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On Stuckness and Authenticity

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Even though more and more folks are getting vaccinated against Covid-19, the pandemic continues to affect our daily lives in ways we would have thought unimaginable a year ago. While we might have waved goodbye to 2020 and are a month into 2021, over the past few weeks I’ve heard this phrase over and over again from clients:

I feel stuck.

People are feeling stuck with their health, their nutrition, their jobs, their habits, their schedules, their relationships, their lives. Of course, I acknowledge the effect the pandemic has had regarding this feeling of stuckness, but really, I can say that I’ve felt “stuck” many, many times in my life–too many times to count.

What if I said that feeling stuck is the precursor to freedom and growth?

Perception is the power to see the world and your place in it, accurately. It’s about discerning truth. This brings up the concept of authenticity. Thinking you are just “being authentic” to yourself is the very thing keeping you stuck. What you choose to eat every day, how you communicate with others, the way you react (or don’t react) to ideas and events, the habits that form your everyday life—all of these you may be doing because you think you’re being true to yourself, while in reality they are the very things keeping you stuck.

Who do you really think you are?

Think about the person you were in high school. Were you popular? A cheerleader or jock? The class clown? The band geek? The nerdy bookworm?

I’ve been to three high school reunions, and it’s always interesting to see who still seems to be stuck in their past identities. I knew this guy in junior high and high school. I’ll call him D. D was a Big Man on Campus. Good looking, football player (football is king in Texas), popular, partyer, fun, easy going. Guys wanted to be his friend and girls just wanted him to look their way and say hi, which he did pretty often because he was a fairly nice guy to everyone. I was not a member of his Cool Kids circle, nor was I particularly attracted or interested in him. But we talked every now and then because we always seemed to have a class together. I helped him with his math. I’m pretty sure he copied me on a lot of quizzes and tests. I didn’t necessarily try to cover my paper to prevent this, either.

I saw D at every single high school reunion. He was overweight, balding, and seemed a bit unhappy under his smiling “I was the popular guy” façade. He schmoozed up to me at every reunion, trying to recapture some type of past glow, talking about 8th grade math class. D never introduced himself, as if he assumed I automatically knew who he was. The sad thing is that I never recognized him. I always had to ask other people who he was, or try to read his name tag.

His issue was that at these gatherings he was only being authentic to his high school self. That is obviously what he wanted to project to others, and it was obvious that he couldn’t move past that. He was stuck in his past identity. No matter what his life was like at each of those reunions, at 28, 38, and then 48 years old he was still stuck in portraying his past rather than his present.

That is the problem with authenticity. We allow our history to define us, and then get stuck there. Who are you being authentic to? Your former self or your potential self?  Choose who you want to be, and be authentic to that person, not what history tells you to be.

Many see personality as permanent. But it’s not. The degree to which you keep living those old labels, recurrent emotions, predictable patterns in action and thought, and face familiar obstacles over and over again is the degree to which you will stay stuck. We all have a history that provides us with the ammunition to be someone new. Life has given us ALL a series of difficult experiences, which later can become the ground upon which we build a new self. You can stagnate in the authenticity of who you were, or you can choose a future that revolves around a new purposeful sense of self.

Your history is not who you are.  Your present isn’t even who you are.

Use your history to understand how to be authentic to who you are becoming, not to who you were.

Please believe there is still time for you to be all you want to be.

HI, I'M CANDACE!

I am a science-based wellness coach with over 30 years of experience specializing in helping people 40+ reduce pain using corrective exercise therapy, get stronger through smart fitness programs, and increase energy and vitality through sustainable nutrition.

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You’ll receive exclusive, high-quality insights and tools about nutrition, exercise therapy, fitness, and mindset from me delivered to your Inbox. Plus, you’ll be the first to know about my classes and programs. It’s completely free, and of course you can opt-out at any time.

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