As defined by Dictionary.com:
Authenticity [ aw-then-tis-i-tee, aw-thuhn- ] – Noun
– the quality of being authentic; genuineness.
Authentic [ aw-then-tik ] – Adjective
– not false or copied; genuine; real:
– having an origin supported by unquestionable evidence; authenticated; verified:
– representing one’s true nature or beliefs; true to oneself or to the person identified:
– entitled to acceptance or belief because of agreement with known facts or experience; reliable; trustworthy
These last few months have taught me a lot about myself and about the people around me. A couple of the chief lessons I have learned is that I am BLESSED to have an empathetic heart that considers the feelings of others. I try really hard to treat others the way that I would like to be treated. Sometimes I fail but I always at least try. I am BLESSED to feel strongly about my personal authenticity, to believe that the person I show to others needs to be as true to the person I am at my core as possible. Sometimes, I fail at that too but of all the things I try to be, authentic is the most important to me. I have also learned that these gifts are HEAVY! They weigh on me like 2 tons of bricks and can sometimes cause others to view me as weak, fake, or wishy-washy. Being naturally empathetic in a world that is not, surrounded by people who have low emotional intellect and whose only concern is for themselves, and who oftentimes do not even want to see my authentic self is emotionally painful on many levels.
So many times over the last few weeks I have found myself saying “Why can’t people just treat me the way I treat them? Why is it so hard to just be honest and real with one another? Why is it so hard for people to put themselves in someone else’s shoes? I don’t understand people.” It’s exhausting. I find that people are suspicious of me without cause because they have a hard time believing that I am the person I say that I am; someone who can be friends with 2 people who are enemies and yet still remain true to each relationship (it’s not easy but anyone with an ounce of integrity can do it), someone who truly does care about people I don’t even know and will ask if they are okay. I get it though. I have met so many people who claim to be things that they are not. It’s hard to trust anyone anymore.
When I share with people that I have an anxiety disorder and depression, that I am struggling emotionally, or about whatever feelings I may be having at the time, that isn’t to try to bring anyone else down or have a pity party. It is my attempt to stay true to myself. I do not believe in the “fake it til you make it” mentality. I do not believe that people should have to lie to each other in order to maintain some weird kind of social propriety. Fuck propriety! I definitely do not believe that people who care about you would want or ask for you to be anything other than who you are in order to spare their feelings. People who love you should want to know what you really feel and who you really are so that they can help make you better, learn from you and grow with you. I’d much rather have a true enemy than a fake friend. I’d choose a harsh reality over a fluffy fantasy any day.
The last thing I’ve learned is that it is extremely important that I remain the person that I am. That I do not allow pain, fear of rejection, the opinions of others, or anything else to dissuade me from traveling along this same path. I learned this during one of the most trying points of this year. Three different people happened to come to me and tell me that someone else was saying negative things about me. They would not tell me exactly what was said but what they told me warmed my heart. Each of them, separately and not in the presence of or (as far as I know) the knowledge of my conversations with the other 2, said in effect “I know that what this person was saying could not be true because it would be totally unlike you to do something like that.” Upon hearing these 3 different people say that my character stands strong enough to dispel any lie without a word of defense, I knew that what I have been doing has been the right thing. I have always tried to let the truth be my proof and it is paying off with people who have been around me long enough to watch how I move through the world. That means everything to me!
So, as much of a struggle as it may be, as lonely as it often makes me feel, I will continue to be the empathetic, “right is right and wrong is wrong”, speak up and out when I disagree, cry when I’m hurt, laugh when I’m happy, true to myself, cuss like a sailor, little pain in the ass that I am. I will continue to grow into the person I feel like I am supposed to be with or without the approval of anyone else. I am and will continue to be exactly who I am!
I’d love to know your thoughts, share your challenges, questions, and concerns. Leave a comment below!