I like the word authentic because it is a description I will always like to live up too. Since I was very young, I always had the feeling that if I stayed true to myself and didn’t do what everyone else expected of me, I would be fine. But it took many mistakes and heart aches to help me get to this conclusion. I felt like it was a journey to reach this authentic self. Being authentic to me means being unapologetically yourself. No matter where you are, you are sure of who you are and not afraid of expressing yourself.
“Authenticity is a daily practice of letting go of who we think we are supposed to be, and embracing who we are.”
But why can’t we all be authentic?
Why are we afraid of being ourselves? I feel it is because we are not sure of who we are in the first place. We also put too much attention on what other people think about us and worry that what we say may not please them. Being authentic means putting your heart and soul out there. It means being vulnerable.
Connection between vulnerability and authenticity
When someone mentions the word vulnerable, I feel like we all have this picture of a person being alone, crying and sad. People feel like being vulnerable is equivalent to being weak. I disagree.
Being vulnerable is sharing your weaknesses/dissapointments/losses with your loved ones, friends or colleagues. It is sharing a story about a difficult experience you once had and how you got through it. Or didn’t. It’s showing no one is perfect but you are always looking for answers and getting better and better. And just maybe if we show our weaknesses together, we can find a solution together and grow stronger together. Just that single experience creates something very special between people. It’s called a connection. When someone feels connected to you they are more open to being their authentic self.
A wonderful author and researcher Brené Brown, confirmed this in her research on what vulnerability is. After interviewing thousands of people and analysing the data, she found out that actually Vulnerability = Connection = Power. Because one person was able to open up and share a vulnerable moment, you felt more connected to them. That connection was created by me showing who I really am, showing my authentic self. After that connection is created a sense of loyalty is felt between the two. That’s power right there.
Finally, we as humans have a need for one thing. Connection.
It is a scientific fact that without connection we can’t grow and we can’t be happy. I read a story about a crazy Dictator in Europe who did an extreme experiment. He took new born babies and placed them in a room, each in their own crib. He then directed nurses to only feed them and change them and monitor their growth process. In a couple of months all the babies died. A baby needs physical contact which gives them the connection they need for growth. This does not go away as we grow and become adults. We all need connection. This is why we have family, choose to have friends and even have jobs. This connection keeps us alive. This connection helps us grow physically and spiritually. Because we have people around us who love and care for us, we can create our own safety net to always go to. Connection not only keeps us alive, it also makes our lives more meaningful.
“Be your authentic self. Your authentic self is who you are when you have no fear of judgment, or before the world starts pushing you around and telling you who you’re supposed to be. Your fictional self is who you are when you have a social mask on to please everyone else. Give yourself permission to be your authentic self.”