Lately I’ve been thinking about what it means to me to be authentic. Through the years, I believe I’ve been a lot of different things. I’ve had the drive to be successful in business and I’ve taken a step back in my career. I’ve been a good mom, likely a questionable mom at times too. A daughter, a wife. A cyclist, a swimmer. A girl who loves clothes, and fashion, and shoes. I’ve been a lot of other things too, I’m sure. But through all of that, to some degree, I was being who I was “supposed” to be.
You see, it was all a front. Choosing to show up and behave, perform, exist like I thought I was supposed to. And that can be a lot different than what my inside was telling me to be. That place deep inside me that whispers, the one that tells me to be brave. Yet a lot of the time, it’s easier to show up like I’m supposed to than how I’m really feeling, fly under the radar. Those times maybe I was a questionable mom, for example? Most likely was when I showed up more like what I felt like on the inside, not what the world was telling me to be, questionable to the world, but not to me.
We all do it, I think. Put on a persona that helps us get along in the world. And yet, somewhere along the way, if we’re not careful, we start to lose track of who we are and what’s really important to us. We lose our grasp on our authentic selves. And think about this…when we’re showing up in a way that’s not the real us, the people around us, they come to know and love that person…the one that’s not really who we are! That is a tragedy.
But when asked who we really are, who is our true, authentic self, we sometimes don’t know. We’ve spent so much time doing, performing according to what other’s expect (or what we think they expect) that we can’t really identify who we are.
I’ve been working on having my outside actions match my inside thoughts and it’s been a process. As any of you who read my blog know, it’s required pushing myself to challenge what I know and look for different answers. Truer, authentic answers. I’ve done that in a lot of areas, but one that’s lagged behind is my home. I’d like to say it represents me, but it doesn’t. It only represents snippets of me. It’s like I have decorated with reminders of who I want to be, but without the boldness of who I know I am. I haven’t allowed myself to fully step into who I am at home. My designer friend described it by saying it’s like I decorated a dorm room, sort of. Don’t have crazy thoughts, no band posters or memorabilia from my adventures, but I’ve played small. And as soon as she said that, it clicked for me and I knew it was true. I love my house, but have not really felt like it was pulled together in a way that matched me. It wasn’t authentic and that made it not as comfortable as I’d like it to be.
But that’s going to change, we’re going to work on it. Though I know that’s not the only area to be authentic. Most important is being authentic in my relationships, with my husband, my children, my family and friends. It’s that idea of letting my outside match my inside. It requires challenging myself to be true and honest with who I am, what I believe, and letting that be the person I share with the world. It requires being brave.
Is there any area of your life where you could be more authentic? Where your inside doesn’t match your outside? You only have to answer that question for yourself, but if that’s true, what are you going to do about it? Life is too short, relationships too important, to let them be less than authentic. Take the step with me towards living for who you truly are, being stronger, living out loud. I know you have it inside you. Be brave.