When you consider your life until now, how often do you present the “real” you to those around you?
For some, protecting themselves by putting up a façade is as natural as breathing.
Some remain hidden constantly, hiding their true nature from everything and everyone. Others prefer to hide physically behind makeup, clothing, accessories, even logos and brand names. Still, there’s another group of people with a collection of identities they turn on and off depending on the circumstances.
You might act differently when you’re with certain friends. With one set of friends, you’re confident and boisterous because you want to match the energy of the group. In a group that's a bit more subdued, you may be quiet and reflective.
So, which one is it? Who are you?
I understand that different relationships have different dynamics and personalities, so you won’t behave the same around every person. Far too many of us get caught up in the expectation of who we’re supposed to be instead of bravely living as our authentic selves.
Freedom in authenticity
We all create a persona of the type of person we think we should be. Who we need to be at work. Who we need to be at home. Who we need to be with our partner.
What about who we really are? When we’re so hyper-focused on being a certain way in certain circumstances, we lose ourselves and neglect to pursue what makes us truly happy and fulfilled.
That makes it impossible to honor ourselves in the way we deserve. Instead, we pursue others’ expectations rather than our own authenticity.
I want to suggest an alternative. We stop wearing the veils of others’ expectations and are honest with ourselves about what we want from life. What if we courageously chase our dreams while honoring our voices? What if we show up for ourselves more than we show up for others?
Volunteer to be vulnerable
If you spend more time honoring others’ expectations than showing up for your own, maybe it’s time to open the door to authenticity.
Unapologetic authenticity doesn’t come naturally for many. And there’s a reason why. It’s terrifying. Letting the world see who you really are is ultimate vulnerability.
Vulnerability can be scary, but it’s also the ultimate form of freedom.
When you’re exactly who you are, you can decide how much of yourself you want to reveal in a situation. You're not hiding; you're choosing. That willingness to be open creates a space where the best things happen.
We all have moments in our lives when we either need to show up or sit down. Many miss opportunities to show up for themselves and get what they want because they’re too preoccupied with pretending.
To live a whole, authentic life, you must boldly bring yourself. That means a few things.
You need to know who you are, what you want, and why. Know that, and you can use your voice fearlessly to fight for what is meaningful to you. I’m not saying you should fight for everything, especially if that approach is uncomfortable for you. Some things may not be worth the energy for you, and that’s an intentional decision.
But I do believe you should lean into your convictions. Be aware of what's really important to you so you know what’s worth the fight. If you don’t, you might regret not speaking up when you should have.
You are your best advocate in the world. How can you get what you want if you don’t know who you’re fighting for?
When your moment comes, what will you do? Will you hide behind a mask, clamoring to be who everyone else wants you to be? Or will you bring yourself, your true self, so you can courageously use your voice to champion what you want?
The second option is the more challenging of the two, but that’s not a reason to avoid it. Freedom is rarely given, it’s earned. The road to freedom is paved with authenticity if you're brave enough to tread it.