The Year of Transformation

As we begin this New Year, many of us have our new year’s resolutions and goals we would like to achieve. We often enter with a “new year, new me” attitude. But more times than not, we are the exact same person, and the New Year resolutions that we established are usually forgotten about within 3 months. This is not necessarily a bad thing, each year does not always have to warrant a new beginning. We are able to have new beginnings at any point within the year, we do not need a countdown and a ball drop to set new goals for ourselves. But when we do set these goals, we often focus narrowly on the end goal. Whether this be starting a new exercise plan, making money, or enhancing our relationships; these end goals always sound great. But there is a certain type of transformation that is required to reach these goals. We cannot transform our body, professional careers, or relationships; until we have transformed our minds. There is a certain mindset we must have in order to reach our specific goals. Often times we want to change everything around us, while keeping the same thought processes. This is nearly impossible to do. We live in a society where time is of the essence, and if there were some way to reach our long term goals within 3 days we would jump at the opportunity. Unfortunately, it takes more than a few days, and depending on your goals, takes more than a few months. Anything worth having does not come easy, and we often lose sight of this. We must transform our thinking which reflects patience and consistency. These common 10 day diets and get rich quick methods we see in magazines are simply catchy phrases to draw in readers and those who want results fast; which is often most of us. But hardly are these results as fast as we anticipate, which makes us frustrated and we give up. Not all of our expectations and plans work out, but these are opportunities to learn, grow, and try different methods. When we have the give-up mindset, we do not learn, we do not grow, and we fail to take advantage of any other opportunities due to the fear of failing again. Being stuck in this mindset hinders our ability to grow.

We have the ability to do what we want if only we believe in ourselves. Our minds have an underestimated powerful effect on what we do and what we believe that we can do. We tell ourselves that we can’t, or we don’t have time, or that we don’t know how; and soon we believe these messages. Instead we should be saying, “I can, but how can I begin?” “If this is important to me, how can I make time?” “Who can I talk to that has done this already?” These are examples of a different mindset. The focus is less on reasons that prevent us from doing things, and more on the positive ways in which we can accomplish these things. I also would think in negative ways (and still do at times!) when it came to me starting my own business and trying new things. But I overcame that mindset by researching, reading, and talking to those who have done the things I wanted to do. Those 3 simple things gave me the knowledge I needed, and it was up to me to believe in myself rather than doubting myself. This can very well be a great year of transformation for you, however, it starts with your mindset. This new mindset will allow you to live authentically in what you want to do, without fear and self-doubt holding you back. Change your negative thoughts and ignore those around you who also have these negative thoughts. Break free from the mindset of can’t, doubt, and fear, and remember the importance of patience, consistency, and hard work. Insanity is defined as doing something the same way repeatedly and expecting different results. The only way to get different results is with different behaviors, and most importantly, a different mindset. When we shift our mindset to more positive thinking, and remember that goals require patience and consistency; we can very well make this year the year of transformation. If you are out of your comfort zone in reaching some of your goals, you are right where you’re supposed to be! There can be no change without a challenge. Wishing you a great start to this new year and a true transformation towards your goals!

Authentically Vee

Letting Go of Not Being Enough

Throughout my clinical work and research, there has been a common experience among individuals of not being good enough. There is often this sense that we must change ourselves (appearance, behaviors, beliefs) in order to adhere to this dominant culture. This hinders our ability to authentically be ourselves when we are busy trying to be what others expect us to be. Instead of being critical of ourselves, we must be critical of this dominant culture and the values that disconnect us from others, but most importantly from our authentic selves. The dominant culture tells us what beauty looks like, what a woman acts like, and what expectations we must reach; when in reality, there is no definite measurement of any of these things. Beauty, gender roles, and gender expectations are social constructs that society often creates to inform us of what is expected from us. However, these expectations are often times unrealistic and create this shameful feeling that we are not good enough. Society is always wanting to change us, and at times we get wrapped up into these expectations because we learn that is just how things are. It is important that our lives are based on how we want things to be, not on how society wants our lives to be. Often times we feel obligated to enter into relationships, have kids, have a certain career; because this is what society says we are supposed to do. What society often lacks to inform us is that these life decisions will look completely different for everyone, and different does not equate to inadequacy. We are never less than due to being different from others, and we should not be made to feel as if we are less than.

