I used to be the type of person that would only share minimal pieces of my life here and there. This applies to both social media sharing as well as in person conversations. I used to feel that sharing too much of my life would allow others to see my weaknesses and therefore make me weak but over time I’ve realized it is quite the opposite. It takes a strong person to show vulnerability, to allow others to see your weak points and to own every part of yourself. Even those parts that you may not like as much.
Two of my best friends are sisters and since becoming such close friends with them several years ago I have changed. These two are the perfect example of how to live authentically. They say what they want, when they want and they don’t make excuses for who they are. It might not always come out with sunshine or butterflies but it doesn’t matter because it’s real and that’s inspiring. They have this uncanny ability to be badasses while also being soft, caring, and nurturing people. I feel like being friends with these two changed me in a way that little by little I learned that being real and owning who I am makes you a hell of a lot more likable and relatable than the alternative.
To me, authenticity isn’t about airing out all your dirty laundry. It’s about truly and genuinely living in your own skin, and owning that. Owning the good and bad parts of your life. I think I could ask those two friends of mine about authenticity and neither of them would say it’s perfect or safe but they would both say that it’s real. Real life. It’s where passion lives, it’s where progress happens. I really do believe that there is intrinsic value in who each of us really is. Not who we want to be. Not who we wish we were.
As Herman Melville said “It is better to fail at originality than to succeed in imitation.” If you are being copied, take solace in the fact that you are doing something right and are a step ahead in living an authentic life. If you are doing the copying, then it might be time to do some self-reflection. Sometimes imitation isn’t the sincerest form of flattery but a sign of insecurity. There comes a time that we all need to do some self-reflection and ask ourselves “why are we so afraid of being our true selves?” It is that we so desperately want to be liked and fear rejection? It is that we worry that our lives aren’t as interesting as the person next to us?
I think those are all realistic thoughts and emotions we all go through. But maybe that’s when we need to do some reevaluating in our lives. I personally can’t stand people whose entire purpose is to be on trend. I mean really, we all want to be liked and accepted but I would rather be a huge loser than fake AF.
Listen, I’m not saying being authentic is easy. There is a whole lot of pressure from the media to be someone other than who we really are. I’m the first to admit than I put make up on almost every day. It makes me feel happier and prettier. As a stay at home mom, it makes me feel like I’m a functioning member of society, plus I have acne scars that just suck but Cary also saw me without makeup on the first night we met so #noregrets. I live the way I want and do what makes me happy but I can own that part of me that feels the need to be a little vain and because I do, I think people can respect that part of me and reminds me that I have integrity.
I try to think of authenticity as little by little building my house of stone vs. building my house of cards. I can portray my life however I want but people know me in real life. At some point, we all have to face the music of the image we have tried to create. Wouldn’t we all just like to say what we mean and mean what we say instead of having to back track on half-truths or even full on lies.
I’ve been listening to the audio book by Mark Manson called “The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck” and I think it’s a must read/listen for all. He discusses how not giving a f*ck isn’t about being indifferent to things but figuring out exactly what you value and then it’s easy not to give a f*ck about all the things you don’t value. In figuring these things out, it’s much easier to then live authentically because you understand it’s a daily practice of letting go of who we think we are supposed to be or who we want to be and embracing who we actually are.
As the mother of a daughter, I find it even more imperative to work towards my own authenticity and finding confidence in my own individuality. I don’t think we do her any favors by copying others or not being open about our lives. I want to teach her that being herself is always enough and if she can find security in who she is early in life I think her confidence can grow naturally from within.
I guess my main point in this whole thing is find what makes you tick and care about those things whole heartedly. Be who you are fearlessly. Don’t try to be somebody else because you can only succeed in being yourself. Be real with yourself and with the world because you never know who you can help or inspire with your own struggles.