Be your authentic self. Buzz words. Everyone is saying things like this it seems these days. But what does it truly mean?
I’m sure we all have our own take on what it means to be authentic. But without spending time alone with yourself, how do you truly know if you are your own true authentic self, or if you are picking up on pieces of stronger personalities? How do you know you aren’t just being what you are expected to be?
In this world, being authentic is hard. There are expectations out there. Go to University. Get a high paying job. Get married, have a family. Don’t get divorced. But where in all this does it fit to be truly authentic?
I have lived that life. I was who everyone wanted me to be. I did the education, I had great aspirations and hopes for a career. I had the six figures. I had the marriage and the family. And all the illusions I had to maintain to keep up that façade. I was miserable.
I got separated. Parts of the false me started to fall away. I opened up about the horrors of my relationship and people were shocked and stunned by what I had kept hidden. But this is part of my story. The true me. I looked at my life and realized I wasn’t happy in that career. I wasn’t truly interested in doing research or the other things I needed to do in order to be successful in that world. I dropped it. And I can tell you, it felt good. It was a burden lifted off my shoulders that I didn’t realize I was carrying around.
I started exploring who I felt I was. It was a redefining period of time. I explored things that made be happy. I sat. I meditated. I did yoga. I went and spent time with just myself. I was lost for over two decades, but somewhere in the silence, I found me.
Not everyone likes the me I am today, and I am ok with that. I have been passed up for opportunities that I am more than qualified for simply because I no longer follow the corporate rules, and that is ok. I forgive the people and the situation. I thank the Universe for the experience and go forward knowing that I am exactly where I need to be, because where I am, is where I am accepted for who I truly am. I am welcomed and encouraged to be my own authentic version of myself. It has turned out better than anything I have ever expected or imagined.
That feels better than all those goals I had been chasing. I wouldn’t say that I didn’t enjoy pieces of that time because there are many parts that I loved and would do again. But knowing now what it is to be fully me, I will not sacrifice my authenticity for any of the chairpersons, department heads or managers that think they have control over my fate. They don’t control anything. I am free.
And I am very happily and authentically me.