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Why being inauthentic will only hold you back.

Why being inauthentic will only hold you back.

April 24, 2014

Who are you pretending to be?   I remember when I was 14 years old, year nine had just rolled around and I had a very conscious thought about the person I was. I had caught hold of the idea that who I was just wasn’t working for me. I’m not sure why I felt this – typical teenage angst and disassociation perhaps – but I felt it strong enough to make this decisive move: I was going to, consciously, become a different person. I believed that the only way to get what I wanted out of my life ( I probably just wanted to be ‘cooler’ and fit in) that I needed to massage my personality into something new. Form myself into someone else… put on a new costume and learn the lines of some fabricated ‘person’ in my mind.   It almost sounds schizophrenic doesn’t it? I just didn’t want to be me… ‘Me’ wasn’t good enough. And god I gave it a good crack! Most of that ‘massaging’ came through in really rebellious ways. All of which I’m grateful for – huge lessons – but there is a sense of sadness for how inauthentic and lost that little girl was. I had to go through that. Truthfully, I’m sure I’ve done this more than once over the years. Not with such deliberateness or drive, but almost unconsciously.   How we wear the costume of inauthenticity   It’s a safe bet to say that for most of us this has happened, on some level and to some extent. Maybe in small, almost undetectable doses. And maybe in a way that really drove you, motivated you, changed you for the better. Or maybe it has held you back.   I want to first flag how we find ourselves living an ‘inauthentic’ life. This is not hard and fast. It’ll be different for everyone. But personally this is how I’ve witnessed the energy of in-authenticity showing up in my life.   Firstly, we tend to look to the external world and the people in it as a reference point: Our energy is outside of ourselves. Our attention is on something or someone else – a blog post. A person we admire. Something on TV. A friend. A notion or concept we’ve read/learned   Next we start comparing and measuring up our-self to the beauty, intelligence, creativity and success of others and how the rest of the world perceives them. Instead of self-referencing to discover your own greatness, you start to measure what is good/bad, postitive/negative, successful/unsuccessful. We see how the world, society and culture responds to that person and experience and we use that as an indicator and a reason as to why we aren’t in the same place or doing as well.   Then we unconsciously or quite deliberately appropriate behaviours, beliefs and attitudes We, probably on a subconscious level, believe that these appropriated behaviours and attitudes might get us where we want to be. There is a undercurrent of ‘force’… of ‘making it happen’ (which isn’t a bad thing!) which can often feel positive, at first.   Finally we ‘act’ our way into a new personality at the expense of our own authenticity It might be days, months, years of wearing a different costume. It might feel like some days it fits really well. But mostly, it won’t feel easy – it won’t be natural. And that’s usually a sure-sign that we aren’t being our authentic self.    ++   Ok,  let me hit pause here for a moment to clarify that it’s not all bad…   Sometimes, being inspired by others (experiences and people) is incredibly revolutionary and evolutionary for us – it pushes our boundaries, it gets us thinking, stretching, exploring…always a good thing   And I’m also sure that many of us have ‘appropriated’ someone else’s authentic self in a bid to be a better version. I’ve been inspired by incredible women I’ve met in the past who have exuded ‘calm’. In my highly-strung, stressy state this was something I felt called to embody. I ached for the wash of peace. And it took work to get there, but wanting to ‘be’ the calm I witnessed in someone else led me to actually become my own version of ‘calm’ within my authentic self.   But maybe, just maybe, we’ve also taken it too far. We unplug from our own intuitive source – our own truth – and in doing so we lose that connection to our authenticity. We aren’t quite sure, anymore, what authentic looks and feels like. Yet there is that sinking feeling that something doesn’t fit. Something isn’t in place. It’s as if you are trying to forces pieces of the puzzle into points where they aren’t meant to go. There is an image – a picture – but it’s a little dislocated, confused.   I know I’ve had that feeling. It almost feels weak, vulnerable. Like the foundations aren’t stable enough to hold up it all up. Ultimately, it feels forced. It’s that ‘fake it till you make’ vibe, but the difference is you’ll never make it if it’s not aligned with your true self. If you aren’t leading with soul, no matter how hard you try it’ll eventually crumble.   I’ve faked PLENTY of things in my time that eventually did lead me to make it – why? Because even though I was clueless as to what I was doing, I felt called to give the ‘fake it’ part a a red-hot go, because I knew, intuitively I could do it. It was possible. But, the flip side to that – I’ve also tried to fake it before and have failed miserably! I can see now that it all boils down to being inauthentic – to not following my truth. To trying something on for size that just wouldn’t and will not ever fit.   The downfalls of inauthenticity   Truth be told this comes down to the kind of existence […] Read more