It’s resolution time! While some may be making commitments to lose weight or eat a more balanced meal, Natasha suggests working towards being more of your authentic self. While this is certainly a struggle for all people, it is not unattainable. Natasha explores how we can remain our authentic selves in a world where we are judged daily on our appearance and how we express ourselves.
This Is Who I Am: Remaining True to Yourself
By: Natasha Powell, MS
Several events of 2016 found many of us carefully crafting our responses to friends and family. Or holding back laughter at something that tickled us but may appear to an outsider as being insensitive or crude. However, what were we actually stifling or holding back? It was our authentic self. As a general rule, people are not cruel, or rude, or nasty. Some of us have unique perspectives on things that others don’t share. Our values, belief systems, and personal experiences may be similar to some, but they are ours alone to use to navigate this world we live in. So the question is, how do we remain our authentic selves in a world where we are judged daily on our appearance and how we express ourselves? The three R’s of authenticity are respect, reflect and resolve. Using these three concepts in our daily living will help us remain true to ourselves and true to those we interact with daily.
Respect can be a two-way exchange and internally generated. When we respect ourselves, we give ourselves permission to be comfortable as we are. Respect for others is a great defense against judgment and unjust criticisms that make us want to change who we are to “fit in” or “be liked”. Don’t get me wrong! Everyone wants to be liked and to fit in but sacrificing who you are to do it, suppresses your authentic self and ultimately delays your happiness and life satisfaction. It’s okay for you to have your thoughts and emotions. They are yours and they make up who you are at your core. At the same time, we must respect that others have the right to be their authentic selves too and that respecting their right to be, allows them to do the same with us.
We have just closed out another year. Reflecting on this past year is a good way to measure how authentic we were. How did we handle adversity? Were we successful according to our own values and belief system? In reflection, we must be careful to continue respecting ourselves. It is very easy to reflect on how we appeared to others or what others made us feel about our thoughts and expressions. Optimal reflection means recording ‘what’ we felt during various experiences in our lives not necessarily ‘how’ we felt or why we felt it. Was what you felt truly what you wanted to feel in any given situation? Did you feel respected in your expression? The answers to these questions may help strengthen our authentic selves or seek to become more authentic. Either way, reflection is an exercise that can be implemented at any time during the upcoming year when necessary.
Resolutions have been made. Some will be kept, more will be broken, and even more
will be forgotten. However, the resolve I write about is a little different. I suggest that we resolve to be ourselves…every day. We can start strengthening this resolve by saying it aloud every morning until it is one of our first thoughts of the day. Be resolute in the fact that your authentic self will make the day, the week, the month and your life satisfying. Be resolute in the thought that your authentic self will help others be authentic too. Resolve yourself to be…you. And remember: “Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!” -Dr. Seuss.