I have kept myself busy during quarantine. I’ve made masks for friends and for hospitals, focused on my blog, played lots of board games with the kiddos, and been busy with housework and completing “honey do’s”. I am not coming home from work tired not wanting to start a project. It has been a nice time, despite the social distancing inconveniences that has tagged along.
When I am deep in a project, especially when the kids run away and hubby is at work, I listen to podcasts. I listen to a variety of podcasts like true crime (this is my guilty sin, don’t judge, ha!), Ultra Running, and Christian based. When I don’t list them individually my list looks small; but I follow a little more than 20 podcasts and they each provide a different element.
Recently, authenticity has been the theme on multiple podcasts. Living true to yourself. Being trustworthy to others. How credible are your words? Are you showing up? Hearing in multiple forms about living genuinely made me curious if I have been looking for authenticity in my life.
I consider myself being authentic. I feel I have grown past the “fear of fitting in” stage. When I was younger, I only gave others what I felt they wanted/needed. Depending on the group/person I was with I’d withhold parts of me if I didn’t feel I would be accepted. I wanted to be liked. Plus, I am pretty sure I lacked confidence.
Looking back, it sounds silly. What makes us afraid to be ourselves? I know for myself when I was younger characteristics were not individual. I was misunderstood or looked down on because my personality was different. I trained myself to be guarded. I felt I had to be who others needed me to be so I didn’t highlight their insecurities. My goodness, this sounds silly, too! How am I supposed to know what others need?
It makes me think about the movie, The Unsinkable Molly Brown. Molly Brown was a lady who went from rags to riches. When she joined the upper class society, she was often looked down on because she was boisterous. As a passenger on the Titanic she saved a lot of lives getting people into lifeboats. Her personality was her asset! If she changed who she was to gain approval, she may not have been the force she needed to be on the Titanic.
I remember a saying I heard, “you don’t like in others what you wish you had in yourself, or what you don’t like in yourself”. I don’t remember when or where I heard it. Since then, anytime I feel I don’t “like” a person, I try to evaluate if they have a characteristic I wish I had or one I don’t like in myself. Surprisingly, there are many times it is one or the other. It has allowed me to accept others and their character instead of judging them by my standards.
People need authenticity. They need to know a person is trustworthy. If we are always molding ourselves to what we think others need, how can we be genuine? If we want to mold others to meet our comforts, how are we trustworthy? Specifically to ourselves?
Sharing yourself to others may be a scary thing. Especially if you have been guarded. Take it in baby steps. First, start by sharing it with yourself. Who are you? What do you like? What are your boundaries? Then, take your characteristics and be yourself in your groups. You don’t have to be loud and proud; you just have to be you.
I’d love to hear feedback from you. Are you feeling authentic these days? Do you feel you hide yourself like I did? Does authenticity mean something different to you?
Off the beaten path is a weekly feature where I discus a topic that enlightens, motivates, and allows us to process topics that relate to mental and virtuous strength. Join me every Tuesday off the beaten path and allow yourself to reflect your personal unexplored journey among pines.