How often do you show up to situations and events as your true self? I have done poorly at this in the past. My pattern was either put on a performance (in order to be accepted) or retracting into a shell (to protect my ego). But that has begun to change.

As I’ve written about frequently here, the last several years have been a time of massive — and often terrifying — transformation. One particular area is this matter of knowing your true self. I had to strip away all that I was taught (directly and indirectly) about myself. And even the ideas and definition of “self”. I’ve had to examine my attachments — and what those attachments do for my identity. I had to strip away veneer and sandblast the remnants of old movie sets and old roles.

Beneath all that, I found someone I love unconditionally. Then, and only then, was I able to show up as me.

The discipline to show up as your true self feels very exposing and vulnerable — a sort of spiritual nudity. Showing up as your true self is full of risks. It may cause many people in your life to turn away. It may cause you to take an unplanned path that doesn’t fit your plan. It will most definitely lead to temporary hurt.

Recent experiences have taught me that showing up as your true self does not eliminate the risk of being hurt or rejected. In fact, it increases those chances. After all, if you have been showing up in costume, you may be unrecognizable out of it. But I did it anyway. I showed up as me. I expressed my fears. I spoke from the heart. I eliminated all pretense. It was terrifying, purifying and exhilarating.

On the other side of all that is this truth: when you show up as your true self, you learn even more about yourself. And that makes it totally worth it.

So … allow me to (re)introduce myself with this …

I am Justin. I am …

  • A living soul
  • God’s unique creation
  • A Sovereign being
  • A whole and complete man
  • A Believer
  • An overcomer
  • A father
  • A friend
  • A leader
  • A Warrior
  • A Messenger
  • A primal, sexual creature
  • A man of simple pleasures
  • A man with high standards
  • A man with a complex mind
  • A truth-seeker and teller
  • A free thinker
  • A learner
  • A Coach
  • A writer
  • A presenter
  • Brave
  • Defiant
  • Sensitive
  • Awake
  • Generous
  • An adventurer

Treat me with respect. Communicate with me with directness and specificity. Don’t stifle my feelings or words. Don’t ask me to modify to make you feel better. Forgive me when my intensity is too much.

This is me. Who are you?


  • Kelli Bettenhausen says:

    Hello Justin, I absolutely LOVE this article and this could not have been a better time for me to reflect on myself. Until recently, love for myself was easy. By easy, I mean exactly that…..I recognized my gifts, applauded life and all it entailed and when I met someone I felt there was not greater gift than my passion for wanting to know more about the person in front of me. Fascinated by the individuals and their journeys every day. Now I am facing some struggles and my self love and self talk are shifting. This is scaring me more than ANYTHING I have ever encountered. This article has now shifted my relationship to loving myself. I will and must embrace even this scary space in my life. INCLUDE this in my love for myself. ENJOY the vulnerability because this is a part of me right now. FACE the scary and unknown with such self love that this too shall be a remembrance of a time in my life where my heart was wide open. This is ME….A light; A smile; Funny; Embracing; Accepting; Encouraging; Adventurous; A Connector; A Mother; A Grandmother; A Seeker; An Accomplisher; A Coach; A Lover for the day; Vulnerable; Trustworthy; Compassionate; Complicated

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