Becoming Authentic – Owning our Choices

By Jessica Darling Wilkerson, LMFT

“What do you mean, ‘owning our choices?’ Of course I own my choices!”

Here’s the thing, the way we talk to ourselves and to other people can often lead us astray from authenticity and lead us to the same ol’ path toward the self-preservation of using our mask.  We mostly do it to protect ourselves from ourselves.

What do I mean by that?

Well, we are humans and in our humanity we can tend to make bad choices.  In that humanity we can tend to be judgmental.  We can easily end up judging ourselves and then subconsciously fear others will judge us with that same standard (or worse).

So we bend the truth:

  • “I didn’t have time to get that done.” = We had time.  We were burned out or tired, so we watched TV instead.  
  • “I didn’t realize the deadline was on this date.” = We likely knew it was that date and if we didn’t we were capable of reaching out and confirming the deadline.  We thought we could find flexibility, we have a difficulty with time management, or we were dreading it so we procrastinated and ran out of time.
  • “Yes, I’ll go to that event with you.” or “Yes, I’ll do that favor for you.” = We wanted to say no, but couldn’t think of a good reason not to do it, so we said yes.  Now we’re going through the motions of the thing we said yes to, but we’re doing it half-heartedly or with a resentful heart.

None of those examples are showing us in our best and most authentic light.  Most of the time we believe what we’re saying while we’re saying it.  We want to.  We need to.  If we felt we were lying then we’d feel too convicted, ouch. Right in the heart.  There’s some truth to whatever it is we just said… so we say it and let it go.

But what if it looked like this instead:


  • “I’m sorry, I didn’t get it done.  I’ve been feeling really burned out lately and I just really needed to refresh so I could be at my best.  I plan on tackling it first thing on Monday.”
  • “I wasn’t able to make the deadline, and I apologize.  I need one more day to finish, is that okay?”
  • “That event sounds amazing, but I’m going to have to skip it this time.” or “I feel for you that you need help with that thing (favor), but I just can’t do it right now.”

In none of those examples did we have to over-explain ourselves or bend the truth.  We owned it.

With the last bullet point where the person said yes to an event or favor but went about it half-heartedly or with some resentment I gave the bulleted example of saying no, but there are some times where saying yes is appropriate.  They’ve gone out of their way for you in the past or they’re truly in need and while you don’t really want to you know it’s the right thing to do to say yes.  In that instance let your yes mean yes.

If you tell someone yes – then do it full-heartedly and without resentment.  You said yes.  It’s not their fault that you made the choice to go with them when you weren’t feeling it.  If you made the choice to say yes, then also make the choice to enjoy yourself.  Make the choice to pull yourself out of whatever mood you’re in and try to find the good in the situation.  Is there a song playing you love and you can bop along to?  Is there a friend there that you usually enjoy seeing?  Are you going to be blessing someone with this favor and it feels good to pay it forward?  You chose to say yes to the friend and/or the event/favor – so then also choose to say yes to putting your best foot forward.

Own your yes.

Yes is a choice.

No is a choice.

Own each one of those.

Let your yes mean yes, and your no mean no.  Own it.  Don’t say one and mean the other, and then make the people around you pay the price for your inability to be authentic.

Let that sink in.  Marinate on it.  Hear yourself when you’re bending the truth or using the wrong yes/no.  Let yourself have grace from judgment and just keep working on being real.  Being true to yourself and thereby true to others.

You’ll be surprised at how much people respect this quality iN the people around them.  It makes you trustworthy.  People respect trustworthy.

Jessica Darling Wilkerson, LMFT 104464 is a licensed marriage and family therapist in California.  She owns Inspired Life Counseling and works out of both the Chico office and the Redding office seeing clients in-person and providing online sessions to clients all over California.

It was during Jessica’s graduate school years that she first read the book “Boundaries” by Dr.s Cloud & Townsend.  She was still in her twenties and she was determined to be more authentic by creating healthy communication surrounding boundaries.  She has now had twenty years of personal experience in this field and her radar is usually on alert when her clients are struggling with being authentic for themselves.  She genuinely knows the freedom that comes along with authenticity.  When you’ve been raised in an environment that didn’t value it, or worse, punished authentic people, it’s a learned skill you’ve missed and usually have difficulty implementing.  In this way, while working on the existing wounds, Jessica also mentors, coaches, and provides a sounding board for her clients as they navigate living more fully authentic.

If you’d like to learn more about Jessica or to schedule an appointment, please go to her bio by clicking the button below.  Here you will find her appointment request page, fees, etc.
This article was originally written on Jessica’s personal website on 8/16/2018