Authenticity is Not Glamorous, but it’s Beautiful.
I was invited to speak at a Momondays event recently and decided to share some of my experiences with exploring authenticity this year. I took a risk and showed up with no masks, no glamour, just me and my authenticity. The experience was life changing.
My exploration of authenticity started on New Years Eve 2017 when my daughter and I did our tradition of pulling a “Be the Change” card to help us formulate a focus for the year ahead. We do this instead of setting diet or exercise goals because the card we pick pushes us to grow in a unique direction.
The card I pulled was Authenticity. It stated: I am true to the essence of my Self regardless of the pressures that may surround me.
My first thought was YIKES! Can I choose a different card? I preferred to focus on something like compassion, communication, or empathy because the idea of being authentic was daunting. I have a history of low self-esteem and I’ve spent a lot of time identifying as the scapegoat, people pleaser, easy going girl, and other similar fear based behaviours. Staying true to the essence of my Self regardless of the pressures that may surround me just didn’t seem do-able. I worried that if I started stepping into my authentic self, I’d lose friends and connections because I assumed nobody would relate to my true self.
But, I chose to stick with that card and it changed me in a most profound way.
Sharing my authentic self has been a journey of highs and lows. I’ve cried because of feeling judged and embarrassed; and, I’ve cried in moments of belly laughter and bliss.
I’ve learned that being authentic is not necessarily a glamorous or pretty thing. For me, being authentic meant stepping into vulnerability which was terrifying, and it almost killed me. There were days when, if I had a little pill handy that would end my life and all the yuk I was feeling, I might have taken it; and this is a scary place for me because I have a history of suicidal behaviours and struggles with mental health.
However, I’ve survived and feel grateful for that pain and my courage to persevere with authenticity because, in the end, the journey has given me glimpses of who I really am and enhanced my current relationships. It seems the more authentic I become, the more I’m starting to love myself, and the more the people who matter to me most are loving me. I’m building stronger bonds with others and I feel safe asking for help when I feel hopeless. This is giving me a sense of connection and purpose.
Some of you might be wondering how you can start a journey of authenticity. One of my favourite expressions of my authentic self was inspired by an interviewer who asked me to describe my most beautiful self. My mind initially went to times when I’ve looked drop dead gorgeous in a dance costume, or when I’ve been getting accolades for a presentation; but I decided to answer more authentically and said, “I feel most beautiful when I’m at home wearing a super hero jammy shirt, comfy pants, no make-up, and I’ve got big headphones on with Daft Punk music.” I took a risk and showed up for my Momondays talk in that very outfit (pictures featured above).
I invite you to start exploring aspects of your authentic self. Consider the following:
- I feel beautiful when…
- Something I’ve always wanted to say is…
- It might surprise people to know that I…
Click here for a copy of the Real Me Tree journal and activity guide.
I strongly encourage you to choose one or two people who you feel safe with to share some of your insights. This activity is especially fun to do with kids and their reflections can reveal useful information for parents to note on how to nurture that child’s sense of self-esteem and confidence.
Please write to me about what you uncover!
I look forward to connecting soon and wish you all my best this month.