’t interest me how old you are
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for your dreams
for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon…
I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals
or have become shriveled and closed
from fear of further pain.
I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your
fingers and toes
without cautioning us to
to remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me
I want to know if you can
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand on the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after a night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.
It doesn’t interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the center of the fire
and not shrink back.
It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.
©Oriah Mountain Dreamer From The Invitation