What Does Being AUTHENTIC Really Mean?

gal pals unite This past weekend I had the opportunity to network and meet a ton of people. Each one of them making their own mark in the world, sharing their area of expertise and providing a valuable service that is in alignment with what they love to do.

Part of the reason I originally created the Gal Pals Unite community was with the intention of uniting women and creating a community of women to stand behind each other, to actively participate in making things happen for each other. To fan each others flames. Girl Power if you will...

What does this all have to do with authenticity?

Well, I met a gal there this weekend that is putting together an event about Living Authentically (I'll post a link under upcoming events should you live in the Calgary area and like to attend). I've actually been meaning to share my thoughts on authenticity for sometime and I spent a good portion of this weekend thinking about what "authentic living" really means. Be forewarned....I'm going to totally over use the word "authentic"  in this post.

Personally, I feel that true authenticity was something that eluded me for a long time, and the realization of the depths of what being authentic really means has gradually been unveiling itself to me in layers. I am constantly in a state of self examination, connecting all of the dots in my own life. As I am moving through these layers, with the intention of authenticity, I've really come to some interesting conclusions.

When I was in my early twenties my mom said something to me that really pissed me off. I had just finished one of my many rants about my husband, complaining about all the things he wasn't. I blamed, finger pointed and went on about him not being good enough and all the things he wasn't. OUCH! (How's that for a mirror?). What my mother said to me is, "Jackie, you cannot expect something from others that you do not have yourself." It's been more than 20 years and I remember those words like it was yesterday. They stung. I took them as a criticism.

Authenticity is so much more than speaking your mind, or living in alignment with your highest values. It's about being courageous enough to really go deep, shed the masks, the self imposed superiority that is rooted in insecurity. To be vulnerable, to allow people to see the whole package(the harder you try to hide and sweep the parts of yourself that you put a judgement on, the more the people in your life will mirror them to you).

You are the only one that can change those judgements about yourself and until you do, your life will create ample opportunities for you to recognise them. You may think you are clever and can keep all of your "stuff" under wraps, but there is NO HIDING. I say that with such certainty, and maybe as you are reading this you are either resisting this full throttle and branding it as BS, or, maybe there is a whisper inside of you, urging you to investigate this further. I can tell you there is a huge sense of relief when we can come to terms with the parts of ourselves that we have labelled as bad or good. What happens then is we don't have to try so dam hard to project an image that we think will make us acceptable and loveable to the outside world. We are simply "being", we are in full acceptance of who we are and that radiates outward, and people really dig that!

Here's a really great example of this taken from my own life. Real life situations are what takes a theory or an idea and makes it stick, don't you think?

About 10 years ago my husband and I befriended another couple, their kids were the same age as ours and we really hit it off. Really great fun people, we shared so much in common with them. We went on vacations together, we were joined at the hip so to speak. As time passed, things started to get weird. Judgements, trust issues, superiority complexes, game playing, guilt, shame, jealously & power struggles started to get in the way of our beautiful friendship. Even up until a year ago I was still pointing the finger at them, making them wrong. I was scared to look deeper and I did not want to own up to the fact that whatever I perceived in them was a mirror to my own behavior. I'm speculating here but I think this went both ways.

Instead, my out was this; I had felt for many years that the relationships in my life were very superficial, and the desire for true authentic friendships had become very important to me. Every night, I would go to bed and say the following mantra; "I surround myself with true and authentic friendships". So as our friendship began to deteriorate, I told myself that because of my intention for authentic relationships, the inauthentic ones had to fall away. The problem in this case being "them" and not us...they were the "bad guys" in all of this. Shady people, with "bad intentions". Never once did it occur to me that I had something to do with the demise of the friendship.(DOUBLE OUCH!).

So, funny enough in the last few months my moms words (from 20+ years ago) have been burning in my ears. And BOOM it hit me like a ton of bricks. How on earth could I have an expectation of authentic relationships/people when I could not even be authentic myself?  Here's a partial list; not making a stand for myself, not honoring myself, saying YES, when I really meant NO and wearing the mask of "Nice Jackie", constantly "editing" myself, stuffing the parts of myself that I believed to be weak, unlovable and plain old mean - among other things. I took half of who I was and hid it, that takes the feeling of "incompleteness" to a whole new freaking level. How's that for personal accountability?

