AUTHENTIC: 3 WAYS TO SHINE BRIGHT & BE MORE 'YOU'
What does being 'authentic' mean to you? To be authentic is to free our spirit and release our wild, true inner-self. To be authentic means to be real, to be genuine and to be honest. There is a rawness to authenticity. When we meet someone who is authentic, we feel that we can trust them because we sense that they are who they say they are.
An authentic person isn't someone who is completely comfortable and at ease in their own skin (who is?!), but they have chosen to be just a little bit braver and risk being seen for who they really are. An authentic person speaks their mind - kindly, honestly, but firmly. They may not find it easy to voice their thoughts and opinions, but they do it anyway, even if it risks ridicule or is contrary to the opinions of others.
Perhaps we are all authentic sometimes, and I doubt that anyone is authentic all the time, but we should all aim to be more authentic, more of the time. Being authentic does not mean being selfish or loud, it does not mean needing to shout others down or make other people 'wrong', it simply asserts the right to be YOU. To be more true to yourself, you do not have to be ultra-confident, bold or outspoken. Authentic people are just ordinary people (the only kind there are, in truth) who have made the small, yet not always easy, decision to simply 'be themselves'.
We may repress our authenticity because we are afraid of revealing our real self and of being judged negatively for it. Or perhaps because we don't want to be seen to hold a different view from others in case it upsets them or they stop liking us. But what we must remember is that we have as much of a right to be ourself as everybody else does. We are all equals, but that does not mean that we all have to be the same. So, how to be more YOU?
* GETTING TO KNOW YOU
Who are you? What do you value? What defines you as a person? If you had to describe yourself, what words would you use? What do you love to do? What are the things you are passionate about? What are you good at? What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? Know thyself, and to thyself be true. Know who you are, and own who you are with gratitude. There is, was, and only ever will be one YOU, and that makes you priceless and incomparably unique.
* EMBRACING WHAT MAKES 'YOU' YOU
Once you take the time to really know who you are, what lights you up and what you stand for, you just need to become a little more comfortable with yourself. Like yourself for all of you - not just the good bits, but the not-so-good bits too. Embrace all of your flaws and imperfections. Putting all of the pieces together makes one perfectly imperfect human: YOU. Our flaws can become positives if we become aware of them and work around them, rather than denying them, being embarrassed by them or punishing ourselves because we aren't perfect. Our skills outweigh any of our flaws, and our flaws only serve as fuel to drive us higher than we ever thought possible.
* BEING KIND TO YOURSELF
Don't dislike the parts of yourself that fall short of your own - or possibly others - expectations of you. Show yourself some kindness and be gentle with yourself. See yourself as the small child that you once were, and imagine what you would say to her. Would you be harsh, critical or unkind? Of course not! So give yourself a big hug, tell yourself you're great exactly as you are, and start using a mantra to encourage yourself. Tell yourself, 'You're awesome. You can do this!'.
By getting to know who YOU are, becoming comfortable enough to like your true self, and treating yourself with kindness, being authentic will become a habit. By giving yourself permission to be fully YOU, you will become the brightest version of who you can be, and as you shine your light, you can't help but illuminate and inspire others to shine their own unique and precious light too.
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