“Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we are supposed to be and embracing who we are.”
Today I would like to say something about the incredible power of communication. An underestimated and underused power that is right there for us to use.
Of course, it is a skill one must practice and it takes courage to address and speak about the uncomfortable, but it is a practice worth investing into. I speak from experience. And I had to learn the hard way. My strategy for communication was postponement and avoidance for most of my life and I payed the price. I did not actually realise how high exactly the price was until I started a.) to notice that most conflicts and suffering with others came from me not expressing myself, b.) from learning the difference in myself when I started to change that and c.) seeing the effect it had on the people around me and the impact it had on our relating.
In the last four years I have committed to making communication a guiding principle in my everyday life. And since I live in a community and work with groups and individuals it is a constant practice and reaps immediate and lasting results of clarity and connection.
Why I am stating the obvious here is because I know that 90% of people are often terrified to express and communicate in an honest and open way. It somehow wasn’t installed in our upbringing that being foreword, clear, authentic, sincere and direct with how we think, feel and are, let alone, what we need, want, or don’t want, is a welcome and bonding exercise.
Well, I would love to see that change. In fact, I think it is crucial that it change.
As we currently are a society with sky rocketing rates in psychological challenges from chronic exhaustion, anxiety, depression, loneliness, obesity, addiction, suicide, etc. we must acknowledge that something isn’t going according to “plan”. At least not the assumed plan of becoming happier, more integrated, balanced and connected human being. Let’s assume we are all, on some degree, striving for that, even if the means differ widely.
What we do all have in common, like it or not, is that we need each other to get there. Extensive studies have shown that the happiest, healthiest and oldest societies on our planet have connection, friendship, community as the most central value in their culture. These are people that come together and relate with each other. And to relate we need to communicate.
Of course, we can communicate in a myriad of ways, and all are important. Be it physical contact, gestures of appreciation, service, words of affection or any other form of transmitting information between each other. Having the most complex of brains amongst all mammals and having an ego to go with it, there is a blessing and a curse in our ability to speak. I have found that a lot of what we say, or don’t say, serves (next to accommodating the practicalities of life) our ego in a rather unfortunate way, where we somehow managed to use language to uphold the persona that protects our ego’s stronghold on our being, thus creating separation with the most apt tool we have in our toolbox to create connection.
Just imagine we would use language mainly in order to actually convey our authentic states with each other, rather than to deflect from it. It would be a different world. For most people, including myself, fear is the first thing that comes up when we imagine a world in which we honestly communicate our truth with each other. It is a normal sensation, as everything we build our identity around is potentially threatened by that premise. If our identity is to be a yes-sayer, who would we be when a no is our truth? If we identify with being tough, what would happen if we really feel sensitive? If we want others to see us as loving, what would they think when anger arises?
Who are we when our authenticity does not match that which we imagine ourselves to be? And of course, that which we want others to imagine us to be. And what would happen if we don’t hide that, but convey it.
Yes, this needs courage, yes this needs skill and practice, patience and more courage, but I can tell you what I see happening with hundreds of people that do the work of expressing the truth of their heart with those around them; They become more whole. They regain the immense energy tied in to keeping the lid on the truth of who they are. They become more confident, more grounded, more loving, more connected. They become more of who they really are. Not an idea of who they are that they have to precariously uphold to the demise of their soul.
Initially it is a daunting and scary path. Rocky and hazardous at first. We have to face all the fears in the book that our mind throws at us with: “you can’t do that, you can’t say that, what will they think, that will be a disaster..” and so on…. We may face fears of failure, abandonment, conflict, judgements, exclusion, loneliness, punishment, but what you stand to gain is everything you hope for by pretending you are someone that you are not. It is a paradox.
We try so hard with this and that and the other to be this and that and the other to get this and that and the other, only to fail because of not truly being what we already are in the first place. So, counter-instinctive, yet so simple and so true.
The more we are who we are, and feel what we feel and say what is true for us, the more we feel seen, heard, acknowledged, understood, belonging, connected and loved.
Isn’t that wild? And on some level, we all know it. But it petrifies us because it feels risky and out of control. We have to be real and vulnerable and then trust that it will work out.
It is not what we were taught by our society, our leaders and our elders. At least most of us weren’t raised with the knowledge of the underestimated power of what Brené Brown calls “the whole-hearted people”. The people that dare to be vulnerable above being safe and move outside of their comfort zone rather than staying with the known and the secure. These are people that lean out of the window to allow life to blow it’s wind of aliveness into their face, risky as it may feel to their ego structures.
Communication that creates connection is one where we risk comfort for the sake of our hearts deeper wisdom of what feels intrinsically right to us. Only you know when that is and what that is, but I promise you, when you practice to listen to your heart over your fears and speak and act accordingly, miracles happen.
It will change your life, and so, I believe, it has the potential change the world.
Just by authentic communication. One vulnerable truth at a time.
Kanika Maria Frings
Co-Founder, DIMA Mallorca, Mystery School, ES