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The Real Deal

Authenticity. It’s a word that can make us feel apprehensive or it can result in amazing feelings of freedom. It’s the ability to be real, to remove the ‘fig leaves’, and be transparent with ourself and others. Being honest can mean loss of a job, someone we care about getting hurt or missing out on some other opportunity. The benefits, though, are massive. There are breakthroughs in our own lives and in our relationships that would be impossible without honesty.

A good friend of mine has recently completed a rehabilitation program for alcohol addiction. He is currently committed to attending 90 Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings in the 90 days following his time in rehab. I was looking at the 12 step program that AA follows and it’s all about being honest and authentic with themselves and people around them. When the original book was published in 1939, the authors realized the massive effects being inauthentic had on addicts lives. Addicts begin by lying to themselves about their struggles, followed by lying to others. Maybe you’re not an addict, but at some level, many of us habitually lie about how we’re really doing and the struggle that we have, both to ourselves and those closest to us.

For alcoholics, the first step is acknowledging they have a problem that’s out of control. Of course each step is important in the recovery process but the 4th step stands out to me and it requires addicts to perform a ‘moral inventory’. The instructions require a ‘searching and fearless inventory summarizing the thoughts, events, emotions and actions of your life, making your inventory as complete as possible’. What would be revealed if you spent some time doing that activity? Are your actions congruent with your beliefs? Really congruent?

I have had conversations with a number of you over the past few weeks about being true to yourself and others and the freedom that results from that level of authenticity. There is no guarantee of how long we get to be alive on this planet and being real, or working toward that, is the best way to honour the little window of time we get. Who can you be more honest and open with TODAY?

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