When I was in my early twenties I used to be subscriber of “O, the Oprah magazine” and received it on monthly basis in our mailbox. Now, I’m a subscriber to the digital version of it. Not as enjoyable, but definitely more accessible.
One of the themes of an issue back then was “authenticity”. All columnists and contributors wrote their perspective on it and how they embodied it in their life. I was really intrigued by this topic because the closest term I knew that resembled it was “just be yourself” at the time.
Almost a decade later, I think I am starting to really get it. Authenticity is revealing nd acting as your true self unapologetically.
How does that practically look like in my life?
Before I got more comfortable with my self I used to shy away from sharing my opinion about something fearing I would not look cool. What life taught me and the aweosme Brené Brown uncovered in her book “The gifts of imperfection” is this “Cool is an emotional straightjacket; it prevents emotional growth and movement”. Acting cool is like hiding yourself just to fit in. I’m pretty sure we agree that childhood and peer pressure in school has a lot to do with it for most of us.
I used to go out to places I didn’t like just to see the gang, now if I prefer to stay home and sleep early I say that. I don’t worry as much what others might think of me. If I didn’t like a certain event or movie I just say that while before I really worried about disagreeing with others. It felt like all I wanted was to get along with them and be on the same page. Otherwise it would feel too weird and maybe lonely.
Even sharing with others that I wake up at 5am to journal and have my own time feels like a huge leap of authenticity. I get the casual “you’re crazy to do that”. I explain it only to people who really want to know more. I don’t need to do that with everyone because not everyone has earned the right to hear my story. Even recognizing that is huge milestone in how I express myself and to whom.
Still learning how to be true to my self. How to say No to things that don’t fit who I see myself becoming while also being braver in saying Yes to growth opportunities.
I thought before that my opinion about something was still immature because I still needed to learn more and read more. So I didn’t have so many clear ideas about where I stood regarding some topics. Maybe that was really what I needed at the time. But now I’m better at taking stands and believing myself and hearing my own voice.
It’s really a work in progress but I can’t be everything for everyone and I’m really just realizing it.