Maybe you can relate? 

I'm certain that everything I have been exposed to and immersed myself in over the last year has led me to find freedom, acceptance a deeper understanding of what self love really means, and in turn has allowed me to really experience unconditional love and gratitude for whatever "shit show" (yah, I said a  "bad" word) presents itself in my world. There is such freedom in burning through those self imposed obstacles, imbalanced perceptions and resentments that keep us from opening our hearts completely.

Own it, face it and love it! Every part of yourself, because denying it doesn't make it go away!

There are many roads that lead to Rome, the path I chose has been through the teachings of Dr. John Demartini of The Demartini Institute and of course a regular yoga practise. I've gone through extensive training and learning so that I can share with others what has created such a tremendous change in my life.

If you are looking for a new empowered way of being, connect with me! I have lots planned for this coming year; we can work together one on one, come to a workshop or take one of my up and coming online classes!

Oh, and one last thing, I'm curious....Comment below if you like!
What does living authentically mean to you? If you were to write a list, what would it say?



5 Responses

  1. In my 68th year, I'm probably as close to being "authentic" as it gets. Love, loss, friendship, health, illness, betrayal, joys, pleasures, work, death, birth, responsibility, restriction, freedom, victory, failure - I've experienced it all in this crowded life. Maturity doesn't come at 21 - it doesn't come at 50 - for some people it just never comes. Without maturity we're just a pack of whiny kids. We all have a shadow-life consisting of all the negatives, the opportunities passed up, the grievances nurtured in darkness, the viciousness so often directed at our own selves - all these things hidden by fear. Fear of what we are capable of, fear of what others would think of us if they knew. The mean, grubby little secrets of our souls. All these feed on fear. Then there's guilt. Little guilts, big guilts. All a waste of time and mental energy. As I reach the end years of my life, I have come to accept all these facets that are seen and unseen, as a whole. I am the sum total of all the genes bequeathed to me, the conditioning of my environment and of all the experiences banked up over all the years. I'm myself, for better or worse. Take it or leave it - I'll still be me.
  2. Thank you for sharing! Wise words, "fear of what we are capable of, fear of what others would think of us if they knew". That rings very true for me.
  3. Nikki
    To be authentic is not a "you are or your aren't." The truth is, not everyone should be privy to every single deep thought or emotion you have. It does not make you more real to "over share" or to reveal all to everyone you meet. Those closest to me get to see those things. This doesn't mean I am not authentic in general though. I am still open about my values, my stances, and live by the motto "Say what you mean, and mean what you say." For me, self love would be a red flag. I have to accept the bad I have done and make apologies where appropriate. We naturally love ourselves already as a biological species. If we didn't, then we wouldn't back off from fire or otherwise protect ourselves from danger. That is an instinct. If I were to die tomorrow, I affect less than 1% of this world. I know there is a power greater than me that I have to answer to, and for me to know these two things keeps me in an "authentic" mindset. In order to be authentic we have to be able to look at ourselves critically, know who we are and then live outside of it. I will not be bound by societal expectations. I recoil from them without the need to rebel in some dramatic fashion, or by spewing public anger and negativity. Sometimes, I am better, smarter, and prettier than someone else. Sometimes, people are better, smarter, and prettier than me. The moment we decide we are are all the same and shun individuality we become less real. The moment we decide we must blend in, and share a universal understanding that all people should be united as one, we become less real. Freedom and individuality create authenticity and once we understand them we are able to relate to others in a beautiful way, and clearly know who to invite into our life, and who we should avoid. I was fortunate to learn this at a younger age and now at 42, I hope I can in some way inspire others with the things I believe. -Nikki
  4. Being true to myself, respecting and loving myself. Thus, respecting and loving others as myself. "do unto others as you wish they do unto you". Being exact in my words, trusting, grateful everyday for all my blessings both small and large.
  5. Beautifully said! Thank you!