Some of us believe that the question of who we are comes via dramatic revelation, and when the moment comes, our identity becomes a permanent badge. However, the authentic self is fluid and rides the ebb and flow of life as we grow.
Authenticity is continually evolving and can be discovered in fragments. We can lose it over and over or find it in places we could never have imagined. This is the complexity of being true to ourselves.
The common belief is that we only have to find a singular voice and purpose, and we stick with that voice to avoid uncertainties. That viewpoint, however, restricts us from exploring our full potential. Authenticity teaches us to live according to our truth. It is about finding and trusting what the self is saying today.
EMBRACE THE IMPERMANENCE OF THE SELF
Our lives grow richer and more complex as we go through different experiences and this adds dimension to our authenticity. The resources available to us during our 20s will seem sparse compared to our 30s and 40s, but this does not mean that the “I” in the past was not authentic. It only means we were acting based on what we felt was true to us then. Embracing our past enriches our present. Staying the same for too long means we’ve stopped learning or are clinging to an expired version of the self. Stagnation can prove fatal to our overall well-being.
OUR NOW IS OUR OWN
Our truth can only be known by our self; therefore, our authenticity is solely ours to express. Our now is personal. It’s discovered, refined, and enhanced by the myriads of experiences we face, the uncertainties we sail through, and the lessons we learn. Creating something authentic – be it a new business, a piece of art, or an opinion – draws from what matters most to us in that present moment. Let’s trust ourselves during those moments of creation. When something is drawn from truth, it will resonate.
REINVENTION OF THE SELF SUSTAINS US
The most influential and prolific thinkers, artists, and entrepreneurs are known for their capacity to reinvent themselves. Think about it…Bob Dylan, Da Vinci, Madonna, Deepak Chopra, Oprah, and many others. For these successful people, it’s not merely a change of the external self, rather, more importantly, a reinvention of their perceptions, habits, and beliefs. To do this, we have to find the courage to drop outdated beliefs, become vulnerable, maximize our talents and fight for choices that allow us grow.
The process of reinventing ourselves can be arduous, draining, and sometimes lonely. However, it can also be empowering, enriching and magical. We may lose people who have different ideas and opinions, and that is okay. Speaking and living our truth will lead us to people who will treasure the same things we do. Life is short. Let’s spend it with those who matter. We shed our old skin to reveal a version of ourselves that is tougher, more beautiful, and more evolved.
AUTHENTICITY TAKES BRAVERY
Expressing our true self is seldom considered the main route. Expectations we set for ourselves and from others can wear us thin because we want to meet too many of those.
Validation from others is not a lasting reward. We see this on social media with Likes and Hearts, and yes, it can feel good to see appreciation in numbers. But those positive feelings dissipate quickly, and we are left wanting more. Addiction to incremental forms of validation is like drug or alcohol addiction. It turns into a game of chasing the high – never satiated with increased tolerance.
When we speak of bravery, it’s about loving ourselves, flaws and all. We want to present our best foot forward as often as possible, and that too is commendable and a sign of maturity. However, being courageous enough to share parts of ourselves that are less shiny gives our sense of authenticity a space to rest and recover.
There’s no formula for finding our authentic self as it exists within us in this very moment. We can be different tomorrow for all we know. And so, aim to be present. Be true NOW.