Mary was a 27 year old who loved the finer things of life. She enjoyed shopping, fine dining, and traveling. She had friends who would join her on her lavish adventures. However, when Mary was in need of emotional support, her friends were no where to be found.
Mary wondered if she was "just to much" and that's why her friends didn't show up for her in the moments she needed them the most. Mary would ask questions to get an understanding. Yet, her friends would brush her off as though she was overthinking things.
When she was around her friends, she learned to keep her opinions to herself. She learned not to overtake or undertalk. She just wanted to fit in. Yet, when Mary went home, there was a struggle within. She was holding on to a strong belief of "if only's". If only I can be this way. If only I can sound that way. This thought process begin to shape her belief system about who she was. Mary was no longer authentic to who she was. She allowed the opinions of others to define who she would and could be. Yet, this internal fight was becoming more damaging to her mental health than she realized.
How many times do we change who we are to fit the ideal of others?
Sometimes there is a image that is created for us. Whether it's our parents, our friends, or co-workers. The image is created and enforced whether through their judgements, opinions, or ideas. The shaping occurs based upon their traumas on how they want those around them to respond or behave. These behaviors teaches the concept of "denial". Usually the cycle of "denial" for many is communicated in childhood, either directly or indirectly. Those messages defines how we interact with others and teaches out to avoid the authenticity of who we are.
Yet, those messages are not serving us well. To deny your feelings when they are hurt, isn't serving. To deny your opinion on a matter, isn't serving. To deny your own truth about a family member, isn't serving.
Why does it matter?
Learning how to be your authentic self is a crucial part of building a meaningful life and genuine relationships. Authenticity happens when your words, actions, and behaviors consistently match your core identity.
Authenticity means having a keen awareness of who you are, your belief systems and values, and knowing how to express yourself honestly and consistently to the world.
Usually the inability to be authentic is rooted in fear. It can be the fear of rejection that prevents many from expressing their authenticity. However, when you continue to betray yourself to fit in, you end up feeling alone and even isolated.
Being authentic matters because there is only one you.
What does it mean to be authentic?
Making decisions and expressing things that align with your values and beliefs
Pursuing your passions
Speaking your opinions honestly in a healthy way
Allowing yourself to be vulnerable and open-hearted
Setting boundaries and walking away from toxic situations
When Mary learned to implement these strategies, she became relentless. She recognized that the world that needed her, wanted the version that she was created to be. She no longer wanted to do a disservice to herself and others for being a version others thought they needed her to be.
May you learn to be fearlessly Authentic.