The bit before you fly

I’ve been thinking a lot about authenticity lately. How it’s easy to lean into situations and relationships that offer some kind of security, but only as long as we leave a proportion of ourselves at the door. How there are multiple opportunities for us to sacrifice our authenticity in order to feel part of something.

In his book The Myth of Normal, Gabor Maté talks about our need for both attachment and authenticity. For humans to survive and thrive we need to be part of a community, whilst also having the space to express ourselves freely. He shares however, that in situations where we need to choose, we will always sacrifice authenticity for attachment.

I have been there multiple times, I’ve been in relationships where I sacrificed my needs for the sake of maintaining the status quo. I’ve been in job roles for too long as I’ve leant into my need to belong over my need to express myself and feel like I’m being wholly me. I’ve stayed quiet in conversations to keep the peace over actually expressing how I really feel about the topic in hand.

I understand why I made those decisions, because I know that my choice to lean into attachment over authenticity was about safety. Or my perception of safety. If I am part of a tribe or a group, any tribe or group, then I am safe.

Except I’m not. Because being part of a collective that requires you to sacrifice your true feelings, thoughts and authentic expression slowly kills you. 

But what happens when you make the choice to leave? To leave the job or the relationship or the city or the friendship? Most often, life feels harder for a while. There’s a period of repair that needs to happen. Dr Nicole LaPerla calls it cocooning. We have to ‘liquify’ as we say here at Bird, go inward, melt and fall apart for a while. It’s really challenging, and personally I’d say I’ve been in that process on and off for the past five years. 

But something beautiful starts to happen once you’ve done your time in the cocoon. You come out anew. You come out as a more authentic version of yourself. You might feel a bit wobbly, a bit unsure of the new pathway in front of you. But after time, you find your feet, you stand boldly in your new way of being, and, wonderfully and ironically, you start to attract your tribe. Attachment comes again, but it’s more aligned, more powerful, and makes life profoundly beautiful. 

It takes courage to walk away, it takes courage to go into the cocoon, it takes courage to re-emerge. But it’s so totally worth it. 

With love as always, Hannah and Team Bird

Photo by Gary Bendig on Unsplash

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