When living authentically makes others uncomfortable
Recently, someone close to me told me that this blog “was embarrassing” and that I was “embarrassing myself” by writing about my separation. I wish I could say that those words didn’t sting, but they did. I felt warm, hot shame creep up into my body. And mentally my first response was embarrassment. It was shame. It was the feeling that I wanted to hide. What had I done putting this information out into the world? I was SO out there, and there was no hiding.
And then I stepped back. Took a pause and a deep breath and let it sit.
For 24 hours those words were in my mind. I thought about what they meant to me and why they meant so much. They were just words, after all. They didn’t sting because they were true. They stung because being authentic in my writing and on this blog was something I had to fight through fear to do. I had to be truly vulnerable to do it. Writing about my separation is something that was way out of my comfort zone and was something that I felt was essential for my healing. Deep within me still lived that fear that maybe it was too much. Maybe my authentic self wasn’t good or worthy enough?
Then in true universal fashion, a sign was delivered to me. The very next day, someone who I have never met in person and reads this blog reached out to share her gratitude for the fact that I am writing about my journey. She is also going through a challenging time and it has helped her find the strength to make difficult changes in her own life. I cried when she shared this gratitude because it meant so much to me. It validated what I was trying to do by writing about my separation and divorce.
Here’s the thing that I know for sure. I know that when you are living authentically, it makes some people uncomfortable. Really uncomfortable. Those people are not ready to hear you and and truly listen to what you are saying. Right now, you are not for them, and they are likely not for you. One day they might be open to hearing what you have to say, or maybe not - either way, that’s okay.
I have learned over time that when someone reacts to you living in your light, like this person did to me, it says much more about them than you. In my case, how does this person feel embarrassed? Is there shame inside that is leading this person to act and behave in a specific way? How are they insecure in themselves?
My coach said something else to me that I also know to be true. When you are doing something that matters, it matters because it goes against the grain. And there will always be people who will look down upon it and not support it. So be it.
In the last few months since my separation, I have felt called to write authentically and honestly about the process that I am going through and the truth as I know it. I have had over two dozen people reach out to me privately to tell me about their separation journey, or acknowledge that they are going through a hard time. It takes great courage for every single one of those people to reach out to me - when they are reaching out, they are speaking their own truth. I know from experience that verbally expressing, “My marriage is going through a tough time” or “I think my marriage is over” is one of the hardest steps. To acknowledge it is to make it real.
All of the people who have reached out to me privately are opening themselves up and being vulnerable and for that I am grateful. I’m grateful that my writing has helped them during a hard time, but most of all, I am so grateful that they have felt the courage to share their truth. Being courageous enough to do this helps all of us live more authentically.
My posts about separation and divorce are for those of you who read my words and think, “I have felt that too.”, or “I’m going through this and I’m so glad I’m not the only one.” or “I know this is going to be hard, but if she can do it, I can too.” My posts on separation and divorce are not for the people who want to judge, or criticize or belittle. For all of them, and for the person who called me an embarrassment, I send them love and light. May you one day have the courage to live authentically and recognize the strength is takes for others to do so.