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Authenticity: just be YOU!

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Obviously, I love authenticity. I promote it daily. It’s in the title of my private practice. I sorta have a love affair with authenticity! And yet, this weekend, I was reminded that sometimes it is easy to forget to be YOU.

As you all know, I am sooooo close to being done with my doctoral progam. I have written extensively about it here since my final project has consumed my life for the last five months. I present my final project next Wednesday, February 11th! As you can imagine, I have spent quite some time now creating my presentation and then of course editing it a kajillion times.

I have been practicing it so I can get as comfortable as I can in presenting this very important piece of work of mine to a room full of incredibly intelligent people. This isn’t a stregth of mine, I much prefer to write so I can process and intentionally choose my words. Speaking publicly, even when it appears to be scripted, is still a bit nerve wracking for me.

Anyways, I was practicing in my dining room speaking to an empty kitchen as the projector projected my presentation behind me. Of course the first time going through the presentation was a real joke, stumbling and stuttering over my words. The second and third time was better in terms of the flow yet it still felt…off.

I took a little time and tried again. After the fourth time, I was tired of running through it and having to make additional edits after each run through. Thankfully, we had a baby shower to attend so I was forced to take the rest of the night off.

As I made breakfast the following morning, it dawned on me. What was off was that I was more focused on sounding “academic” than I was in allowing my passion for this research to shine through. Not to mention the fact that it is the first study of its kind and I am feeling pretty confident it can help create some paths to change the field of therapy here in Colorado and -dare I say- the United States?

Once I came to this realization, I was able to let go of the stict “academic” expectations of myself and allow my passion and excitement to come through. Now, don’t be fooled, my presentation isn’t perfect, but I kind of don’t want it to be. I am perfectly imperfect and I hope this project and presentation reflects thats.

Thankfully, I did a dry run with my Supervisor and a trusted colleague yesterday. They both couldn’t say enough about how much my passion comes through in my presentation (hooray!!). They were also very generous in their feedback, in my opinion, although I know they are about as honest as two people can be so there’s that. I’ll work on fully accepting their compliments, but that’s an entirely different blog.

So here is my long winded way of saying, just be YOU. Being YOU, the beautifully flawed and perfectly imperfect human being, is nothing short of powerful. Plus, authenticity always wins in my book and I feel this may be true in a lot of other places.

Until next time,


Ps: I’ll take all of the words of encouragement and good energy sent my way especially on the morning of February 11th. Thank you for the continued support!


headshotAbout the Author:

Dr. Lily A. Zehner, MFT-C is a therapist who specializes in sex, intimacy, and relationships. Her private practice is located in Denver where she helps others reach their fullest relational and sexual potential. To learn more about her and her services, please feel free to take a look around her website.

About the Author