Definition of Authentic-
true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character
Not false or imitation
There are a few other definitions, but these are the two that we use as guidelines when discussing living an ‘authentic’ life or as Webster so succinctly puts it: true to one’s self.
Sounds so incredibly easy doesn’t it? You think “Well this should be a piece of cake.” I’m real, I’m authentic, no imitation here, right?
Ahhhh…but when you really start messing around in this authentic mire, it turns out that being real kinda requires some work. It takes courage, perseverance, confidence, honesty, and going beyond what you have always considered ‘truth’ about yourself and digging even deeper into your ‘layers’
And I’m not talking about your simple 2 layers of cake with filling in it…I’m talking about wedding cake layers or sacher torte (which after all, are really the most delicious right?) lots of layers and fillings, were each bite is a new discovery and taste sensation…like life should be lived!
I tend to chafe and squirm over words and phrases like ‘authentic’, ‘living your best life’, ‘brilliance’, ‘empowered’, ‘transformation’ (pick any popular self development word) not because I don’t believe in them, but because they get so diluted and we become immune to them after hearing them over and over again. I often wonder…why do we not think we aren’t authentic now?
We, as human beings, are made up of layers: layers of beliefs about ourselves, layers of expectations, layers of thoughts, layers of experiences, layers of our innate personality traits, layers of behaviors, layers of our roles, layers of possibilities…lots of layers!
So how do you blend all of your layers into a delicious authentic you? Let’s dig in;-)
- Feel the Fear-when you are unsure of taking a course of action, narrow down exactly what you are afraid of and why
- Where is the fear coming from? In other words, whose voice is it coming from?
- Get around the fear-what is a step that you can take in spite of being fearful?
- Listen to your intuition
- Self care is essential to blending your layers into something delicious
- If it doesn’t feel right don’t do it, say it, or allow it to drain your energy
- Know (and live by) that which you value most
- Feel what you feel at any given time (if you’re angry, sad, cranky, acknowledge it and work through it)
Recognizing that we are all made up of many layers and embracing all of them is a vital step in living your authentic life. This is a concept that I cover in depth in my new Cravin’IT ™ program. Are you ready to Create the Life YOU Crave?
John Lusher says
Remember in the movie Shrek when Shrek said to Donkey that Ogre’s are like onions? Why? Because they had layers! Just like onions, we are like cake; we all have layers! But, I would rather eat cake than onions….LOL.
The point to me is that we are all made up of the different layers, just like our lives at this moment are made up of all of our experiences that has lead us to this point. When you stop to think about it; it’s really cool! So, celebrate your layers and nourish each of them!
Great post Danielle!!
LOL…Yes John, one of my favorite movies ever! and so true 🙂 and agreed, although I like onions…cake wins every time!
Gina Parris says
Oh great post, Danielle!
I also cringe at all those self-help terms – especially the pseudo-new word “authentic!!” Haha. I jokingly say I would have assumed one was being authentic until they had to TELL me that they were about being authentic!
I love the idea that many different layers of ourselves can still relate to what is real about us. We are complicated individuals – we laugh, we cry, we eat cake. Great idea to check the source of the fears. Perhaps they come from that first grade teacher, Sister Margaret. She was known to whack our knuckles with a ruler if we were unruly!
Oh Gina…I love that idea of assuming that someone IS authentic until they have to tell me they are authentic;-) particularly in this age of people being able to hide behind personas virtually. And you’re right, we are complex beings…multifaceted; full of delicious layers…time for us to embrace all of it and enjoy!
Paul Tran says
Hey Danielle! I love this post – it’s an issue that so many people fall victim to – either by NOT being authentic; or being the false version of authentic (oxymoron, I know!) that someone/something else created. It needs to be addressed, and Danielle – you put a stamp on it too! =P
You’re right about the layers of cake (yum, by the way) – if you use the example in another sense; if each of your layers aren’t authentic and in sync with who you truly are, they are like ingredients that don’t go well together. You’ll have a crappy cake that nobody wants to have, or even wish for a stomach ache on your worst enemy. I don’t blame folks for not being aligned with themselves – TV/radio/newspaper ads make your authentic self feel inadequate in an effort to buy their products; mom/dad accidentally tell you to behave a certain way because it’s the right way, and punish you for “being yourself sometimes.” At times, you feel alone, and most people like to feel like they belong – and there’s pressure there.
But I think that if you keep it real, you’ll push away all the things in the world that don’t matter in the larger, harmonizing scheme of things, and you’ll attract all the things that you should be attracting – the people, the feelings, the aspirations, etc. and you’ll feel like the last piece of the puzzle that was found. You may not be able to please everybody – but for the folks who you can’t please by being yourself…are they really meant for you any way? It’s like – carrot cake can’t please everybody – but for the folks who do love it, there’s a cult following of fans (using your cake example again).
Great stuff, DM – keep writing and keep inspiring and putting things into perspective. I’m a big fan of yours!
Ahhh…Paul, I think you and I must have been related in some other life;-). I love how you’ve expanded on the layer cake concept…it’s true that we are sooo worried about wanting everyone to like and accept us that we tend to put on these ‘false faces’ because we’re told that that’s what we’re supposed to do. I love the carrot cake analogy (and carrot cake, btw;-)
and I’m a big fan right back:-) my friend
Leslie Coty says
How about “evolved”? There’s a self-development term that makes me laugh. Love the “fear” tips, especially taking one small step (because that leads to another, and another…). Thanks for the post and thanks John Lusher for posting it on Twitter so I could see it.
Yes, transformation and reinvention are two other ones that are soooo overused. It’s a shame, because I believe so strongly in the concepts and principles in personal growth…wish there were some better words to get the message out there.
Thanks so much for stopping by and adding your thoughts, much appreciated and very nice to meet you!
Rochelle Veturis says
Okay, I’m cracking up because as I’m reading this post I’m nibbling on vegetables (Eat Clean diet for Nov. 13 wedding). Yes, nutritious, but definitely not cake. I’ll be daydreaming about layer cake all afternoon Danielle 🙂
Anyhow, really beautiful post. I especially like the tips at the end. It’s nice that you helped us identify the existence of our many layers, and you also gave us actionable items to begin to embrace, implement, and celebrate them. Nice work Danielle.