Updated: Oct 30
One of the topics I’m most passionate about is authenticity. My own life changed completely when I learned how to show up in the world as my authentic self. Once I felt free to show the world the truth about who I am, my life became infinitely better. So much unnecessary stress and anxiety melted away, and I was much happier.
Today, I want to talk about the other side of that coin. Yes, it’s important to show your true self to the world. But it’s also important to show up for other people – to be available to see their true selves.
Chronic illness can make us focused on ourselves
If you’re here on my site, there’s a good chance that you’re living with a chronic skin condition. If so, then you know how much of your attention it tends to take up. People with chronic illnesses of any type often find that their condition occupies their awareness a lot of the time. There’s just so much to deal with.
The result is that people with chronic illnesses tend to be very focused on themselves.
I certainly don’t want to make anyone feel shame, because that’s completely unhelpful. It’s certainly understandable why this could happen. Still, this is one aspect of the reality of a chronic skin condition. I feel that it’s really important that we become aware that this is possible. In fact, it’s very common.
Remember to show up for others too
You can counter this tendency by setting an intention to show up for others. You know how good it feels when others witness your authentic self. It also feels good to be the one doing the witnessing.
Take some time to really see those around you. When you notice someone showing up authentically in the world, you could give them a nice compliment or make an encouraging remark. Don’t go overboard, or they may feel awkward. Just let them know that you truly see them, and that you appreciate what they’re bringing to the world.
One practice that I really like is to ask someone how their day is – and really listen to the answer. Make sure that you’re signaling that you want to know what’s actually going on for them, and that you’re truly paying attention. Listen as they share whatever they may be going through at the moment. Offer your support, and only give advice if they specifically ask you for it. The main goal is to invite someone to show up authentically, and then to authentically receive whatever it is that they share.
I invite you to take some time to journal about whether your chronic skin condition has narrowed your focus onto yourself. Try to be honest with yourself – if you’ve become a bit self-focused, there’s no shame in it, but it’s important to become aware of it so that you can try to shift things a bit.
Set an intention not just to show up authentically as yourself, but also to show up authentically for others. This is how we create deep relationships, which allow each person to feel both free and held. Relationships are one of the cornerstones of a full and healthy life. Take the time to notice and pay attention to other people, and to authentically receive whatever they share. Both you and they will have a better day because of it.
Inside Mind Gut Skin Academy, we all encourage each other to share authentically. If you're looking for a supportive community where people show up as themselves and also show up for each other, I'd love to see you inside the program. The brand-new version will be launching soon – you can go here to learn more or to get on the waitlist!