A to Z Challenge – Day One
A = Authentic
Authentic self will follow a unique path that only you can define. The need or drive to conform must be a learned trait. Most of the small children and infants I have encountered delight in you copying them, not in following you. They want to be the leader. We should all recapture this youthful focus of being our authentic self.
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The Path to Discovering Authentic Self
“You’re not normal.”
“You can’t do it that way.”
“You aren’t staying in the lines.”
I’ve heard so many forms of these declarations at this point in my life that I almost don’t hear them anymore. It’s like the white noise of the frogs chirping on the window just before a spring rain (only not so soothing).
There have been a few times when I did try to conform to the demands they set up for me. I tried to dress like the other girls in class. I tried to follow along in the activities of others.
I was not others. I was me. Something would knock me from the delusion of conformity and I would step out into my unique self – proud and determined – at least for a time.
The world would demand I get back in line. Society would shame my unconventional steps. The people closest to me would “tsk” at my choices.
I would again try to become the good, little soldier they demanded.
It was a cycle I didn’t even recognize I had been following until a few weeks back. My journey to build a career as an author and speaker had veered me deep into THEY territory. One step at a time, little by little, I moved from my unique path right smack into the middle of THEY highway.
They are noisy. They are crowded. They are not going to the unique place I know was designed for me to dwell.
Shake It Off
I made a change. I determined to step into my uniqueness once again – with a boldness fueled by the understanding that I’m not supposed to “fit in.” Shake off the demands they have set and begin living out your own authentic self.
- Define the qualities that make you unique. It could be your love of old movies or your need to quote the same book in every situation. Your unique qualities are the foundation for building up your authentic self.
- Recognize the reality of others not understanding. Even people that love and care about you will be caught off guard when you dare to step out into your unique design. If you don’t hear, at least once, “we’ve never done it that way before,” then you may need to step out even farther.
- Once will probably not be enough. You will probably have to step out more than once. It’s not that you’ll fail in the journey. Ultimately the only way to fail is to not try. But it will be that the world will do all that it can to put you back in your box – and sometimes you will help. Keep stepping out.
I have been told I can be a little snarky . . . which may be a shock to you to hear. But I also know that I am a natural born encourager and always find a way to see the possibility. Someone used the term “snarky rainbows” when talking about me, and I fell in love. I am a snarky rainbow. I am no longer apologizing for my authentic self.
You are unique. Define it, hone it, and hold tight to it.
My grandmother told me that writers were called starving artists for a reason and I needed to put my mind to better use. She pushed me towards engineering because of my love for math. Fortunately, I had wise advisors that directed me in a different direction. Overcoming the demands of family that wanted the best for me took daring to listen to my heart more than their words.
I dared to be my authentic self when I was younger. I rode my horse around town I wore my hair natural. I was natural. And then someone told me I could be better if only I would conform. It took me a few years to recognize that my different was much better than anything I could create under the banner of conformity. I moved back into the path of my authentic self. Rinse. Repeat.
They will tell you no, but go anyway.
They will tell you to turn around, but move forward.
They will tell you it’s not possible, but try and be surprised.
You are uniquely designed in purpose, on purpose, and for purpose. Despite the cry for you to conform, you are not created to get in the box they make. Unlock your unique design and then live boldly in your authentic self without apology or regrets.
Unlock Your Place in Purpose
You are unique. You have a designed purpose. Now it’s time to uncover the seed planted in you at the beginning of time and begin living it out with boldness.
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