The Road to Authenticity

One of the creative geniuses of our time returned to the stars yesterday. I had a post all lined out for #MotivationMonday, but when I woke up today and heard the news of David Bowie’s passing, I was floored. He felt ageless and timeless like he would never leave, instead merely changing and growing and staying here with us for eternity. I’m not one to be upset by celebrity deaths, I mean I’ve never met them, they weren’t my friends or even acquaintances, but Bowie is something different all together. He was authentic to his core and as a result beloved by many. So revered in fact he crosses ages and generations in a way few have ever achieved, and all by being 100% himself.

Authenticity is a rare creature, only poking its head out when it deems it safe enough to emerge from the cocoon of your soul. Unfortunately, something usually comes along to send authenticity scurrying back down to the depths to hide again. Authenticity is easily frightened. There is a safety in conforming, in not being vulnerable. The hard edge and protective layers we shroud ourselves in for protection, actually wind up doing more harm than good. There comes a time when we feel trapped, helpless and shame from conforming and not being our true selves. We get stuck in this loop not knowing how to escape – because again, vulnerability is unthinkable. Pulling yourself in so many different directions you don’t know what is up, down, left or right any longer. You’re saying one thing, but thinking another and in constant fear you will be found to be a fraud, which leads to the circle of shame. The funny thing is, trying to fit in and being “societally acceptable” does not lead to anything but the shame circle. People won’t like you better or trust you more, and even if they did, are those the type of people you want in your life anyway?

Being authentic means being in complete alignment with yourself. Your head, heart, body and soul. Once you move past the fear of “will they like me” you will be able to let your vulnerability out and people will love you for you.

So how can we become more authentic in our everyday lives?

  • Love yourself first. Being kind to yourself and acknowledging who you truly are is the first step towards being authentic. If you hate something about yourself, (or tell yourself you do even if you don’t deep down) how will you be able to recognize when other people are being kind or loving? Be proud of who you are, portray that image to the world, and the world will follow suit.

  • Be courageous. Being yourself is a scary prospect, but acknowledging the fear and still moving past it is courageous. Empower yourself to set your own rules and live the way you want to. Want to dye your hair purple? Do it! As long as you aren't actively trying to harm someone else or yourself in the process go for it!

  • Trust yourself. Paying attention to your gut feelings and instincts telling you when you are being inauthentic. You’ll know when you are putting a mask on and when you are being genuine. Becoming mindful to when we are being inauthentic takes practice. It is so easy to slip on the societal masks of “proper” behavior sometimes we don’t even realize we are wearing one. Being mindful to what situations we put our masks on for, will help us in future situations to be authentically ourselves. 

  • Connect with your values. Learning to recognize when your actions do not line up with your values helps you build the life you desire. You aren’t just talking the talk, you are walking the walk and aligning your entire being. 

In honor of David Bowie and the authentic life he lead, I dare each of you to live more courageously, more authentically every day. Farewell my Goblin King, for you rest among the stars now.