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The Gift of Being Yourself

I was at church the other day. Visiting a friend's church, I should say. During the whole worship service there was something welling up inside of me. Something strong. Something emotional. Something dangerous, I thought.

And I held it (whatever it was) in. I suppressed deep, powerful emotion, because that's what I thought I needed to be doing. In church.

And then after the service we ran into some friends from our old church. And we remembered Al. And we cried. Right there in the lobby, in front of everybody. Two grown, tenderhearted men, weeping for a fallen friend. But not just for our friend who passed away last year. But also for our community, our friendships that are changing, our lives that are being affected by moving on since our church disbanded a month ago.

It was a good kind of grief. A sweet time of letting go and acknowledging, "Yes, this was special. And yes, we will miss it. Because it meant something dear to us."

So, we cried. And we hugged. In the middle of a lobby in a church to which we did not belong.

And you know what? It was okay. No one looked at us with contempt (as far as I know). Nobody scorned or shunned us. It was okay.

Today, I would like to give you permission: to grieve loss, to feel pain, to laugh and to cry. To be ridiculous, if necessary. To feel whatever it is you need to feel. To let go. To not do only "what you're supposed to do." But to live.

This is the gift you can give yourself today. The gift of being comfortable in your own skin. The gift of being yourself.

I don't know if that sounds too Stuart Smalley to you, but I needed to know that truth on Sunday: It's okay to be yourself. It's okay to embrace who you are and how you were made. It's okay to be vulnerable and open, to lay your emotions out for all to see.

When you do this, you are being generous. You are passing on this gift of you to others. And no one else can do that but you.

So, be yourself today. And then go give that gift to the world.

Let me know how it goes.

(If you liked this post, check out my writing blog, where I am blogging more regularly now.)