Sunday, January 12, 2014

Authentic You: 6 Ways To Stay True To Yourself


Such a big word with deep meaning

Have you ever struggled with your walk in this life in trying to be someone you're not? In this world we live in we are often bombarded by outside influences; by peers or media as to what we should be like, how we should act, even what we should like and dislike.

As we grow older and mature we naturally learn more and more about what we like and what we don't… as hard as it might be we have all struggled at some point with the version we want to present or believe we should present to the world… a version that we believe will present us as more intelligent, important, attractive etc to others… and yet the truth is... it ends up doing something that no one likes… making us feel so not authentic… each time we present a false self we may begin to feel a piece of the real us becoming hidden or even chipped away.

Have you ever felt like it 
might be easier to conform? 

Often staying true to ourselves can result in judgment and rejection which can undeniably be painful. 

But what's ultimately more 
painful is looking in the mirror
each morning and knowing 
we aren't being real. 

Withholding Our True Selves & Dating…

We may find ourselves withholding our authentic selves when dating or meeting new people… which honestly can bring disastrous results… the person sitting across from you at the table may think you are perfectly fine with ordering shrimp if you don't make your preferences known… they may think you share their dream of a rambling house on several acres if you don't voice your plan of one day residing in a trendy loft downtown.

This is why it's so incredibly important to have some sense of who we are before marrying… because if we don't know who we are… how can we be certain that the person we are dating will know too? They may never get a real sense of who their courting... which is a shame and could end up costing both people.

Knowing What You Like & Don't…

There are some things that like everyone I don't care for… society calls it "not my cup of tea"… maybe yours is not liking coffee flavored ice cream, golf or onions… mine is pretentious restaurants… I love getting dressed up… take me to a play or a show… but I'd rather eat a bacon cheeseburger wearing my ball gown afterward than endure sitting in an uptight place that society may otherwise deem "the place to see and be seen" or that has a superior air.

It's these things that are important to know about ourselves and just like these preferences that make up our personalities, believe it or not, God wants us to be authentic too. Out of everyone, He knows when we are not being ourselves… when we are attempting to hide parts of ourselves, when we aren't being real, and are putting on a facade…. even He knows when we are trying to sell ourselves as a wine and cheese girl when were really more inclined to beer and pretzels or vice versa.

Living Authentically…

When we are living authentically we know that our past does not define us… but instead we live accepting ourselves and that God loves us as His. When we have a dialogue with God, through talk and prayer we are hopefully expressing our authentic self to Him… God desires us to give all of our life, all of ourselves, when we worship and that means not holding back… it's for Him… to praise Him and how wonderfully great He is. Being authentic enables us to enjoy a relationship with God, being authentic means wanting to be open with Him not because we believe we have to out of some sort of rule or obligation.

"It's so weird how we often think we know others by just looking at the exterior..." my friend told me as she sat beside me with her newborn son... and our daughters played Polly Pocket in the next room together. 

"When I first saw you at the school I thought you were likely one of 'those girls' I went to high school with... you know the ones... who conform only sticking with their click and I based all this by how you looked and my own preconceived ideas..." she laughed... "But then I get to know you and you're one of the most down to earth people I've met!"

we may erroneously base our view of someone new in our life from someone similar (either their looks, personality, mannerisms, even their name) we knew in our past, someone that reminds us of a less than nice experience in which our feelings were hurt by them... this is no reflection of the new person standing before us... but an issue within we need to address.

I chuckled because I knew I had done the exact same thing in the past myself... now knowing we can never know a book by glancing at its cover. "I've made the same mistake myself! Then gotten to know someone and really liked them!" I admitted to her... "It's funny how we think we know someone...  and when we are authentic it takes so much pressure off ourselves and others!" 

6 Ways 

To Be Your Authentic Self: 

1. Take the time to discover your talents and explore them. We may think of hobbies like crafting, painting etc but it could also be writing, blogging, public speaking about a cause important to you, helping others, running marathons, volunteering, being an encourager, decorating, staging homes, party planning, baking, sewing, etc.

2. Trust yourself and your gut instincts. We know when that little voice or feeling flares up telling us we are swaying from the real us we should listen and we can pray about it... asking God to help us explore our authentic self and to be ourselves with Him as well. 

3. So often we feel pressured by society to do what's "in" and the most popular look in decor for our homes. I'm a big fan of Pottery Barn (less fan of their prices) and love perusing their catalogs or strolling through their stores on a rainy Sunday afternoon to get ideas and inspiration for tablescapes. But I also know there can be too much of a good thing... I don't want my house to look more Pottery Barn and less me. Stay true to what you love and surround yourself in your home with things that reflect your unique personality. 

4. When making decisions consult God instead of your neighbor, your friend or your mother. No one else will ever intimately understand your circumstances better than God will and what's best for you. 

5. Forgive yourself for the bad choices, mistakes and things you've done in life. Your past doesn't define you nor does the person's past beside you define them. Today is a new day, even a new hour... and God even cares for those you may have difficulty embracing. Sometimes that reality is a hard one to swallow but God sees you (and them) right where you both are today, progress and setbacks... marvel at how much you've grown and celebrate you. 

6. Value your beliefs, your faith and the qualities that make up who you are. And appreciate those in others. We are each unique yet no more special than the person sitting beside us, the guy on the bus, the woman in line at the Post Office or the guy bringing our food to the table on a Friday night out at dinner with our family. 

Staying True… and Inspiring Others To Do The Same! 

In life when we are true to ourselves and walk a life of authenticity people notice and it in turn inspires others to do the same. When we are living authentically we may inspire the little girl next door who doubts herself... the girl in our classroom who feels she is a failure if she isn't part of the "in" crowd... or the little boy who wants to carry a doll for comfort instead of a bear or space ranger... that being ourselves is always better than being a copy of someone else. 

We are all God's children and He wants us to come to Him as the real deal, being open, revealing ourselves to Him and being comfortable enough to say:

 "Here I am God... all the beauty, all the not so pretty and everything in between... here I am in my frayed cut offs, my messy hair bun... here I am wearing my wool sweater set, earrings and heels... here I am... use me to help someone. Use me to inspire someone. Use me to further your kingdom... I am who I am... your daughter and beloved. That's what ultimately defines authentic me." 

© ~ 2014 

To My Readers: 

Thank you for reading, 

commenting and sharing! 

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