Confidence was not a consistent presence in my life. For a long time, confidence occurred is sporadic little bursts of pride and self-amazement that warmed me during moments of societal success and achievement. You know, high school and college graduations, getting birthday shout-outs and close to 100 “likes” for a selfie on social media, actually getting someone to call me their girlfriend for a while… the only type of confidence I experienced stemmed from the validation of the world and the people in it. I did not birth my own confidence. Because my confidence was not my own, it was only temporary… like a burst of fireworks that fizzles out just as quickly as it burst bright in the sky.
I remember turning 21 years old and thinking “I’m going to the club”. It was just something I thought I had to do… actually, I am sure it is something most of us thought we had to do. A rite of passage to being an adult nowadays. So, I got my hair straightened, put on a tight, short dress, then headed out. When we got to the club, I got my drink, stood in that crowded and loud room… and cried. The whole situation just was not me. And although I was dressed beautifully, and I looked the part of the normal 21 year old doing what people that age were supposed to do, I had not one ounce of confidence. I was not happy. I was not being my AUTHENTIC SELF.
The word “authentic” is synonymous to a few terms: genuine, real, bona fide, true, legitimate, valid. To be our Authentic Selves, we have to shed the layers of expectations and opinions we have adopted throughout our lives. We have to hone in on our own individual beliefs, interest, passions, characteristics, and accept them. Embrace them. Love them… Love our Truths. In “The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo, I was reminded of that as I read:
“We each have a divine inner voice that opens us to truth and a meditating social voice that is reluctant to show its truth to others”. (Nepo, pg. 62)
Everyone has it in them to listen to their divine inner voice and to be their Authentic Selves; identifying, accepting, and embracing our truth is a choice! We have all been at the crossroads of the Authentic Self and the False Self, and, let’s be honest, we have all chosen to ignore our truth at one point or another in life. Some of us may still be struggling to successfully escape that place of falseness. I get it… living our False Selves may feel more comfortable and safe. But, living our Authentic Selves brings much more to the table: self-love, happiness, motivation, CONFIDENCE!
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things” – Philippians 4:8
Yes, marching to the beat of your own drum and stepping away from the rest of the band can be scary at first, but you will get used to it, and it will be worth the fear. Also, there will be those loyal band-mates who collaborate with you along the way. No, your new authentic band will not be as large as the one you were in when you lived in the place of falseness. It may not even be as noticeable or accepted by the world around you. Still, it will be your authentic rhythm… your truth. And the more you come to love everything about your newly embraced rhythm, the more you will grow in confidence. From there, the sky is the limit!
Songs That Encourages Me to Embrace My Authentic Self:
- “Video” by India Arie
- “Try” by Colbie Caillat
- “The Voice Within” by Christina Aguilera
- “Encourage Yourself” by Donald Lawrence & The Tri-City Singers
- “Who Says” by Selena Gomez
- “Brave” by Sara Bareilles
- “Can’t Take That Away” by Mariah Carey
- “Electric Lady” Janelle Monae
- “Reaper” by SIA
What do you do to help enhance and promote your Authentic Self?