SELF-ish Series | Be You, Authentically
WHY LIVE IN THE SHADOW?
It’s cold and nothing grows there.
Why live a lesser life?
Many of us spend much of our lives trying to satisfy others and it can be exhausting.
In doing this, you don’t give yourself the chance to discover who you are, what you like, what you believe and which direction you want to go.
To find yourself, think for yourself.
It is very easy to follow the path someone else has directed for you or project the version of ourselves we think other people want to see.
On the flipside, it is much harder to stand apart; especially when it comes to respect politics & traditions.
Why? Because it can take an insurmountable amount of energy and courage, yet can expose one to shame and vulnerability; the two things we fight to avoid daily (catch Brené Brown’s highly viewed TedTALK on this topic).
For example, a lot of us were born and raised into families where traditions in religion are passed on and expected to be followed - no ifs, buts or maybes. A ‘don’t think for yourself, just do it because it’s always been this way’ kind of mentality.
Many times, it comes from well-meaning; a need to issue the same guidance that is familiar and understood within communities over generations.
But risk rejection should you dare to think for yourself and choose differently. Indoctrination.
Choosing differently, is tough! Particularly when challenging back is seen as a sign of disrespect within a culture; and layer being an introverted personality on top of that (like myself). Internalizing all of this can be crippling, daunting and unhealthy for body and mental health. It can send you into a dark rabbit hole pondering the “what ifs” with no one but yourself until you are ready and bold enough to let your inner voice break away from within.
Brené said it best:
If you trade your authenticity for safety, you may experience the following: anxiety, depression, eating disorders, addiction, rage, blame, resentment and inexplicable grief.
So, from now on, I plan to exercise this “breaking away” and identify small opportunities in my daily life to practice being more vulnerable, courageous and authentic until it becomes innate.
Ultimately, life is too short and too vast to live in the confines of a shadow.
But living beyond the mundane and the ‘what has always been’ is a choice. That choice will trigger judgement from the people around you, it may hurt somebody, but could also enlighten others at the same time.
As I take the year to lean into myself more than ever, today, I share my manifesto of what it means to be me, authentically.
Bringing my whole self to the table.
Walking the notes of my inner song.
It is the matching of my inside truth with my outward expressions;
becoming one and the same.
It is in living a concentrated life that is innately mine, undiluted from the judgement of others, traditions and respect politics.
It is the ownership, the love and respect of Self.
It is both hard and easy; but it is Freeing.
It is in allowing my inner voice to come through;
recognizing the fullness of its tone and encouraging it to ring out true.
It is both hard and easy; but it is Mine.
And only I can grant myself this permission.
What will you do to live beyond the shadow?
From here on.