So much is made about being “real”. J.Lo even sang a catchy pop song about it way back when. What does this actually mean? Aside from sleep and meditation, are we not in a perpetual state of reality? Should we pinch ourselves occasionally just to be sure? If we are speaking in terms of our own personality and what we project to others, being “real” or being “authentic” usually means that we want to steer clear of the dreaded fakeness we encounter every day. The sales girl telling you how great an awful blouse looks on you. The chatterbox parent of one of your child’s school friends who constantly wants to stop and gossip. Or how about a co-worker who rolls his/her eyes at your project ideas, and then takes them for their own during a crucial meeting. These are all things we deal with on a regular basis.
To avoid being “that girl”, it’s important that you have a strong self of self. If you know who you are and aren’t afraid to keep that hidden in your soul under lock and key then you have the foundation necessary to be fully authentic in your life.
Who Are You?
It seems like a simple concept, right? You know the basics – height, weight, origin, animal, vegetable, mineral. You know what foods you like to eat or what music gets your toes tapping. This is a great start, but let’s dig a little deeper. Think about your values and your beliefs. Are they something that you stick to no matter how difficult or unpopular? Do others even know what your values are?
That’s not to say that you have to drive around with a bumper sticker on your vehicle stating, “Won’t break for Republicans”, it’s just important to keep your ideals close to your heart for when the right moment presents itself. Everyday has its own challenges and its own opportunities for letting your voice be heard. If you don’t know who you are at the core, you are subject to influence from the masses and, in most cases, that’s not such a great thing.
Trusting your instincts is the best way for figuring out who you really are. You can’t escape that pesky intuition. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s probably not and you shouldn’t try to force it. If snails taste like slippery, slimy rubber bands to you, don’t eat them just because they are the highest priced item on the menu and disguised under the fancy name of “escargot”.
That may seem like a silly example of something much more complex, but the principle is the same. As social creatures, we are under constant barrage of advertising and it’s not just for cheeseburgers and shampoo. We are presented with images of what we should want and who we should want to be because we aren’t in tune with our own minds. We get swayed easily because well, it’s easier.
A good tuning fork for who we are is to envision who we love. That warm, fuzzy, nearly inexplicable feeling you have for your child or your mom or even your dog, that’s just in you. It’s part of who you are to love. You wouldn’t change that for anything in the world and you couldn’t. The feeling is real. It’s authentic.
How Do I Go All-In?
Part of being real is being realistic. We aren’t always going to be able to say what we REALLY think. Telling someone that their new haircut is ugly or their child is a brat is not very polite and is probably counter to your morals because most of us don’t aim to be downright mean to each other. You also don’t have to go as far as J.Lo and write an awful pop song. You just have to wake up every morning, be it grumpily or not, and do your best to be who you are. Think about what YOU are going to do with your day, not what someone else expects you to do.
When having your morning coffee, don’t thumb through a fashion magazine; look out your window at the sunrise. When that gossipy parent approaches you, don’t indulge in her kind of conversation; keep to relevant topics. When that backstabbing co-worker prods you about a current project, don’t spill out all of your wisdom looking for reaffirmation; wait until the time is right and find feedback from more credible sources.
You might picture “going all-in” as jumping into a pool with all your clothes on, but the idea isn’t that extreme. It’s more about finding a sense of calm within yourself. Don’t think that the measure of your authenticity is how prominent it is to others. You are defeating the purpose that way. If you feel comfortable with who you are it will naturally radiate from you without you even having to think about it. It may be the one chance in your life where you don’t have to work too hard (which is something we can all appreciate!)
Does Authenticity Equal Happiness?
Finding yourself and loving yourself should most certainly bring you joy and happiness; however, when dealing with others there might be a few hiccups. Not everyone is going to agree with or like you, and that’s okay. We don’t have to bend over backwards for everyone, and who wants to be liked by all? BORING! A little conflict is healthy and it aids in weeding out the negative influences. Surrounding yourself with people who truly care about YOU and accept you for your differences can put you in a blissful spot.
At the end of the day, all we can strive to do is lay our heads on our pillows with a clear conscience. There is going to be chaos in your lifetime but there can also be contentment, and if you start this year out following your gut and sticking to your gun, you just might find a whole lot more contentment and peace.
If you enjoyed reading about resolving to go all in, remember this is just one of many ways to ‘bend’ reality, tap into powers beyond your conscious existence… and connect with your infinite self.