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5 Valuable Lessons We’re Learning From Bruce Jenner’s Brave Decision

Disillusioned by spray tans and Photoshopped thigh gaps, we struggle to find authenticity in today's society.

We're obsessed with changing our appearances to look a certain way; in many cases, we even act against our own moral compasses to be well liked and accepted by our peers.

But, what does it mean to be authentic; to be the most authentic version of yourself?

Since his intimate “20/20” interview with Diane Sawyer, Bruce Jenner is doing just this: He’s embodying true authenticity, and for the first time, sharing his true self with his fans.

Jenner, Olympics champion and “KUWTK” dad, discussed his gender identity not matching the sex he was assigned at birth.

He showed strength and courage, but what’s most admirable is his willingness to advance our understanding of the challenges transgender people face.

Through his candidness, Jenner stepped outside of his celebrity persona to reveal who he is, and to make a positive impact for change.

He is keeping America aware of LGBT issues, and teaching today’s generation several life lessons, each one relevant and relatable:

1. It's never too late to own your truth.

At 65, Bruce Jenner is showing us it’s never too late. Whether you’re in the wrong career, in the wrong relationship or trapped inside the wrong physical body, you can only ignore your feelings and instincts for so long.

Too often, we are afraid of change, or of how people will react to change.

Either way, there is never a deadline when it comes to owning your truth, and embracing whatever it is that will make your life happier and healthier.


2. Happiness doesn't come through fame.

Bruce Jenner was the American hero of the 1970s. He won a gold medal at the 1976 Summer Olympics, and he's still in the spotlight today on his family’s reality TV series.

But, his seemingly glamorous life wasn’t perfect, and the fame didn’t deliver the happiness you might expect it to.

So frequently we think notoriety and wealth will bring us a sense of happiness, but we see, time and time again, true happiness is more about being comfortable with who you are, and less about the abundance of materials you possess.


3. Modern families are evolving.

Families today look different than they did a few decades ago. Long gone is the nuclear family and the family that fits into a mold.

Modern families, as we see them on TV and the pages of magazines, depend on the quality of the relationships, not the number of biological connections they contain.

Whether yours is an extended family, one with two moms or two dads, or a single-parent family, there are no rules and no rights or wrongs when it comes to who you call family.


4. LGBT issues are human issues.

From marriage equality to transgender restrooms, the concerns of the LGBT community should be the concerns of everyone.

The success of America really does rely on the success of all of its citizens. It may seem idealistic or utopic, but the American dream neither excludes nor discriminates.

The battle for equality for all people can be won, especially if each of us actively participates along the way.


5. Love and acceptance are powerful gifts.

Toward the end of his conversation with Diane Sawyer, Jenner asked that people have an open mind and open heart when they hear his story.

Nobody wants to be judged or treated harshly; yet, it’s easier and more common to be critical of others.

To quote Maya Angelou, “When you know better, you do better,” and the biggest lesson here is love is the best gift you can give to another person.

Everyone seeks acceptance, everyone deserves acceptance and, most importantly, everyone can grant acceptance to someone else.

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Nicholas Manning

Contributor

Nicholas grew up in Pittsburgh, and studied English education at Saint Vincent College. Mismatched (yet defining) interests include Oprah, street fashion, breakfast foods, and pop culture.
Nicholas grew up in Pittsburgh, and studied English education at Saint Vincent College. Mismatched (yet defining) interests include Oprah, street fashion, breakfast foods, and pop culture.

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