Authenticity

Have you ever had a moment where you caught yourself in a reflection and didn’t recognize the person on the other side? It’s likely the strangest thing that’s ever happened to me. It’s not like I was disassociating and I didn’t know who I was anymore, it’s just that I didn’t like who I was at the time.

There’s a lot about who was the last two years that I didn’t like. In yoga, we talk a lot about being your truest self but when you have forgotten who that is, it’s hard to be that person. There’s a lot of expectations put on people to be something they are not. Whether you are in high school, university, or a company office, there’s an expectation that you conform to the culture of the environment that you are in.

For those of us who live with an inner black sheep, we find it the most difficult to conform to what other people want us to be. It can be as simple as the language you use to communicate, your moral standards, your personal ethics, or your appearance. Remember when having tattoos and piercing were taboo? I remember a time when you couldn’t have these and expect to get a job. Now, even the top producers at my company have full sleeve tattoos. My generation has done wonders for acceptance of alternative lifestyles.

Not that I have always been someone who walks the alternative lifestyle but I definitely like to play around with my appearance and fashion sense. I think it’s important for people to change things up for themselves. It’s hard to be yourself when you are being influenced by society, media culture, and social networks. We all have that one person on Facebook who appears to have perfect pictures of domestic bliss. Unless you are close with that person (I mean you see them everyday or at least once and awhile) we have no idea what’s going on in their lives. We don’t know what obstacles they are having to overcome, what battles they are fighting, or what anxieties they face.

As a writer, I often have to censor my thoughts to make sure that I don’t offend someone or compromise my work. This means that my writing is only partially authentic. If I were to say what I think and feel all the time, I am sure that I would have to deal with more flak than I think it is worth.

I think that the desire to live authentically is a great one. It’s likely one of the best motivators I have ever had. Being authentic is not to be confused with being positive all the time. Authentic means that you embrace all of your sides, the good, the bad, and the ugly. We are not pretty creatures all of the time and we have our dark sides. Total rejection of your dark side can only lead to a complete and utter breakdown of your person when you are faced with a situation that you have not learned to deal with.

~Clara D. Munro

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