My favorite quote is from Shakespeare's Hamlet:
"This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man."
When I first move to management, there was a slew of advice on how I should be and what I should do to please all of my employees. I found myself in a state of having a missing identity. The more I tried to be what they wanted me to be, the more I lost myself in trying to be someone I was not. The more I did this the more everyone else noticed that I was changing and "not acting like myself". How did everyone else know who I was while I struggled to figure that out? The answer is that I knew who I was the whole time but was clouded by outside influences that tried to change me. At the core of everything is our inner being, the authentic you, and that's something that should never be forced to change especially out of season. So how do we combat those pressured ideals of how a person SHOULD be?
Photo credit: Zeke Zhan (Flickr)
Write it down.
Make a list of the things about yourself that stand out the most. What makes you who you are?
"And the LORD answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it" Habakkuk 2:2.
Stop for a moment each day and say who you are. "I am strong!" "I am fierce!" "I am powerful!" It's not egotistical or narcissistic to speak highly of yourself in this way so don't let that stop you from daily affirmations.
Proverbs 18:21 says "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits".
Stand your ground.
Whenever someone tries to change you, stand up for yourself. There is constructive criticism and advice but you must use discernment to know who is helping you to achieve the best, most authentic you. I am not saying to start a fight but just don't be shaken. Be a deeply rooted tree knowing what you know to be true.
Always have time for reflection.
Whether that is through prayer, meditation, quiet time , whatever you call it. This allows you to dig deep into who God made you to be. And if you are unsure of who that person is, ask and seek the answer. When someone brings up something you should change, reflect on it. Will you agree with what they are suggesting? Not all the time. If it compromises your beliefs, it more than likely is not for you to change.
Love yourself. Embrace who you are.
Yes, you are fearfully and wonderfully made. Flaws are like beauty marks. They make us unique and identify us as an individual. Embrace every aspect of yourself. Every experience. Every milestone. Every age. Every unique trait. Stop singling out moments in your life that you wish you could change or glorify your "wonder years". Life is fluid. Life is a moving stream that is made up of every bend and every rapid.
Needless to say, I took the advice given to me with a grain of salt. I understood the advice that was water to the soil and the advice that was more of an opinion not based in facts. Understanding the innermost spirit of myself, helped me determine what tweaks needed to be made. I have learned to respect that some things will come with time and age and a willingness to step into the next season of my life. I don't it all figured out and like a new friend, I am learning things about myself each day.
If no one has told you today, let me be the first to say, You are absolutely amazing just the way you are in this very moment.
What are your thoughts? I'd love to hear from you. What are your strategies to be authentic?