Once trust is built, distance cannot kill it. Time and space alone cannot destroy authentic connection.
I believe that the best leadership is loud authenticity. That is what the world needs now. We don’t need more plastic, Photoshooped perfection. I don’t want people to look at me and wish they could be me. I want people to look at me and see their own potential. I want people to be more accepting of their own failures, imperfections, and struggles because they watch me accept of my own.
Compassion and communication are both incredibly important in relationships, but most of us use these at the wrong time. If we communicate, it's only in times of conflict, allowing repressed emotions and unsaid worries form into their worst phrasings. If we show compassion, it's only in good times, when we're feeling good about one another and don't feel triggered or attacked. What if we changed our approach? What if we showed compassion in conflict—taking the time to listen, understand, help each other release pent-up emotions? And what if we communicated in good times—taking the time to talk about patterns we fall into, triggers we both have, and how we can work together to break our cycles? Then, we would stop helplessly dancing the same old tango of mutual misunderstanding. Then, we could work on giving one another room to feel, to love, and to grow.
The biggest mistake people make when trying to be authentic is just that: they try. They see these role models of what an authentic person is supposed to look like or act like, and they try to emulate that. Authenticity isn't about what things appear to be. It's about allowing things to be what they are. Authenticity is about getting away from hiding, from wearing a mask, from always asking, How should I act? What should I say? What will people think? That includes asking, How should an authentic person act? What would a genuine person say?Being authentic isn't about making yourself a certain way. It's not even about finding out what you really enjoy as opposed to what other people enjoy, or who you really are as opposed to who other people are. Authenticity is allowing your likes, dislikes, personality, appearance, hobbies, and beliefs to be fluid, to change, to evolve as you learn, grow, and experience the world.At its core, authenticity is the practice of surrendering the tiresome task of keeping up appearances and taking up of the lifetime work of allowing what is already within you to come out while you remove as many internal and external obstacles as possible.And who knows what will spill out of you if you just allow it to? Who knows what is within you awaiting recognition, awaiting permission to show itself to the world? Even you don’t know—until you try. Or, rather, until you stop trying. Until you become curious.
When you love people, you are curious about who they are, what they think, and how they feel. You watch them closely, wondering about their experience and what you can do to make it more enjoyable. You feel compassion for their pain and seek to make it more bearable. You are eager to learn the unique language of their existence. You want to under-stand them, inspire them, heal them. What if you could look at yourself this way?
Only love that continues to flow in the face of anger, blame, and indifference can be called love. All else is simply a transaction.
To love everyone unconditionally does not mean to give everyone your unconditional time. Sometimes, to love completely, we must never see someone again. This, too, is love. This is giving someone the freedom to exist and be happy, even if it must be without you.
If you do not respect your own wishes, no one else will. You will simply attract people who disrespect you as much as you do.
In some ways, we will always be different. In other ways, we will always be the same. There is always room to disagree and blame, just as there is always room to take a new perspective and empathize. Understanding is a choice.
I wanted, for so long, for someone to understand me better than I understood myself, to take control of me, to save me, to make it all better. I thought that the hardest part of a loving, mutually healing relationship would be showing my vulnerable, raw spots to a person, even though I'd been hurt so many times before. This has not been the hardest part. The actual hardest part has been realizing that no one, no matter how compassionate and kind they are, will say the perfect things always. Myself included. The hardest part has been learning to communicate what I need, to hear what others need, to tell others how to tell me what they need. Intimacy takes communication. A lot of it.We all have triggers. I don't know your triggers, and you don't know mine. No matter how much I love or trust you, you cannot possibly know exactly the words I need to hear, the words I don't want to hear, and the way I like to be touched.And how strange that we expect these things of each other. How strange (and self-sabotaging) that we refuse to get into relationships and friendships with people unless they treat us in just that perfect way. We've been raised to want fairy tales. We've been raised to wait for flawless saviors to rescue us. But the savior isn't flawless and the savior is not coming. The savior is you. The savior is still learning. The savior is never done learning. The savior is a human being.Forget perfect. Forget flawless. And start speaking your truth. Start speaking what you want and how you want it. And start asking and listening, really listening, to what the people around you say.Maybe, then, we will stop abandoning and hurting each other. Maybe, then, there's hope for us.
When you love people, you are curious about who they are, what they think, and how they feel. You watch them closely, wondering about their experience and what you can do to make it more enjoyable. You feel compassion for their pain and seek to make it more bearable. You are eager to learn the unique language of their existence. You want to understand them, inspire them, heal them. What if you could look at yourself this way?
The important thing is for me to feel love towards my fellow human beings—and sometimes, that has to be at a distance.
Self-love is essential. Until you can learn how to feel loved in an empty room, you will not feel loved for very long in any other room.
There is no quick fix-all procedure to heal your insecurities. Like any relationship, the relationship with yourself must be built and re-built one kind, loving conversation at a time.
Sometimes love doesn't look like what we think it should look like. Sometimes it's paradoxical. Sometimes we have to step outside our comfort zone. Sometimes we have to be more honest than we thought we'd ever have to be or more supportive than we are taught is appropriate. When we traverse those boundaries, that's when we really understand what this whole love thing is all about. We become more than just human. We become part of the giant, beautiful ever-changing reality of life. By loving without limits, we become wise, strong, and beautiful. We become more of what we already are.
