As I sit and write this, I’ve had a whole day of thinking about the subject of authenticity.
In plain terms; to be oneself fully.
This is a big and complex subject, one that means a great deal to me!
You see, I’m an ex-people pleaser.
Sometimes, on a bad day, I still have the tendencies of one – but it isn’t often!
As someone in my mid twenties, I can honestly say I only know a few people who are truly authentic in themselves.
And, actually, all four are over thirty-five years of age!
As sad as this is (to me, at least) I can honestly say I get it.
It’s very hard to be you in a world where if you aren’t “the same” as everyone else something must be wrong with you.
It’s very hard to be you in a world where social media is constantly attacking people for the simplest of things …. even their breakfast.
It’s very hard to be you in a world where people are so quick to judge outside appearances, when it’s the inside that counts.
It’s very hard to be you in a world where cliques are everywhere – from your job, to your friend group, and at your place of worship.
It’s very hard to be you in a world where most people have honestly stopped caring for others unless it’s themselves.
It can be hard to take that first step and break the mold, but if everyone else is honest, it’s just as hard for them too.
Humans have this insatiable desire to be liked and valued, and it isn’t a bad thing, but I’ve learned that it is a bad thing when you let that desire control what you do, where you go, what decisions you make, and who you hang around.
Another thing I’ve learned once I took the big step: people really are not watching you like you think they are!
Just like you they have stress, work, family drama, life events, and a million other things in their lives going on …. they might notice something if you post about it online or see you at the store, but that’s only a few seconds compared to the other giant chuck of time in their day.
To be authentic, you have to take the leap into the realm of not caring what others think.
It can be a really scary, really big leap to some; but it’s one hundred percent worth it!
To start not caring what others think, realize this truth: the only real opinion that matters is that of Jesus.
People are going to judge you no matter what you do, it’s an unfortunate fact, but very true.
Without know the behind-the-scenes, the details, or reasoning – they will still judge you.
If you make a decision based in people-pleasing …. they’ll still judge it!
It’s really a “darned if you do, darned if you don’t” type of cycle that grinds so many people down to the point they loose themselves.
They’re no longer authentic.
They aren’t “them” and they don’t even know who “they” are.
That’s one thing I really respected about my late father; he knew exactly who he was, what he liked, and he couldn’t be swayed at all.
What you saw is what you got – he was just him, he didn’t want to change, and he never did.
I see that now and respect him even more, even though he’s gone.
Maybe you’ve taken the big leap out of people pleasing and caring what others think, good for you!
Now, you get to put your authenticity to practice 🙂
Start small, if you start small and take many little steps you’re less likely to become overwhelmed and quit, all the small steps will turn into a great distance and you’ll be content with your progress.
Take a morning and pick out clothes that you want to wear, not what you think others would put together.
If you don’t want to wear makeup, then don’t! It isn’t a social rule, and if your job “expects” it, maybe that should tell you something about whatever shallow corporation it is.
Listen to music you want to listen to, not just because something is popular or trending. Maybe you actually like jazz, or opera, or lo-fi, or just plain instrumental!
Life is much too short to not live out your full potential as a child of God and as an individual.
The happiest people I’ve met are also the most authentic, the most free of the social constructs, the most individualized.
Chase your authenticity and don’t let it get away from you!
You are a limited edition, there’s only one of you! Make the most of this and be a bright blue octagon in a bowl full of grey circles.
If people talk about you, that’s on them not you and they’ll have to answer for that someday.
Keyboard warriors and gossipers are just weak people reaching for power they don’t have and never will have.
If you have to put someone down to feel satisfaction for yourself, you really need a therapist and a reality check!
Be authentically you, shine as bright as you can, and pay the lesson of this post forward so that someone else feels the hope of becoming more than just a shell of everyone else.