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Must Authenticity Equal Rejection?

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Must Authenticity Equal Rejection?

When I launched Owning Pink a year and a half ago, my goal was to stay true to my authentic self, even as I revealed more and more of myself publicly. Many times, when writing a post — and later, writing Whatís Up Down There? — I questioned how much to reveal. Where do you draw the line between being authentic and just TMI (too much information)? Iíve been known to tweet on Twitter about signing off so I can go get lucky with my hubby. Iíve written openly in my blog and my book about the HPV that led me to have a procedure on my cervix meant to ward off cervical cancer. Iím featured in Redbook magazine this month discussing the sexual dysfunction that contributed to the demise of my first marriage. In my book, I confess to the elective C-section I had, the one I lied to everyone about when it happened four years ago. I write openly about the ambivalent feelings I had as a new mother.

So why am I doing this? Donít I have any sense of modesty? Donít I have secrets Iíd prefer to keep to myself? Is nothing sacred? Does the world really need to know every little detail of my life? Arenít there people I should protect? Do I really want to be ALL ME, ALL THE TIME? These are great questions — ones I wind up asking myself all the time.

Guilty Secrets

For most of my life, I modulated everything I put out there in the world. I didnít tell my friends where I applied to college because I didnít want them to know if I wasnít accepted to my first choice school. I kept secrets from my parents because I was afraid they wouldnít love me if they knew the truth. I was afraid to tell one boyfriend that I had slept with someone he knew, thinking he might not like me if I confessed. I wasnít living truthfully in other ways, as well. I did things at work I didnít want to do because I was afraid Iíd get the boot if I stood up for what I believed was right. I hung out with people I didnít respect because I was afraid to be honest about how I wanted to live my life. In other words, I spent too much of my youth living a lie.

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Lissa Rankin

Lissa Rankin, MD is a mind-body medicine physician, founder of the†Whole Health Medicine Institute training program for physicians and other health care providers, and the New York Times bestselling author of†Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself.† She is on a grassroots mission to heal health care, while empowering you to heal yourself.† Lissa blogs at†LissaRankin.com and also created two online communities -†HealHealthCareNow.com and†OwningPink.com. She is also the author of two other books, a professional artist, an amateur ski bum, and an avid hiker. Lissa lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and daughter.

56 comments

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10:46PM PST on Mar 10, 2011

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8:14PM PST on Nov 19, 2010

I love the notion of "letting your freak flag fly"! And there are so many ways in which we cover our own light -- for many of the reasons you note in your post.
Thank-you for your honesty. You can't possibly please everyone – and a true friend doesn't need you to. They simply want you to be your best self.
Yet there are times -- such as when you're coping with a husband's infidelity -- when cloaking yourself is the safe thing to do. At least at first, until your skin is thick enough to handle others' often unkind comments about infidelity, which can tend to "blame the victim."
I look forward to the day when I don't have to hide under a pseudonym.

6:00PM PST on Nov 18, 2010

It's crazy how soul connected I am with the words you just wrote. I'm an old soul with a completely different mindset from the people I am constantly surrounded with. I have my good times with them and even my bad but I find myself holding my tongue back plenty of times. I don't care that they won't GET IT per se but I guess the underlying factor is rejection. I'm at a point where I'm fine being alone and I like it, hell, I LOVE it. But ultimately, I wonder why is it that when I'm done hanging out with great people I do indeed like, I always get a little glum? It's because I don't express myself when I know I should. When they say or act in a way I completely disagree with, I don't say anything and it eats at me later, later when I really can't say anything. There's a lot I could say now but I'll end it here because there's a lot I need to say to them and I hope that with each passing day I do. That I open up a little more and accept myself the way I am and they can accept it too, if not, SIONARA. Spell check? Haha, Thank you for the great post, Lissa.

4:49PM PST on Nov 16, 2010

Sue T everyone gets to make the comments they want whether it is popular or not. You chose to comment, that is your right. The highest purpose of this is to not spread negativity. Before you condemn take a look at your own contribution.

6:05AM PST on Nov 15, 2010

Boo hoo! The 2010 Self-Absorption Prise is clearly yours!

6:03AM PST on Nov 15, 2010

Boo bloody hoo! You most certainly should receive The 2010 Self-Absorption Prize!

8:08PM PST on Nov 14, 2010

I just wanted to say I totally agree with you. I am currently going through a similar process of first getting to know my true core self, and from there living my life in accordance with that true self. And like you, this has caused some changes in my life. Change, even for the better, is often a rough process, but things can only be improved by being true to yourself.

2:29AM PST on Nov 14, 2010

I am authentic in my pursuit to end pedophilia to the point of receiving death threats and more. This doesn't mean I give out all personal info. Just put my all into the cause. Realize where the line is and follow it.

11:38PM PST on Nov 13, 2010

.... to continue my thought...the info in the article made me not want to read further.

Not to be mean but I really have no need to read about this. These are things I talk about with people I really "know".

11:34PM PST on Nov 13, 2010

I think yeah TMI from an unknown person is like a bit offsetting to me. I can write anything I want to. How does someone know if it is true or real?

Save the personal stuff for close personal friends ....

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