the first moments was when I read this book a friend of mine suggested.. called the Go Giver. My friend who suggested this book, is one of the smartest and kindest people I know.. so even though the little book cost me $18.00 bucks (cricky!).. at Barnes& Noble,, I knew it would be worth the money. And it was.
The book is really geared towards giving in business and the idea of how the more you give.. the more you will receive and the more successful you will be in the process. However I think it can be applied to just about ANY part of our lives. There was one chapter in this book that REALLY stuck out to me. It was the chapter on being authentic. I won't go into a lot of detail about it.. because HONESTLY you should go get the book and read it yourself.. but part of what I got out of that chapter was this.. that if you want to be successful at something.. you need to be authentic. Whatever it is.. whether it's being an artist, a mother, a friend, a business woman, a wife.. if you GIVE your authentic self.. you will be more successful in those relationships.. those endeavors.
That REALLY struck a cord with me because one of the things I have always tried to be is authentic. MAINLY to myself. Meaning, I am who I am.. and when I try to be something I am not.. it usually doesn't work out. That can be a good thing or bad thing depending on what end you get from me! ;) Which only means.. you get what you get from me. You get my best, my mediocre and sometimes my worst. But isn't that what being authentic is all about? I would never want to be in a relationship where I couldn't be myself and I would never want to have someone feel like they couldn't be themselves to me. 100% of the time.
But the other thing I took away from that book is that the MORE we give of our authentic Self.. the more we get back. One of the quotes in the book is this. "the most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself". And it's true. We have all been given different traits, personalities, talents, outlooks.. We all come from different places and backgrounds and beliefs. So because of all these wonderful differences.. the one unique thing we have to give is ourselves. And the crazy thing about that.. is when we put ourselves out there and are real and true.. we start to connect with others in a way that can change our life. It's happened to me. Time and time again.
I know sometimes for me, I question whether being authentic is a blessing or a curse. Sometimes that spirited, feisty girl.. comes out and I let my opinions and emtions fly.. and that doesn't always end in good results. But at the same time, it's those same strong opinions and beliefs that make me who I am. I think it's all in the way you share them.
Speaking of sharing your authenticity.. I have thought about that a lot lately. Sharing. Probably more so, since I have really been more public with my blog, my art and my life over the last 8 months. I have also opened up more to my children and my husband and even friends. Letting them see all sides of me. Sides that previously I may have only shared with myself, or say with friends, but not my family.. and visa versa. I was scared at first.. not sure why, but maybe fear of being rejected? that doesn't seem like the right word, but maybe just fear of not being accepted? who knows why we hold back.. probably for lots of reasons.. But the one thing I have learned over the past 8 months is that when ARE authentic... it allows other people to feel comfortable and loved and connected... and authentic themselves.
Yesterday I watched THIS video at church... it's about a wonderful girl, a mom.. most of you probably know her..Stephanie Nielson (affectionaly known as NieNie)... I don't know her personally, we are not "good" friends, but I have met her and talked with her a bit about life and such at a convention earlier this year. What really struck me when I met her is how TRUE she is. How Authentic she is and how she has every reason to hide and not give to others.. mainly for fear of being rejected or not accepted (and let me tell you, there are some people who have been that way to her and those people are not worth a second thought.). But she still continues to give. She gives us herself and her life stories and the good moments and the bad moments. And she remembers that she is daughter of God and a wife, and a mom, and a friend and a public figure. And through all of that.. she is TRUE to who she really is. Always. AND I LOVE THAT about her. What I love most about her is that she shares that with all of US too. She doesn't just keep it in. She gives her authentic self to all of us.
I guess the reason for this post is that I hope all of you know how truly unique you are. That you have SO much to give and so much to offer the world, your family and yourself. To remind you that it's OKAY to be authentic. To stretch your wings.. to take that leap and share yourself with us. Your TRUE self. And remember that being authentic means NOT having to be perfect and not having to live up to others expectations.. but just BEING WHO YOU ARE and being okay with that. YOU are enough. Sometimes we try so hard to be someone we aren't. We want to be the perfect mom, or the perfect friend, or the perfect wife. Guess what? NO one is perfect and guess what else? Your family only WANTS you.. they don't want the mom down the street.. your husband wants YOU.. not the model in the sports illustrated magazine (and if he does.. well he's just an idiot and missing out on something REALLY good!) . But it's the same with your friends, your work, your community. They want what YOU have to offer them. THEY NEED what you have to offer them. We all do. We all need each others true selves. You know the other cool thing about being authentic and sharing yourself.. is that when you do.. you will get that back in return.. again and again and again. What a beautiful concept.. a beautiful relationship to have with others.. INCLUDING yourself.
Give.. and you will receive... and the more you give... the more you will receive. LOVE it. It's simply brilliant. Anyhow.. just something I have been thinking about lately. Questing if what I am and who I am is enough to those I care about. I have learned that to the people that LOVE you and that you care about. It will be enough. It won't be for everyone. Believe me.. there are people in this world who want more than that. But you don't need them in your life. You will be JUST fine without them.
Get the book. LOVED that book. Love the friend who suggested I read it. They must have known I needed it too. Needed it to remind myself that the most important thing I have to give is myself, my authentic self.
.... and on that note.. I hope you all have a WONDERFUL week. I am headed out of town to volunteer at our church's girls camp. I am a leader over the 12 and 13 girls in my church and each year all of us (the girls ages 12-18 and leaders over them) go camping. We camp to teach them life skills like building fires, first aid, swimming, art, hiking, etc.. but also to bond with them and teach them more important things like that they are wonderful, beautiful girls, daughters of God, who have SO much to offer the world. We have about 14 or so girls going and 9 of us leaders. It will be a blast. CAN NOT WAIT. honestly. I sat there on sunday looking around the room at those girls and thought to myself.. I am so blessed and so lucky to have THESE women.. these girls in my life right now. To be able to spend the week with them. Getting to know them more.. having FUN.. (cause you KNOW... besides all that other fun stuff.. we also have to have make a little trouble too.. with pranks and practical jokes on each other.. can't wait! LOL)..
so I am off.. won't be back until this weekend.. and then will be spending a quite weekend at home for the fourth with my family. So I will see you back HERE next week.. and have so much to share with you! A new Creatively Inspired project.. my last post about Texas and the Canton trip.. and some other fun news (INCLUDING THE 2 new summer workshops! (don't be mad!!!)).. yes I know I said today.. but you know what.. I woke up today NOT feeling so hot and have a million things to get done before tomorrow.. so guess what.. this post is what you get.
hope that is enough. :)