Sometimes, to love people, I must completely avoid them. Sometimes, to be strong, I must completely fall apart. Sometimes, to create, I must completely destroy.
Loving yourself isn't just about celebrating your accomplishments and nurturing your talents. Those things are nice, sure. But that's not how we know others love us. We know others love us when they see us with our face on the ground, crying and weak, feeling like we've got nothing to offer the world—and they smile, and they reach out, and they love us anyway. Loving yourself is what you do when you fail, when you don't know, when you screw up, when you forget, when you lose everything. Loving yourself is what you do when you can't approve of what you've done. Loving yourself is what you do when you're not sure if it's going to get better. Loving yourself is what you must do in those moments when you can't like yourself. Real love is when you reach out for no good reason at all, except to love.
If we learn to be responsible for our own emotions, thoughts, and needs, then we can see other people for who they are as opposed to what they can do for us.
Fear echoes your self-defined limitations, not your actual ones. To change your self-image, you must face what scares you.
Yes, it’s okay to be afraid. It’s okay to hesitate before plunging from your comfort zone.It’s okay to have scars, pimples, insecurities, moles, cellulite, tremors, debts, redness, regrets, loneliness and uncertainty.It’s okay to have no idea what you’re doing.It’s okay to struggle with some things, while enjoying others. It’s okay to find joy in the beauty in life, even after a great loss. It’s okay to change. It’s okay to move on. And it’s okay to fear changing and moving on.Wherever you are, and whatever you are experiencing, is okay. You didn’t invent the universe and you didn’t invent the human condition.You don’t need permission to live whatever you’re living, even if it looks and feels different from anyone else’s life around you. And it’s okay to feel like you need that permission anyway.
Letting go of who you're supposed to be and discovering who you really are is a journey of many experiences, but certainty is not one of them. No matter how long you wait, it'll never feel safe enough. Plunge in anyway.
Before label yourself and before you decide that there is something irreparably wrong with your thoughts or emotions, ask yourself: “Do I have a caring, unconditionally loving best friend in myself?” If the answer is “No,” then you will not find the solution to your suffering until you address this serious, life-threatening absence of self-compassion. Self-love is not a dinner mint. Self-love matters. Self-love saves lives.
Don't let your fear of criticism suffocate your leadership potential. Once you begin to speak your truth, you will discover the people who have been waiting for someone exactly like you. Until you speak up, all you need is the faith that they exist. And I promise you: they do.
Sometimes to love people, I must completely avoid them. Sometimes, to be strong, I must completely fall apart. Sometimes, to create, I must completely destroy.
People will react to you as a result of their own mindset, rather than as a reflection of your worth. Most people use others as mirrors for their own darkness. If you have been hurt by such people, perhaps you can use these experiences to become a different kind of person—one who reflects the light within others instead of using them as mirrors. Maybe your experiences of pain can lead you to being a great leader, someone who lights up the world. Your most painful struggle is ripe with opportunity.
The most profound personal growth does not happen while reading a book or meditating on a mat. It happens in the throes of conflict—when you are angry, afraid, frustrated. It happens when you are doing the same old thing and you suddenly realize that you have a choice.
You want to fix yourself, change yourself, become someone better. But what about who you already are? You want to craft a mask to wear—something to cover your face. But you already have a face. You are already something. Your task, as a human being, is not self-augmentation, but self-discovery. Look at yourself with curiosity. Let yourself explore your interests. Delve into your talents. Face your fears. Accept your faults, and give yourself unconditional love.By learning to explore yourself, you will naturally become the best version of yourself. Of course, you invent your life, but you do not invent your passions. Some things, you must create, and others you must discover.Learn to be curious about yourself. Then, you will be on the right path.
A butterfly does not wonder how it can stop being a caterpillar. It simply feels some feeling from within that tells it: isolate yourself in this cocoon and grow within it. It trusts that feeling. When it comes out, it is radiant and beautiful. All the little bug did was follow its nature. You are no different.
We all see very clearly in others tendencies which we, ourselves, have overcome. The older and wiser we grow, the more we can see the arrogance of youth. The more authentic we become, the more we can see the lies of insecurity. The more vulnerable we allow ourselves to be, the more we see the dangerous symptoms of unexpressed emotions. There is no finish line to learning. There is no point where we're done growing, and all we will ever do is look down upon others who are behind us. No one is ever at the top. We are all growing at our own rates, and no matter how terrible or how enlightened we fancy ourselves to be today, the future will be sure to give us a different perspective. There is really no use in comparing yourself to others. There will always be someone ahead and someone behind, and there will be dozens (if not hundreds) of different scales and gradients to be behind and ahead on. To be number one is never final. It is and always will be a momentary, fleeting instant. But to be a growing version of yourself? That, you can be. You can be that every single day.
It will take as long as it takes. Your work is to take the time and make the space. Everything else is beyond your influence.
It is only by seeing beauty in everything that we can see it in any one single thing, day after day. Don't run into the arms of obsession, for that quickly fades. Long lasting love comes from an open, loving heart.
Leave your hair natural. Let your beard grow out. Leave the makeup in the bag. Wear comfortable clothes. Stop worrying so much about your looks and start looking around you. You have missed so much beauty trying to become beautiful. You have missed your own worth trying to become worthy. Let the mask break open. Let it lie on the floor. Let yourself be seen. Let yourself see.
Eyes which feast on the beauty of the world will always look beautiful to others. That which receives beauty exudes it as well.