In our work and personal lives, we are often bombarded with differing expectations and opinions. In our personal and professional lives, we are often pushed and pulled in many different directions – both physically and figuratively. We may have people wanting us to do things that we may not feel comfortable doing. We may be expected to do something that we do not see value in. We may be asked to do something in a particular manner, when we may feel there might be another, perhaps more effective/efficient way of doing it. It is a difficult balance, there’s no doubt about that!
What does one to do with all these conflicting interests, views, opinions, *shoulds*, *woulds*, and *coulds*?
It is imperative to really reflect on what we feel, what we want, and what will help us to stay true (or as true as possible) to our complete and authentic self.
Now, there are times when we may be asked to do things that we may not agree with or we may struggle with, but in the position we have, we must do these things because that is what we must do. Isn’t it? We need to do things sometimes to be “team players”. Don’t we? At times, we may do things because building relationships are the first and most important things that we, as leaders, need to foster. Aren’t they? See where the conflicts arise? It’s difficult. It’s challenging. It’s the role of leader. There is no black and white answer, unfortunately.
I always try to be my authentic self. I try to do what I think is right and in the best interest of kids. While I am cognizant of what others expect and what others would want from me, I have always tried to do things because I have loved them and because I am a passionate educator just trying to make a positive difference.
To be anything other than my authentic self would feed into everything that I grew up doing – trying to hide me; trying to hide my upbringing; trying to make others like me for who they *thought* I was, not for who I *really* was. At times, I struggle with the pull of what I believe is “right” and what I “feel” is what I need to do. I struggle because I do not want to be a fraud. I cannot. I just want to be me and be accepted for who I am and what I believe so strongly about.
Some advice . . .
All our pathways are going to be different – try to remember this.
Always try to be your authentic self, but be kind to yourself if it isn’t exactly possible all of the time.
Help others because you know it is right and because you learn as much from them as they learn from you.
Live with few regrets.
Live knowing you tried to be true to yourself, your beliefs and those things you felt passionately about.
Now some questions for you. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Do you ever struggle with being your authentic self?
What do you do when you face a situation which might challenge you to be something other than who you believe you to be?
What advice do you have for others?
2 thoughts on “Your Authentic Self”
I had a short, but meaningful, conversation with a close friend about this recently. To me, your authentic self is when what you think meshes perfectly with your actions and with what you do (there’s a quote by someone famous along those lines but I couldn’t remember it). I think we all struggle with this all the time, but, as with anything else, some people are better at being authentic because they know themselves better and they have made, or been allowed to make, choices in life that align with their special, personal spirit belonging only to them.
When I’m faced with challenging situations, I go with my gut. I find time to stop and think and listen to my body’s reaction. I write, privately, and I pray. I also run to clear my head and take time away from my busy life of being a mother, a partner, a teacher. I’ve become much better at saying no and at sticking with my list of priorities – my health first, then family, then work – which doesn’t always happen but I always reset to that after crazy times like report cards or year end.
I think being really clear about your beliefs is a must at the outset – what’s truly important? We get so caught up in modern day life that we sometimes forget that, not so long ago, or not so far away, a good day is one spent with your children and loved ones, with a safe, warm home and food to feed the family. There is a simple joy in just that, not in needing a fancy big house or a fancy car or a big pay cheque. I think you need to have your priorities straight first, be able to articulate why those are important and a part of who you are, and make decisions about your authentic self and the life you lead based on that. Thanks for making me think more on this!!
Thanks for reading and responding, Errin.
I feel quite strongly about being authentic and really true in what you believe to be right, honest, and good for kids. I agree, to know what this is for each of us, we need to be clear in our own minds first.
What about those times when you do not have ultimate control, but what are required to do may not completely mesh with your authentic self. Those are the real difficult situations we find ourselves in often.
sigh. I have no answers. Only loads of questions.
I hope you have a lovely summer with your kiddos!