To be authentic means to be an original rather than a copy of someone else. In a world bombarded with subtle and unattainable messages of what it takes to be accepted it can become all too easy to fall into the trap of wanting to be someone else. As a young person many decades ago I was striving hard to be noticed which meant that it was of utmost necessity to be seen wearing the latest trends in clothing, especially the correct style of Jeans! I can remember as though it was yesterday the intense desperation I felt to get my hands on a particular pair of branded jeans. Back then the branded jeans were very pricey $$$ as they are today, and the fact that the jeans were from a particular store made them very popular. I remember the moment and how I felt when I got home and put those jeans on, it was so cool and I was very excited to join all the other teenagers who were wearing these trendy jeans.
The excitement was short lived once I decided that I didn’t look as good in those jeans as others did, my bum was too flat! All of a sudden I was so focused on the issue of body shape that I began to dislike these expensive jeans. Every time I put them on I was thinking about how ugly I looked in them. Somehow I had convinced myself that if I didn’t have the right shaped body then I was a reject and would not be as cool as all the other girls who were perfectly proportioned. The desire to have the right clothing and the body to go with it felt like a never ending marathon.
If it wasn’t clothing or body shape that spoiled my week then it was my hair! The teenage girl magazines to this day feature photos of young girls with amazing hair do’s. I would look through these types of magazines and imagine how I could get my hair to look as good. Occasionally I would pick a photo and take it to a hairdresser asking them for the same hairstyle that the model in the picture had. Each time I left the hairdressers feeling disappointed as it was apparent that the look that I saw in the magazine was completely different to the look that I saw in my bedroom mirror. If it wasn’t the 80’s spiral perm that failed me it was the flicky thing we did with our hair back in the day.
One side of my hair flicked back perfectly while the other side was always temperamental and did everything BUT flick back. The obsession to fitting in and being accepted ruled my life and I would say that my struggle with ‘low self-esteem’ was of no help either.
When I think back to those younger days and my desperation of acceptance one can only imagine how much harder that would be in the current climate we live in. For this reason I am writing this particular blog in the hopes that I can remind individuals younger and older that we only need to be ourselves. To be someone we are not means that we can lose sight of who we are supposed to be. Changing to be like someone else is not limited to clothing or looks, this need to be like someone else can move into the area of our behaviour.
Individuals can end up so desperate for acceptance that they may even go so far as disowning their own values and begin behaving unlike themselves, believing they will be more accepted or popular. This only highlights the great need that humans have of being accepted.
Personally I believe that if acceptance requires you to throw out your true values then something is wrong, whether it is with a group of people or the acceptance of that one person. Ultimately it is really difficult to continue living a certain way when you know deep down it isn’t really you. Everyone needs to feel that they belong. If belonging to a group means you have to change who you are and all that you value it is worth looking at finding another group.
Guard your values and your own unique sense of self, whether that be your own personal style of dress or interesting personality. Anyone worth having in your life will accept you as YOU! Imagine a world in which young people or older felt comfortable and content in being authentic.
If we get distracted and focused on becoming someone else we tend to forget what we are good at and our own unique purpose in life. I can remember times in which I would be too consumed with the idea of who I wasn’t that it stopped me from trying anything. It was as though someone had come along and pushed the pause button on my life and everything just stood still with nowhere to go.
When I was at my worst with low self-esteem I used to think that it was only me suffering as it appeared everyone else was doing just fine! You would be surprised how many struggle with not feeling good enough or matching up to the other person we seem to fixate too. Of all the blogs that I have written so far since December 2015 the most views have been on the topic of ‘low self-esteem’. That tells me that there are many people around the globe who are feeling frustrated with themselves.
When you decide to live as the person you truly are in other words be ‘authentic’, it may mean that some people will not want to hang around anymore. I decided some time ago that I was not going to keep forcing relationships with people if it meant that I had to change who I was or the values I held. That can be difficult for someone who has felt rejection throughout their lifetime afterall who wants to feel left out. These are the choices we face to live authentic. Not everyone is going to applaud you when you live by your convictions and decide to do things differently to the rest of the crowd.
My own conviction is that as long as my heavenly father (God) is pleased with me then that is great. After all he made me in the first place and knows better than anyone what I was designed for and where I fit in the best.
All that we need to do is put our best efforts into what we are good at and the rest will work itself out along the way. Every person’s life is different including their purpose; while yours may look different it doesn’t mean there is no value in that. While there is an endless sea of people all around the globe I can guarantee that there is something unique about you. Start thinking about what that could be and then put that uniqueness to good use and you will find yourself getting more satisfied at being who you were made to be rather than wasting your precious energy on being someone you are not.
What is unique about you?