“Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.” ~ Brene Brown
Authenticity is one of those words that is easier to define through action than it is to describe with words. Babies are authentic. My dog is authentic. A tree is authentic. In fact, most living things are authentic. However, humans, as we grow older, have a tendency to lose our authenticity. We collapse under the pressures of life; we cave to the influence of others. All too often we surrender slices of authenticity in order to feel loved, to be accepted, to be promoted, or to reach a reward.
I’ve been thinking about the tsunami of graduates who are being recognized this spring. It’s an important transition, especially the leap from high school or college graduate to the next level of education or [gasp!] …The Real World! And through this transition, I wonder, how many will graduate as their authentic selves? That is, how many young people will begin their adult lives as a true representation of who they are? Authenticity is described as the degree to which we are faithful to our own character, personality and spirit despite external pressures. And who experiences more external pressures than young people?
Keeping in mind that I have been invited to the graduations of at least a dozen cousins, a niece, a nephew and the children of some very good friends this spring, it’s no wonder this is on my mind. So, along with the cards of congratulations and cash tucked into the envelope, I would like to take a moment to offer some unsolicited advice: Be Authentic.
One very beautiful advantage to growing older is the freedom that evolves, and the confidence that emerges, to just be yourself. The older I get, the less it matters what other people think. I feel comfortable saying “yes” but only when I really mean it. And “no” falls from my lips more easily. If I make a connection, it’s because I truly feel that current of energy. And when some thing or someone pulls at my authenticity, I am quicker to recognize that I’m in a tug-of-war. How satisfying it is to release my end of the rope, and walk away.
Authenticity is a seed that has been created. Throughout our lives, it is up to us to plant the seed, nurture it wisely and keep it well.
So, as you graduate, as you transition, or simply as you wake to a new day, remember the words of Henry David Thoreau:
“…be yourself-not your idea of what you think somebody else’s idea of yourself should be.”
Laurie Kasperbauer is an active Florida Realtor specializing in properties in Naples and Marco Island. Laurie also enjoys the spiritual and physical benefits of yoga practice and instructs both group and private classes.