I often think of authenticity as sitting in your power. There’s such strength from being down with your true self. You can always tell the folk that have figured themselves out, can’t you? There’s a ‘thing’ about them. There’s just this special something hovering around them. There’s this chilled out kind of vibe that sort of pulses with a major bit of strength…power. You kind of know you don’t really mess with those folks. Not that they are aggressive or in your face, usually they are totally the opposite, it’s just more that they’ve been there, done that, bought the t shirt and the keychain and went back to buy a holiday villa. This power looks a lot like they get it. And they are here to rule their lives.
I’m working on getting me some of that good, good authentic stuff. I know what it is. I know what it looks and feels like. I even know how to get it. But it’s a long ass twisty road and a shit ton of work. I know it’s about honouring your true self but what the hell is my true self? Like really? This is the work.
We have a whole lot of other people’s ideas, beliefs, knowledge and experiences that camouflage as our own. We think we know what we are all about but often there are some major ‘stories’ that are muddying the water. Family, friends, community groups, social and news media, all send us messages about the way we are and the way we should be. It makes sense that we are maybe seeing some aspects of ourselves through an outside lens. Like, if you grow up in a very Catholic household, you may have certain ideas about what you can and can’t do with your own body that you take as being truth. But if you were to unpack some of that you may realise the rules and regulations you grew up with don’t actually align with your true feelings about body autonomy. You may not…but you may and you may believe a very different thing. How, then, do we figure out what we currently believe and are like and what we actually believe and are like? Phew. Confused yet? Me too.
This doesn’t mean we have to change it all. It’s all right there. It just takes a little sorting out to do. An ‘authentic’ pile and a ‘working on it’ pile. I’m done giving myself a hard time during this process. In fact, I’m learning to look at my working on it stuff with wonder and gratitude. Phew…I don’t need to think that any more! Yay!
Here’s what I know about being authentic, about honouring your true self, about sitting in your power:
- You say what you mean and you mean what you say. Tricky for a people pleaser who could sometimes say what she thinks you want to hear or what makes others feel better. It’s kind of gross when you think of it. It’s a gross feeling twisting your meaning or way of being around to let others be comfortable. So…working on that.
- You stop getting involved in other people’s bullshit. If it’s not for me to be involved in then I’m working on not getting all uppity about it. I try to use that phrase ‘not my circus, not my monkeys’ to remind me to take a step back and let others be grown ass adults. Even if they are doing it wrong. Or being wrong. But…they are wrong! Sheesh. This is tricky one. Am I right?
- You let shit go. Yeah, I know your friend was a total asshat for saying what they said but they have their own shit to deal with, right? Sometimes we just need to remember that people are all working through their own stories and it’s not always a good look. Of course we can call people out, question authority when something isn’t just or express concern for the way situations were handled. But then? You let it all go and move on.
- You examine your ‘stories’. This is all about questioning the shit out of everything. EVERYTHING! Is it exhausting? Sometimes. You don’t have to do it all at once, right now. Just…get curious about things that don’t quite sit right with you. Like right now I’m doing a lot of work around money. Money has a dirty feel about it for me so I am getting curious about why. What stories do I hold around money?
- You get comfortable getting uncomfortable. The work is hard. But so is sitting in awkward situations or having awkward conversations. Setting boundaries can feel pretty yucky sometimes especially when there is push back from people that benefit from your lack of them. Asking for what you need can be super hard. Not laughing at sexist, racist, homophobic, etc jokes from others can be awkward as hell. Especially when they are good people who you know are better than that. Being ok with people disagreeing with you or not understanding your choices is just something that is a reality of life. As long as you are cool with you then that’s all that matters.
- You learn to follow your intuition. That good gut feeling. Actually mine is in my chest. Right over my heart. Go figure. My intuition gets this lazy, hazy warm feeling settling down on me and calming me down when I hit something good. Or when someone tells me an idea they have and I know it’s a good one and they are going to kick ass. Yeah…I get an intuition buzz off of other people’s ideas. Why not?
- You celebrate others. This is a no brainer right? Lift lift lift. Lifting others up and cheering them on just puts the good feels out in the world. And we need more of that please.
- You are selfish. Selfish with your time, your energy, your ideas, your thoughts. You take time for yourself to read, write, meditate, listen, move, sing, bathe, be. You give yourself space to learn and be and reflect and love. You ask for the time or you take it because you deserve to spend a little alone time with yourself. Get to know yourself right in those deep down parts.
- You know quitting isn’t quitting. Walking away from people, places, jobs, things, activities, hobbies, games that no longer serve you can be very powerful. If you know deep down that something isn’t right anymore, be brave, wish it/them well and move away. If you can do it from a place of love…even better. Like, ‘Hey, thanks for the good times, time to move on.’ or ‘I appreciate you showing me what not to do but I’m going to go try it my own way.’ Everything you do leaves you with more than you had before. There’s always something to learn or gain from an experience. Take it and run.
- You figure out your jams. You learn what your ‘things’ are and you own that shit. Like, I hate running. I’m not built to run. I am in agony when I run. Every damn time. No matter how fit or light I was, running was torture. I ran for years. I tried to train for a half marathon. Running is NOT my jam. Why did I keep at it? Why??? All that time when I could have been doing a million other things instead of trying to run and not kill myself or someone else. Figure out your likes, dislikes, interests, people, form of spirituality, sexual orientation. Big or small. Do what you like and love. Do what speaks to you.
Phew! That’s it! Nothing to it. No biggie. Nope. Just those things.
Oh gawd….seeing it all written out reminds me how far I have to go. And it reminds me of how far I’ve come. It maybe seems overwhelming seeing it all set out like that. But there’s loads on there I don’t need to work on. I got them. I’m good. I just pick one or two to focus on at a time. It’s all good. We’ll get there when we get there. And when we do? When we are able to meet others from a place of power…that power that sits inside? When we can meet challenges or set goals or create from a place of authenticity? Well that’s just magic right there. That’s the good, glowy, power shit that I want.
Here’s to giving it a good goddamn go.