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Authenticity is not for the faint of heart

April 23, 2010

“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” ~e.e. Cummings

It certainly takes courage to let others know our true essence.  But probably it takes even more courage, effort and honesty to accept ourselves as who we really are.  From a very young age we get preconditioned to fulfill the expectations of others and we behave in ways to conform to the society we live in.  We develop a sense of insecurity fearing rejection and alienation. Although deep down we may know who we really are, we often prefer the sense of belonging and the feeling of fitting in over expressing our real thoughts or revealing our true selves. We are, after all, social animals. We need each other and we want to be accepted by others.

Authenticity, that is to say, being true to oneself, is essential for our happiness.  It is as important as our other psychological needs such as competence, autonomy and relatedness. When we act in ways that are not congruent with who we really are, we get uncomfortable.  Something just doesn’t feel right.  However, there is so much going on in our heads that sometimes we may get confused about how we should act. Instead of accepting who we are at present and act accordingly, we define ourselves in terms of who we want to be or how we would like to be seen by others. Defining and accepting our true selves are the most crucial steps we need to take if we want to express our true worth to anyone. Without knowing and accepting our authentic selves, we’d only be projecting a fake image of ourselves.

With the ever-growing competition in the marketplace and the hype about social media, it is inevitable to question the authenticity of people. Increasingly people are sounding more like superheroes in attempts to stand out, only to find themselves challenged by this never-ending urge to differentiate themselves among the other superheroes. The true self is struggling without success to assert itself because there is an obsession about creating a super image.

It is only through acceptance that we can feel comfortable under our skin and show our best. The only state of mind that permits us not to pretend and just be ourselves is that of acceptance. Each one of us has unique talents and limitations.  The key to success and happiness lie not in trying to define ourselves in terms of wishful identities, but rather, embracing the truth about what makes us unique.

My approach to personal branding has been shaped greatly by my yoga practice. I’ve been practicing yoga for a decade now and I can say without a doubt that I have benefited greatly from it, physically, mentally and spiritually. Yoga teaches you to be easy on yourself and accept to live with your limitations.  While you become aware of your potential and progress, you notice your shortcomings, learn not to get obsessed about them and start seeing other possibilities. (Cause otherwise you can hurt yourself.) Your body teaches you to listen to your inner voice, respect yourself and just simply be. When you accept and respect yourself, you don’t allow anything you do to hurt you.  Doing yoga, you see that no one’s perfect, just unique; that all you can do is just be yourself.  This is a spiritual journey that takes time and that may cause some pain along the way but the trip is absolutely worth it!

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2 comments

  1. Loved the teachings above. Thanks I will use this with my students if I may?

    Namaste
    Barbara
    x


    • Thanks Barbara! Absolutely, feel free to share this with your students.
      Greetings!



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