In a world that wants us to conform at every turn, it is often hard to be yourself! I find that surrounding myself with like minded non-conformists helps a lot! If I decide to bring back my pink hair (it happens every couple of months), I know that they will only smile and appreciate it. If I decide that working in an office is just not for me, I know that nobody is going to frown upon my lack of responsibility (my Dad may roll his eyes)!
It is perfectly OK to stand out, I think that sometimes it is fear that holds us back from living an authentic life. It is most likely that this fear comes from within, or from others who simply should not be a factor. Since my little man started big school I have noticed the pressure to conform, I have even had some fleeting thoughts of home schooling .. never going to happen, it just crossed my mind a few times when I was reminded of how rigid it can be at big school.
I can already see, only three weeks into kindergarten, that there is a lot of ‘shaping’ going on with these little humans. They are loud, filled with wonder and words and noise. It is not possible to allow this noise to go untamed all day every day in the classroom, I get that. I think that we as parents need to be mindful of the ways that our little humans are being shaped in the ‘system’ and be sure to do our own shaping too!
You have a voice too, a unique story and a purpose for being here that is different to any other human’s purpose. Own it, own your voice and never let it be silenced. I spend a lot of time pondering the meaning of authenticity, trying my best to be the same on the outside as I am on the inside, and the same offline as I am online. For me this is what it means to live an authentic life.
Is there something that you want to achieve that scares you a little? Allow the fear to surface and then pack it on its merry way, remind yourself that there are no limits to living a life that is true to you and your dreams. It might be something small, it might be something life changing. Listen to the murmurings of your inner guide and allow yourself to really tune into what it is that sets you apart. It is this that you need to pursue.
Being authentic will mean different things to different people, for me it has become about not compromising, as well as not conforming. I am not about to go out and break the law, that is not what this is about. I will always speak up when something matters to me though, and I will step up when something or someone matters enough to me. I can feel it inside if I am not being authentic, it is a little like anxiety .. it creeps up and makes me feel icky.
Listen to your gut, your inner guide, your intuition .. whatever it is that you call this part of YOU. Listen closely and act on the things that move you, the things that matter to you and the things that you want to be known and remembered for. It is not always easy, there are rules and expectations and for me it is about being authentic in a way that is also graceful, and respectful.
What does it mean for you to live an authentic life?
Image credit: one of my favourite photographers ever Janneke.