Spring is a time of renewal. Birds return with songs of mirth for coming warmth, flowers bloom anew with the silent beauty and grace that only they can, and men and women alike make a sort of “spring-time resolution” where spray tans and gym memberships become more “natural” than the daily ‘triple mocha Frappuccino’. Though becoming a “12” while spray tanning may be a form of renewal and important to some, my Scandinavian complexion and general negative disposition towards spray tanning lead me to the actual point of my article; it’s time for some good old fashioned spring cleaning of our souls.
The fact is we all have some skeletons in our closets. We all have baggage in our lives that can keep us from living lives that are truly authentic and true to whom we are. Quite often, our skeletons are the very things that keep us from connecting with others or even pursuing our dreams and passions. And if you think that searching out those skeletons is difficult and a little scary…you’re right! It seems, as Americans, we hate to be seen as weak. We hate to seek help and ask advice as much as possible because we are told from the time we’re young to be strong individuals and to attain the “American Dream” and to do that, we need to essentially be alone. Who wants to live like that?!? So I would like to offer a challenge to anyone daring to oust those skeletons from their closet; Tell Someone About Them!
So, like everyone else, I have my own skeletons in the closet. I tend to hang them up again and revisit them like a rain jacket every time I experience my emotions like a typical Seattle downpour. In fact, I have a lot of skeletons. Mine tend to take the shape of uncertainty and self-doubt. Why would I tell you this? Well, I’ve been trying to oust my skeletons for many years and in the spirit of renewal and authenticity want to let you know that it’s okay to seek help from someone that’s not YOU.
I started going to counseling when I was in college. I often thought of myself as someone who was generally unlovable and undesirable when it came to having friends and a significant other. Past experiences (despite having an amazing and loving family) “taught” me to be an outsider, even though to everyone else in my life I wasn’t a failure, I wasn’t on the outside, I wasn’t a bad person! I had friends and I had people in my life that genuinely cared for me and wanted me to be a part of their lives. When you bottle up emotions and never tell anyone what you’re feeling you begin to believe the thoughts in your head that you are alone and undesirable and when I began to realize this I sought help. Sometimes it is helpful talking to a close friend or mentor and that’s totally fine; I however, needed to talk to someone outside of my circle of friends and family and it’s made all the difference in the world!
Even though nowadays I feel like a lot of my issues have been worked through, I’m still in counseling. Not so much because I still feel the insecurities that I once did but more so because I’ve come to realize over the years how important it is to talk and live in community with others even when I’m feeling unlovable or am trapped in my beliefs of self-doubt or uncertainty. We need a renewal of our souls and I believe it starts with being willing to open ourselves up to others and willing to expose our insecurities to others. Though I am extremely blessed to be married to a loving wife and being the son and brother I am to the members of my family, I am extremely blessed and grateful to have someone else to talk to that helps me understand who I am and helps me process through my negative or even positive experiences and dreams.
This brings me back to my original statement; spring is a time of renewal. It’s also a great time to make new decisions, like resolutions, but something that we’ll actually follow through with! I challenge us to take those steps to renew our souls and share our hopes and dreams and fears with others (close to us or an outside perspective) so we can start to live as the people we were meant to be; people of authenticity!
Nick Anderson is a Guest Writer for The Authenticity Project, you can contact Nick at TheAuthenticityProject@gmail.com.