This is the second of a three part installation of Lessons I Learned from Cinderella. Lesson #2: Don’t Waste Your Energy

“The greatest risk any of us can take: to be seen for who we truly are” concludes the narrator in one of the final scenes of Cinderella (2015). Well, ain’t that the truth. In this carefully-crafted culture of Pintrest, FB and twitter, there is a strong pull to present a photoshopped version of ourselves. It can feel safer to portray an image of perfection, whether on-line or in person, than to risk expressing our vulnerability.

But, thing is, when we avoid expressing who we truly are, we put our fear of being rejected above our desire to be real. We waste our energy trying to protect ourselves rather than expressing ourselves. Our voice is clearest when we are grounded in love, in self-understanding and in generosity. We all make mistakes, we all fall down, and we all figure out ways to put the pieces back together again. And that’s a beautiful thing.

Listen to your gut, and then express who is truly in there, knowing that the light heals and love sustains. I don’t know about you, but I deeply crave people who are genuine, even if they like me, are flawed. I’d take a friend who was real anyday over one who pretends to have it all together. After all, a pretense doesn’t invite love in, it only amplifies the voice of ego and separation.

Cinderella asks the prince, “Can you take me as I am?” A good and interesting question. But perhaps a more valuable question is can you take you as you are? It starts in our own heart. Self-acceptance, letting ourselves be human, and exposing our vulnerabilities in a compassionately attentive way is the most powerful thing we can do. Never shy from your own humanity–it is truly one of your most appealing qualities.