And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. It takes courage…to endure the sharp pains of self-discovery rather than choose to take the dull pain of unconsciousness that would last the rest of our lives. – Marianne Williamson.
Authenticity has become a big marketing ploy to entice millennials to buy things.
If you are authentic to yourself, then you will buy this Mini Cooper or these Birkenstocks.
Authenticity has also started coming up in my conversations quite frequently.
I had one with a friend just the other day. I was telling her about the Vision board that I had created and placed in my condo. My vision board (my dream board, my aspirations, my loves), is the centre point of my condo.
It is the culmination of all I am, and all I want to be. I direct everyone new in my apartment to it, so they can see what I am about.
I also judge if I am going to be friends with someone or not by how they judge my vision board.
If they make fun of it, I know there might be a possibility that we are not going to mesh.
On the other hand, If they are excited about it and get it implicitly, I know we will be BFFs.
My friend told me something interesting. She said, if she did create a vision board, she would hide it every single time someone came to her apartment.
She realized through that statement that she was friends with a lot of people who didn’t really know her true self. They weren’t really friends with the true Liz. But a Liz that played a role in society.
All of us are in a situation like that somehow.
We play a role that we expect others will want us to play. We aren’t really real anymore, but have masks on us, a different mask for every different person we see.
For some people that gap between who they truly are, and the one they play, is extremely wide.
At heart they are hippies who would like to live on a commune. But they actually play the role of the brilliant, successful entrepreneur with a 20,000 square foot home, and several expensive cars.
For some people, the gap is smaller.
For others, the gap doesn’t exist.
They are the people who we look at and they shine with this glow that lights up every one around them. They give everyone around them permission to be more authentic – they take away some of the fear that we might feel being true to ourselves, when we see how happy they are being their true selves.
Not only I want more people like that around me, but also, I want to be more like that. When I walk up to someone, I want them to know and realize that I am authentic. I’m not living a lie, I’m not unconscious. I am alive, and true, and authentic.
Although this year has been a constant journey towards the true me, I still have a long way to go.
I still get swayed by people I love way too easily. I want to ensure that they are happy and we avoid conflict, so in order to placate them, I give in. I put on a mask.
That is becoming less and less frequent, as the people I love are learning more and more about who I am, and what I want to be. They are understanding slowly who I am, and they are trying to accommodate me as much as possible. Which is why I love them and have them in my lives.
There are ways I am not being authentic:
- I don’t think I am being authentic with how I use every minute of every day – I still spend way too much time on Instagram, and Facebook.
- I love what I do for work, but I wonder if I am being truly authentic with it. Is this what I want to do for the rest of my life? Marketing? Make people buy more stuff? Isn’t that counter to my minimalism credo?
- I love to dress up in random outfits, but I hate make-up and straightening my hair – which is coming up as a point of contention for some of my friends, and in the dating scene.
- I love to write and be creative, but I don’t think I am doing enough of that right now.
- Am I living up to my potential? I sway in between wanting to be successful vs. happy. Are they possible together? This question swirls through my head non-stop.
- Should I be teaching yoga and writing to make a living? They are my passions, but should I be making my bread and butter from them. Would that taint them?
- I have been working diligently on hanging out with more people who are loving, kind, and authentic, rather than people who pull me down, and that’s been working well – I feel like that will be a constant struggle.
- Being a loving person, I gravitate towards wanting to be with a partner, but then, I love my independence way too much. Also, I don’t know if I want children or not. Right now, I am sure I don’t, but will I regret that decision? Is that the right decision?
- I have issues with time commitments – I hate to say yes to anything, in case I change my mind. Do I change my mind too much? I’m getting better with it, but the struggle between my rational, logical, analytical self and my spontaneous, impulsive, free-spirited self is constant and on-going.
Some ways I am being authentic and true to myself:
- Living downtown – I have always wanted to live downtown Toronto in a little condo of my own, and I’m finally doing it. I’m living in my own space, and I have decorated it in the minimalist fashion that I have always wanted.
- I am living the minimalist life as much as possible. Focusing more on experiences, rather than stuff. Using clothing swaps to supplement my wardrobe. Going without as much as possible. But ensuring that I do not endanger my health or my happiness in the pursuit.
- I am finally vegetarian – I am living authentic to my vision of not harming the world with my actions. Also, I’m being greener this way which is really important to me.
- I am doing lots of yoga and meditating which is really important to my sense of self, and for my discovery journey.
- I am lucky enough to spend a lot of time in solitude which is important to me.
I am really lucky to have a really supportive base of family and friends that lets me be authentic and helps me in my journey. I hope to continue this journey as long as I live.
What do you think about authenticity?
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