That said on my journey towards being more authentic, I also started to ask myself “what do I like?” This was quite hard for me initially, I seemed to know what I did not like, but didn’t know what I liked. I had to keep forcing myself to think what do I like, for two reasons; because what you focus on is what you’ll have, so imagine the results I was getting by being conscious of what I did not like! More and more of the same! Two, because I’d been so conditioned to think that it’s selfish to think about yourself too much. It was almost as if myself kept asking- ‘what do you matter? Who cares what you like? Just do your duty and move on’ but I fought that voice! In my mind because I felt this was crucial to me, I saw the voice and my good voice in a wrestling contest and my good voice, had to pin the bad voice to the ground so it could finally be heard (LOL, what can I say, I am a visual person). So I fought the voice and gave myself permission to be selfish- I said “beautiful self, what do you like?” I came up with unpopular stuff, I like classical music- I love Mozart, Beethoven and Handel’s young Messiah! I love poetry! I love art! I like quiet! I don’t like parties (there!). I like to talk about meaningful things -don’t say how are you to me if you want to hear “fine!” I usually say “great”, “fantastic” or “phenomenal” and if you think that’s vain, it’s fine too! But on the days I am not feeling that way, I say “sad”, “overwhelmed”, “distraught”. It’s me. So if you don’t want to know, don’t ask. I like massages. I love reading. And I love Jesus! These are all me. I want things that seem outlandish! That people think why do you want them? I want to win a Nobel Prize… I know what I want and I acknowledge my preferences. I may not be able to get what I want all the time, may not be able to afford what I want, but its a great first step, I know what I want and can immediately identify it when I see it! I encourage you to do this exercise, write an “I want” and “I like” list. Be as frivolous as you like, but keep going till you hit your core! You will eventually get to the kernel of who you are- ‘I want my voice to be heard’, ‘I want to feel like I matter’, ‘I want to ensure that nobody goes through the issues, the poverty, the illness (whatever it is for you) that I went through’…
Having taken stock of where I was, deciding what I liked, I also started to say what behaviors do I exhibit that are not congruent with who I would be if I was being my authentic self? (If you haven’t read my post on congruence, please read it here). Who will I hang out less with? Who will I be around more? What will I read more of? What do I need to do to take me closer to being my best me? Maybe it’s time to stop hanging out with friends whose approval you so seek but who bring out the worst in you- bring out the gossip, the mean girl, the liar or the cheat in you. Maybe it’s time to agree you don’t fit into that crowd, so that you can stand out on your own! This aspect of watching your behavior is a journey I am still on. I find that in a certain environment, my natural proclivity is to go back to being what I used to be there- so if you smoked in the past, hanging around smokers when they are smoking, just sort of makes you want to relax and smoke- so you know what? You avoid that environment quickly! 12 years after my last smoke, I am still avoiding that environment (some people are stronger than others…)
I also find that knowing my weaknesses also helps me stay true to me. When my colleagues are smoking, I don’t go out and test my strength by chatting with them then! Left to me, life is for living and money is for spending, because I know this about myself, I put safeguards that are beyond my control in place, to ensure I don’t spend all I get and have to come begging you for food. And so on and so forth.
Let me end this by saying authenticity is key to being your best- Bill Gates and Steve Jobs set out to do the same thing- create personal computers for people and make life easier! Their goal was the same, but their expression of that goal is totally different! That’s what authenticity does for you! Because your DNA is different from the next person, if you are given the exact same business plan, you will execute it in different ways. The same story line to flesh out, you’ll write different stories! My point with that is, as a person, don’t spend your life trying to be like someone else or measuring yourself against some one else’s life or expectations! First you don’t want to pay the price they have had to pay to get where they are and two, if your life was meant to be a marathon and theirs was meant to be a 100 meter dash, you know that trying to live like them means you’ll die without fulfilling your own purpose- depriving the world of what you bring to the table and missing out on knowing what was possible for you! One of my best quotes is that “our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure! It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us!” Are you willing to look deep within and find the treasure that you carry? When you find it, are you willing to do the work it takes to refine it?
Authenticity! You can tell I am passionate about this! It is just my way of being authentic to me as well, me trying to ensure you and I are our best selves. It is one of my more personal blog posts, but I think it’s worth the risk if it helps someone know, love and grow into the fullness of themselves! I would like to hear your thoughts! Have an awesome evening!