When you show up as your authentic self, flaws + all, you encourage others to do the same. There is something really compelling + attractive about a person showing up as their authentic self. When they speak their truth, in their own unique voice, from their own unique thoughts + experiences. I know for me that it totally draws me in. Biggest turn on ever, right?! It's a feeling you get- A vibe someone radiates, that makes you say,"YES!" "I like this person, + I want to get to know them better." Indeed, there is a certain vulnerability about someone's humanness that is relatable to that of our own.
"Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen." -Brene' Brown.
For much of my life I felt the risk was far too great to show up as my authentic self. I hid behind the false identity of Anorexia. I played small, valued perfection and striving over aligning with my soul, and looked externally for validation. I often felt intrinsically flawed, broken + not good enough. I was looking outside of myself to measure my self-worth. Most of all, I was comparing myself to others who appeared to have it all.
When you show up as your authentic self, flaws and all, you encourage others to do the same. You become magnetic.
When someones vibe and energy is real you know it because it draws you in. You say,"YES!" "I like this person, + I want to get to know them better."
One of my all time favourite books is "The Gifts Of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You Are Supposed To Be To Embrace Who You Are." By Author Brene' Brown
Brene' defines authenticity as,
"Cultivating the courage to be imperfect, to set boundaries, and to allow ourselves to be vulnerable; exercising the compassion that comes from knowing that we are all made of strength and struggle; and nurturing the connection and sense of belonging that can only happen when we believe that we are enough. Authenticity demands wholehearted living and loving – even when it’s hard, even when we’re wrestling with the shame and fear of not being good enough, and especially when the joy is so intense that we’re afraid to let ourselves feel it."
She goes on to say,
"When we choose to be true to ourselves, the people around us will struggle to make sense of how and why we are changing. Partners and children might feel fearful and unsure about the changes they’re seeing. Friends and family may worry about how our authenticity practice will affect them and our relationship with them. Some will find inspiration in our new commitment; others may perceive that we’re changing too much – maybe even abandoning them or holding up an uncomfortable mirror."
It’s not so much the act of authenticity that challenges the status quo – I think of it as the audacity of authenticity. Most of us have shame triggers around being perceived as self-indulgent or self-focused. We don’t want our authenticity to be perceived as selfish or narcissistic."
Sometimes, when we push the system, it pushes back. The pushback can be everything from eye rolls and whispers to relationship struggles and feelings of isolation. There can also be cruel and shaming responses to our authentic voices. In my research on authenticity and shame, I found that speaking out is a major shame trigger for women. Here’s how the research participants described the struggle to be authentic:
Don’t make people feel uncomfortable but be honest.
Don’t upset anyone or hurt anyone’s feelings but say what’s on your mind.
Sound informed and educated but not like a know-it-all.
Don’t say anything unpopular or controversial but have the courage to disagree with the crowd.
She also found that men and women struggle when their opinions, feelings, and beliefs conflict with our culture’s gender expectations. For example, research on the attributes that we associate with “being feminine” tells us that some of the most important qualities for women are thin, nice, and modest. That means if women want to play it totally safe, we have to be willing to stay as small, quiet, and attractive as possible.
When looking at the attributes associated with masculinity, the researchers identified these as important attributes for men: emotional control, primacy of work, control over women, and pursuit of status. That means if men want to play it safe, they need to stop feeling, start earning, and give up on meaningful connection.The thing is authenticity isn’t always the safe option. Sometimes choosing being real over being liked is all about playing it unsafe. It means stepping out of our comfort zone. And trust me, as someone who has stepped out on many occasions, it’s easy to get knocked around when you’re wandering through new territory.
It’s easy to attack and criticize someone while he or she is risk-taking – voicing an unpopular opinion or sharing a new creation with the world or trying something new that he or she hasn’t quite mastered. Cruelty is cheap, easy, and rampant. It’s also chicken-shit. Especially when you attack and criticize anonymously – like technology allows so many people to do these days. As we struggle to be authentic and brave, it’s important to remember that cruelty always hurts, even if the criticisms are untrue. When we go against the grain and put ourselves and our work out in the world, some people will feel threatened and they will go after what hurts the most – our appearance, our lovability, and even our parenting.
Mindfully practicing authenticity during our most soul-searching struggles is how we invite grace, joy, and gratitude into our lives. E. E. Cummings wrote,
“To be nobody-but-yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody but yourself – means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight – and never stop fighting.”
“Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.”
― Brené Brown
Perhaps you had poor role models of authenticity. Your parents, teachers & friends didn't show their vulnerable sides and so you learnt that it's not okay to express your true self. You put on a mask, + now it's hard to take it off. Maybe you are trying to be someone else because you're uncertain of who you are or you have a fear of not being enough + being judged negatively.
Or perhaps you don't like the real you or are afraid of finding out who she is. It's not uncommon in these instances to “try on” identities like clothes. But it takes us further away from our true selves.
Each time you follow the crowd or do what other people are doing, it takes you further away from your true identity, that real core essence that makes you BEAUTIFUL + UNIQUE.
Aristotle said, “To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.”
But really, how boring is that? Aren't you tired of playing small?
"We’ve lived our lives with negative images of ourselves, from childhood on, and we’ve built upon those images, and built upon them, and they became very heavy weights. Once you identify with your soul you start to taste the love in your true self, in your spiritual heart and it’s different than all of the loves you’ve ever had. It’s just different; it’s unconditional love." Ram Dass
Being authentic enables you to connect with others on a deeper level + find like-minded souls.
If what you do, say, think + create comes from an INTENTIONAL + AUTHENTIC place, most people respect that. And if they don't, perhaps you're not their cup of tea, + that's okay too. People know exactly where you stand and what you're about. Authenticity builds trust+ rapport with people. It affirms to your mind body and soul, "This is who I am and I have full permission to embody my whole self, quirks and all."
The embodiment of your authentic self lights the way for other souls to embody their authentic selves too.
The other day I came across this beautiful short story by Steve Maraboli.
The Story Of The Snowflake
"Life The Truth and Being Free."
"We have all heard that no two snowflakes are alike. Each snowflake takes the perfect form for the maximum efficiency and effectiveness for its journey. And while the universal force of gravity gives them a shared destination, the expansive space in the air gives each snowflake the opportunity to take their own path. They are on the same journey, but each takes a different path.
Along this gravity-driven journey, some snowflakes collide and damage each other, some collide and join together, some are influenced by wind... there are so many transitions and changes that take place along the journey of the snowflake. But, no matter what the transition, the snowflake always finds itself perfectly shaped for its journey.
I find parallels in nature to be a beautiful reflection of grand orchestration. One of these parallels is of snowflakes and us. We, too, are all headed in the same direction. We are being driven by a universal force to the same destination. We are all individuals taking different journeys and along our journey, we sometimes bump into each other, we cross paths, we become altered... we take different physical forms. But at all times we too are 100% perfectly imperfect. At every given moment we are absolutely perfect for what is required for our journey. I’m not perfect for your journey and you’re not perfect for my journey, but I’m perfect for my journey and you’re perfect for your journey. We’re heading to the same place, we’re taking different routes, but we’re both exactly perfect the way we are.
Think of what understanding this great orchestration could mean for relationships. Imagine interacting with others knowing that they too each share this parallel with the snowflake. Like you, they are headed to the same place and no matter what they may appear like to you, they have taken the perfect form for their journey. How strong our relationships would be if we could see and respect that we are all perfectly imperfect for our journey.”
Welcome beautiful. Here you will find the musings of my soulspeak infused with universal truths on love, conscious awakening, ancient wisdom, grace and flow.