“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.” Brene Brown
Conforming to others expectations is something I’ve struggled with for as long as I can remember.
What people think of me in my life has mattered, quite a lot.
I’ve spent years adapting myself to fit some mould of what others expect. Why? In order to get on.
To. Get. On. Three simple words.
Underneath those three words are three more.
To. Fit. In.
Acceptance and belonging are those basic human needs that drive us to do a lot of stuff. We are inherently social creatures. We seek out acceptance and belonging at every possible opportunity. Even, sometimes, at the expense of ourselves.
Acceptance and belonging are at the heart of why I’ve felt compelled to dress a certain way and behave a certain way.
It hasn’t been all my own doing either. I’ve been pulled up for being myself. I’ve been told I look too young. I’ve been told I don’t behave professional enough. I’ve been told I need to change what I wear.
Be more like this. Or more like that. All in the name of supposedly helpful feedback while focusing on goals that weren’t my own.
And yet, all it served to do was undermine my own self worth. Picked away at my confidence. Caused unnecessary introspection.
Why is there a need to force people to conform to measures of sameness?
Whatever happened to the beauty of difference and the freedom to just be?
It should not have mattered one jot what I looked like or what I sounded like. But somehow it did. And yet it still does.
You need to be like me or like us is the vernacular. You need to squeeze yourself into our mould of what we think good looks like.
It’s not until you get out of it that you appreciate how rigid that mould is.
I know that I’m at my most innovative now that I am free from the structure and expectation that were those day jobs.
Only now having spent 3 years doing my own thing and adjusting my life to fit my new found health condition, can I say that conforming to someone else’s ideals will never be something I do again.
And it always has been. To say that is to feel free and really good about myself. To be fully at ease with who I am.
Individuality is goodness.
Stop oppressing it.
The weight of fake is such a heavy burden to bear.
Then get real. Enough with the faking.
Remove that mask you are wearing.
Authenticity is freedom.
Authenticity is confidence.
Authenticity is self worth.
Authenticity is the power of difference.
Where the only person you need to measure up to is you.
You. In all your perfectly unique glory.
And where everything about you is just fine. As you are.
Find a way to let yourself out. Let go of the mask. Let yourself be.
No need to hide. Stand tall and stand proud.
Unshackle yourself from the over dominant expectations of others.
Find your drive. Your passion. Your purpose. Your meaning. Your ease. Your whatever!
Allow yourself to find YOU just the way you are and rediscover your worth.
Be. Authentically. You.
Originally published at medium.com