When we feel we are not enough, we are preventing ourselves from living within our authentic selves. Believing we are not enough, or unworthy, changes our thoughts and our behaviors. We think and act in ways that reinforce this message of not being enough. We begin to attract negative people into our lives, because they will also reinforce you not being good enough by treating you in ways less than you deserve.  We settle for less within our careers and opportunities due to believing we are incapable of anything else. We become unhappy with our choices and lives, but feel incapable of making any positive changes. Living authentically requires you to decrease this feeling of not being good enough. Decreasing this feeling will decrease the negative aspects within your life that are preventing you from truly doing what you desire. When we are able to see our worth, we only invite things into our lives that will reinforce this worth. We enter into positive relationships, we strive for new opportunities, and we make necessary changes that will continue to allow for our positive growth. We understand that we will not be able to reach everyone’s expectations of us, and we do not feel any less of a person because of that. We are worthy and we are enough just the way we are. Think of the areas in your life that you may be feeling less than. Sometimes it can take a while to truly accept and embrace our perceived flaws. But when you are able to let go of this feeling of not being enough, you can begin to be authentically you, who is worthy and always enough.

Authentically Vee

Being Authentically You

What does being authentically you represent? The inspiration from my blog name, Authentically Vee, stems from the desire to authentically be myself, while also inspiring others to do the same. I hope to inspire others to move one step closer toward authenticity within all aspects of their lives. My goal is to help others improve their way of being, their view of self, and their relationships with others. My writing is not to share absolute truths, but to share based on my professional experience with clients, my research, and my own personal experiences.

Authenticity is often defined as something that is genuine and real; ultimately someone who is true to their self. The action behind being true to oneself is often much harder than it sounds. There are various aspects of our lives that prevent us from being our true selves, and often times, we are unsure who our true self is. Is our true self who we currently are, or who we are striving to be? Are we able to be our true selves all the time and within our different roles and contexts? I think these are questions that we may all struggle with, and I’m not sure there’s a right or wrong answer. I see authenticity being grounded in much more than just the perception of being true to one’s self. Authenticity is not a destination to reach, but rather a journey. This involves a journey of self-reflection and awareness. It is important to recognize what prevents us from being our authentic selves and what we can do to overcome these things that hinder us the most. Authenticity is not just important for the self, but vital within our relationships with others. If we are not in true authentic connection with ourselves, we are not able to be in authentic connection with others. I believe there are various layers of our identity to unveil that will allow us to better connect to our true selves and others. In my upcoming book, I will outline the acronym A.U.T.H.E.N.T.I.C; which will discuss the various layers of ourselves that must be acknowledged in order to enhance our authentic self. Moving towards a life of authenticity allows us to accomplish our dreams and desires, gain more fulfilling relationships, and ultimately live a life in which we are living truly for ourselves.

I am able to write about authenticity, not because I am an expert and have mastered the art of being authentic. I write about authenticity because as a Marriage and Family Therapist, I have worked with many clients who struggle with these feelings. Through my experiences with clients, I have understood what often prevents individuals from being their true selves, and the detrimental impacts this can have on relationships. I have recently done research with women who seemed to value living an authentic life and the struggles they faced on that journey. I have been through my own journey of striving for this authenticity; desiring to be the best version of myself as I could; but often falling short of this perfect ideal I strived for. This concept of perfection often gets in our way. I see authenticity as the very opposite of perfection. Perfection represents a state of being flawless, authenticity represents acknowledging and accepting these flaws. Being flawless is a false reality, flaws are a true human experience. When we are able to accept our flaws, we are able to also accept the flaws of others, and move closer to authentic connections. Flaws are often seen as negative attributes, however, flaws represent our experiences, our struggles, our idiosyncrasies; and most importantly, our areas for growth. I saw this quote by Mandy Hale and she states it best: “Be honest about who you are. Flaws and all. You never know you are inspiring by simply being you.”

Authentically Vee