Look over your past birthday and holiday wishlists.
Anyone have Authenticity on theirs?
It’s not a request that has come up at our house. Nonetheless, it was an unexpected gift that our teenager got this year.
Our son has always been shy about making requests and receiving gifts. He is timid about receiving presents, asking for an extra serving of food, or getting help on a project. In his mind there lives a thought: “Humility makes me likeable.”
Does this resonate with anyone you know?
What does an inability to receive have anything to do with authenticity and a father’s confession?
Let me explain: Our son’s 14th birthday was particularly awkward this year. As the day came to a close, my hubby remarked that he had noticed our son’s discomfort, yet again, with regards to receiving and acknowledging gifts.
Instead of elaborating on our son’s “issues,” he did something very different.
My husband took responsibility for participating in the creation of our son’s thought pattern. This is what my husband said:
I realize why you do the things you do, and I want to take responsibility for what I may have contributed to your way of thinking.
When we found out that you were going to be born, I didn’t have a job and I freaked out, not knowing how I would be able to provide. I recognize that at that early stage, I was energetically influencing you and your thoughts, even before you were born.
Until you were about six years old, I worked and went to graduate school full time. Though we had a house, food and plenty of things to make your childhood amazing, you were a sensitive child and realized that asking for anything beyond what we provided was like asking for the moon. So you never asked, because you didn’t want us to feel badly that we couldn’t give you the moon.
Since then it has served you to pretend that you don’t want things. You were the humble one. The one who could figure things out, or go without.
You felt uncomfortable when people offered and gave you things, because in your mind this was inconvenient for them and you certainly didn’t want to be the cause of people’s inconvenience.
I am sorry that my thoughts, my stress and my attitude toward life (when you were little) affect who you are today.
Someone say “Boom.”
This honest confession burst some kind of bubble in our often reticent son, allowing him to access the very core of a thought pattern that he held to be his truth, perhaps since birth. Unconsciously.
What ensued was one of the sincerest and most heartfelt conversations that I have ever witnessed between a father and son. A conversation during which our son clearly stated that his inability to request and receive things was not congruent with his true thoughts, dreams and desires, but he was afraid to voice them.
What insights did our son gain that last night of his 14th year on earth?
In an effort to be humble, to be likable, to be lovable, to be acceptable, he did things that were inauthentic to his true self.
But inauthenticity does not make people humble, likeable, loveable or acceptable.
In recognizing his incongruent thought pattern, he suddenly was faced with a choice—
- To continue on the same way, opposing his true feelings (in the land of fake-humility).
- To move into a new reality. Authenticity.
With slightly watery eyes, it was clear which road he wanted to choose.
Overflowing with love and pride (the humble kind), we suggested ways in which he could clear that old thought pattern.
Together we found a new thought (mantra) that could replace the old one. Repeating it for three weeks a few times a day, especially when he felt the old thoughts and feelings popped into his mind, is a way of re-training the mind to a new truth.
His two new sentence were:
I am in the process of openly receiving.
I am true to myself.
In conclusion we agreed that, “The gift of authenticity is worth more than a thousand new iPhones, headphones, motorcycles, or any other possession. Authenticity is a gift that keeps giving.”
I triple dog dared him to tell the next person who asks “what did you get for your birthday?” to reply “authenticity”.
A few minutes later the phone rang. Much to the surprise of the listener he fulfilled his dare, with a huge smile on his face.
Will authenticity be on your wish list this year?
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Apprentice Editor: Karissa Kneeland / Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Sabo Tage at Pixoto