Today I would like to talk about Authenticity. Take heed of Polonius’ advice to Hamlet; “This above all, to thine own self be true”.
ABOVE ALL. A wasted life is one spent pretending to be someone you are not.
To live true you must know who you are and have courage to be true to who you are.
Do you know who you are? Truly, from the inside out? Not who you should be. Not who you wish you were. Not who your parents, partner, society wants you to be. Do you know who you truly are?
It may sound like a silly question but it’s not. We are bombarded by so many messages and forces influencing who we strive to be – from family, friends, employees, partners, society, advertisements, songs, movies, social media – that it is sometimes hard to separate yourself from all this noise.
To complicate it even further we live in a society that is not very accepting of our varied distinctiveness. Often the unique self is criticized, judged and punished into submission and an artificial constructed self emerges. It takes courage to live true to you. Our society not only rewards conformity, it often punishes non-conformity.
Choosing yourself and being true to yourself requires a lot of courage, and the bravest part is not charting your own path, putting yourself first, or establishing boundaries, it is allowing yourself to be seen as you truly are and accepting that you will not be everyone’s cup of tea. Some people won’t appreciate or want you. There will be rejection. When that happens, try very hard not to abandon yourself for the acceptance of others. The more self-love you have already cultivated, the easier this will be.
In her book “The Gifts of Imperfection[i]”, professor and researcher Brene Brown, says she wishes that people came with a warning label stating “Caution: If you trade in your authenticity for safety, you may experience the following; anxiety, depression, eating disorders, addiction, rage, blame, resentment, and inexplicable grief.”