I was thinking about what I wanted this month to be devoted to, as I really enjoyed June’s theme of authenticity (read the original post here) and I shared a lot of quotes, thoughts and personal stories over the weeks on my Instagram captions. It meant so much to read your comments and to hear how you stay true to yourself and stay in your authenticity.
And I thought, that takes a lot of courage.
The easiest thing is often to try to fit ourselves into someone’s shoes, to try to shrink ourselves, change ourselves, make ourselves bigger… to pretend to be something other than what we really are. That’s the easy thing, to try to blend in.
Instead, stepping into our authenticity takes bravery, determination and a lot of hard work – mentally, physically and morally. The simple example of creating a façade on social media or spreading an image that isn’t an accurate representation of our lives is a good example. If we are constantly trying to be something else, sure, we may get some companies wanting to work with us, to promote products that seem popular and we know would do great things to our stats. It takes guts to say no to these offers when they don’t align with our beliefs. The simple act of saying “no” to such offers is a show of courage – we may be saying no to an endless supply of product, to a bigger pay check, to a community of similarly in-authentic accounts, to future events… but do we really want to get caught up in this false portrayal of ourselves that will, I believe, ultimately catch up with us.
Instead, we say no, and in the long run, life will be easier. We will not have to worry about our façade falling down and crashing around our feet. We can sleep peacefully knowing that we are who we say we are and the image we put out into the social media sphere is as accurate as we can achieve.
Outside of the world of social feeds, likes and tags, it takes courage to be ourselves in the real world. For anyone who has been bullied or has been on the receiving end of insults, discrimination or other forms of negativity will say, it doesn’t seem like the best option to be yourself as it gets you in “trouble”. You may feel as if people don’t like you for you… they don’t let you just be you. The world can be unfair and I don’t condone that behaviour at all, nor do I think those who shy away from their authenticity in certain situations, to be weak. But when the time feels right, it always feels better to be ourselves, our true selves. A few things can certainly aid that freedom: a network of supportive friends and family members, a high sense of self-worth which is something in itself to work on, and some coping mechanisms. Everyone will have their own coping mechanisms but simple things I like to do involve journaling, keeping a compliments journal to look back on when we lack courage to be ourselves and a gratitude journal to remind us just what we have to be thankful for.
Acts of courage can be big or small, what may seem like a mountain to one person will be a tiny molehill to someone else.
Taking small steps of bravery towards a larger goal is a more attainable and realistic way for anyone seeking drastic change. Make a plan of what you want to achieve and what it will take for you to progress on your journey. How much courage will be involved in each step? Set realistic tasks to build your self-confidence and your feelings of self-worth and share your triumphs with your support network who will be so proud of you. They may even realise the steps you are taking by the change within you, perhaps you’re a little more confident, you’ve done something that you’ve always talked about doing but never actually got started?
As long as you are doing it for you and not for them, that’s the key. Courage comes from inside of you, so it’s only you who needs that fire and that passion to be, to do, to change, to become, to transform…
Courage isn’t the absence of fear, it’s feeling the fear and doing it anyway!