Authenticity takes courage, determination and strength. The rewards are great.
In the words of Brene Brown, “Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”
I agree that being authentic is a matter of our moment-to-moment choices to be real. Sprinkled with a dash of discernment about when and with whom, it is liberating to be honest about whatever is present for us.
In my experience, authenticity’s roots and expression are also more complex. For me, it has been a life-long journey to unravel the layers of who I thought I was into who I really am, (and who I am becoming). It started with an innate seeking and was followed by a series of challenges around health, self-identity and finances. These tests were a great impetus to further my search for my authentic self and led to deep reflection and review of what stays and what goes from what I unconsciously adopted and rejected as me from my family, gender, ethnicity, astrological profile, and so on. It deepened in relationship to myself, to others, and the world around me. Gratefully, the Mystery illuminated and affirmed my path. It then became a journey to accept what I had found.
Ironically, it was through these difficulties and the repetition of love and acceptance of others who stood by my side that helped me most to find, accept and express myself more authentically. This led me to take more risks and to share myself more openly. Initially, this was close friends only, which brought them closer. It evolved into taking that risk into a broader circle of people. All of this has deepened the love I give and receive in life. It has also built a fortress of support that gives me more courage, determination and strength to grow my authentic expression even further. And, it has come full circle to be part of how I now serve others.
To stay true to myself, I find it essential and nourishing to spend time in nature, meditation, presence, movement and prayer. This has expanded my concept of authenticity into more universal qualities of being, such as love, kindness, gratitude and compassion, which all inform my choices.
Yet, being more authentic also brings forth into expression some of the patterns that have shaped me, just as it tosses them aside depending upon the moment before me. For example, as a business owner operating a photography and video production company, sometimes what is required of me is a great level of linear thinking, detail and precision. This draws upon the influence of my family and some of what I at one time rejected, but actually serves me and my client’s quite well. Sometimes, however, what is most appropriate to the moment is to be the intuitive, creative, humanitarian that I am and really listen, and to understand and communicate my client’s authentic story and offerings in a unique way to attract their most resonant client, or engage others in their vision.
Discovering and expressing my own authenticity has reconciled my past, enriched my present and prompted me to my unfolding future. It has elevated my health and improved my finances. It has offered me happiness, freedom, power, love, romance and greater self-acceptance. It has brought me full circle to “me” and to my livelihood as a visual storyteller for others who are making their living through their own authentic expression.
Being our real selves is a growing way of being for a growing number of people. For business owners, not only is it attractive to others, it holds a key to our success. It is also essential for our collective survival. Yes, it is a choice, and it is a bounty.