“Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.” ~ Brené Brown
Last week, we wrapped up Pillar #11 of “The Year of the Best You” – Augment Your Resilience. Today, we will start on Pillar #12, the last pillar of the year – Be You. As before, we will discuss this pillar a bit more below, provide a printable PDF worksheet for the month and then recap how we made out on December 31st (pretty cool it ended up on the last day of the year).
This pillar is all about authenticity and being true to yourself. I love this topic, as now in my mid 40’s, it continues to become clearer to me who I am. I don’t know about you, but during my formative years, I have memories of borderline panic wondering if I would ever figure out my sense of ‘self’. Fortunately, our relationship with our ‘self’ is the one that sticks around the longest, continually evolves, and can be the most rewarding.
Now I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t start off with a little Brené Brown. The first guidepost in her approach to a wholehearted life is “letting go of what people think.” How hard is that?? We trick ourselves into thinking that we don’t care what people think, because we know we shouldn’t, but it is so darn hard! The truth is that showing up in the world as who we are takes practice, constant practice, as we will invariably be tripped up along the way. Our life is the result of many choices we make along the way, and being authentic is no different. As Brené says, “Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”
The path of least resistance would be to fit the mold of who people think we are supposed to be. Trust me, after undertaking 10 years of post-secondary education to become a Family Physician, especially amidst a shortage of practicing Family Physicians anywhere you go in Canada, I know exactly who people think I am supposed to be. We all have examples I am sure where we lose our ‘self’ in trying to be someone else. As Jonathan Fields says in his book How to Live a Good Life, “At some point you have to choose. Will you continue to hide, living under the weight of expectation, or allow yourself to be seen?”
Building the relationship with ‘self’
I think it is safe to say that most of us are drawn to people who are unapologetically themselves. They aren’t rude, but instead, they are clearly resting within their integrity. Sometimes we can find we have lost touch with who we know ourselves to be as we are too used to living within the lines of other people’s expectations. The first step is to get acquainted with ‘self’ every day. The payoff of living as who you want to be in the world is so worth the effort of self-discovery.
A few steps which will coincide with the worksheet include the following:
1) Hold up a mirror and who do you see? This means getting really quiet and honest with our ‘self’. No blame or shame, only looking ahead.
2) Embracing new ideas and activities to explore what feels good. Maybe an inspirational artist is just waiting to be uncovered. (Want inspiration? Check out Mari Andrew.)
3) Interview yourself through the process of journaling. The person you will get to know is amazing.
4) Tap into your intuition – your inner wisdom. When you try to really pay attention, it will speak to you (if I sound a little woo woo it’s because I am!).
5) You are preparing a pitch all about you. What 10 things would you want people to know about you?
These are just a few ways to build the relationship with self and discover who you are and want to be. I know it is a busy time of year for everyone, but what better time to ‘be you’ than starting a New Year? Please print off the worksheet to join in this month’s activity. I will do the same and we will recap on December 31st.
And remember, in the words of E.E. Cummings, “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”
Brené Brown – The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are
Jonathan Fields – How to Live a Good Life: Soulful Stories, Surprising Science, and Practical Wisdom