Who are you the most open and free with? Truly authentic and comfortable having the person see you for all that you are? As I consider this for myself, I am surprised by the answer. I realize it starts with self. I must be open to and comfortable with “Who I am”. There are times in my life where I have gone along or not spoken up about what was in my heart or my true need. In doing this, I closed the door to my own vulnerability. I choose to not honor myself, be fully me, be fully authentic.

Who is hurt by this?

The obvious answer, is Me, at the highest level. The interesting insight is that it also impacts all of the wonderful people in my life. People that likely would value my full, authentic contribution and appreciated seeing the full ME.

The choice to regulate, to not be fully present and real to one’s needs comes from many places. We are uncertain of ourselves or how someone will respond. Perhaps we are operating from a place of wanting to please, to keep peace or simply that we don’t feel we have enough information to express ourselves. The harm in this choice, is losing connection to pieces of yourself and not living fully.

Openness starts with self. It starts with loving your uniqueness, the good and the bad, the vulnerable elements and your hard edges. And of course, there are people and situations where you may need to “regulate” what you share. Work situations or situations that require you to establish boundaries. In these instances, staying true to yourself is key to honoring who you are.

I am reminded of a podcast I listened to on Wisdom Talk Radio, The Critical Key of Discernment for Living a Life that Works. When we know ourselves, when we are open to who we are, when we are able to go inside to our inner knowing, and trust it, we are able to discern and thus choose what we share of ourselves. We are able to identify the level of openness of ourselves we wish to bring to a situation or relationship. We are able to feel into our body what is in alignment for us and we are able to separate from the needs of others.

By having the tools to make a choice, we are able to create meaningful relationships. Relationships where there is connection, love and understanding. In the workplace, it may be less about love and more about connection, creativity, partnership and innovation, but I believe love also has a place there. Whatever the dynamic, it starts with openness to self. It starts with authenticity and self-love.