Lately, the word “authenticity” has crossed my mind at random moments in the day… it’s been when my brain is a little bit more quiet than the norm, or when I am thinking about my future goals and plans.
Who am I? Who are you?
No, really. WHO are you deep down inside? Have you really given this some thought?
We all have a façade; a mask that we wear when we want to portray a certain personality to those around us. Sometimes, we get so accustomed to that projected personality that we believe that is who we really are. We begin to justify decisions, reactions and thoughts based off of that personality. After a while, we forget who we truly are, and we become blind to the consequences of not being our true selves—our authentic selves.
What do I mean by this? Are you blindly happy or blindly sad? I say blindly in the sense that we are using a construct of who we think we are to justify how we feel. Are you happy, but you rationalize your decisions without considering their long term effect? One day, our TRUE selves will need to come out—no longer stifled by the layers upon layers of a life we have built around the person we want others to believe we are.
Being blindly sad has more to do with the weight of our decisions, and not knowing why we feel a persistent sense of sadness or despair (no matter how good or bad things may be in our lives). As we make choices based on the person we want to be seen as, our inner selves cannot come to terms with the effects of those decisions. They may have lead you down a path where your true self never wanted to go, or cannot find joy.
This projected personality can, at times, be seen by others. When you “try too hard,” are excessively eager, or try to squeeze yourself into a conversation or situation you manage to put off the people around you (as these people can see right through the illusion). You may not even be aware of your actions. Your absolute need for approval and constant attention is a clear sign – you are not being your authentic self.
So. How do we find out who we are?
We stop. We find some quiet time. We write. We think. We analyze.
I know, I know! Sometimes we barely have five minutes to ourselves. Our busy, fast-paced life is always demanding MORE, MORE, MORE from us. Yet, we need to make time for ourselves.
Recently, I started thinking about the changes I have gone through over the last decade. About 10 years ago I was desperate for the attention of a particular person. My self-worth and ability to be loved was determined by the amount of attention I would receive from that person. Five years ago, I would have turned a blind eye to issues that caused me inner turmoil, to avoid stirring up issues. I also went through a stage when I felt I was not living life to the fullest and enjoying myself and those around me if I wasn’t texting/calling multiple friends in a day and planning a jam packed social schedule every weekend.
Even now I still have conflict within myself. They mainly surround basing my self-worth on a number on a scale. I am, at least, in a place where I am aware of this and am working on it.
I find that I am in a happier place. A more peaceful place in my life. I do not base my ability to be loved on the amount of attention I receive, but instead on the quality of love I share with my husband. I no longer base what is supposed to be my life’s happiness over the amount of people I communicate with on a daily basis and see on the weekends. I value those who have shown me authentic friendship and have appreciated my authentic self.
I find I am second-guessing myself less every day. I now have new goals, new dreams and new achievements to chase – and honestly, I am genuinely happy/nervous/excited.
What is my message here? I hope you find happiness with who you really are. Don’t work so hard to build an illusion of who you are for others. Bring down your walls. Take the time to think about what makes YOU happy. Who YOU are. What YOU want to do with your life.
I want you to know that it is OKAY to be who you are. If you find your energy depleted from either shunning attention when you really want to shine or devoting too much time to others when you really just need to be alone – STOP and listen to what YOU want. Free yourself from the illusion. Create YOUR definition of happiness.