Reclaim Your Authenticity
When I began 2nd grade, I'd read all the Easy Reader books that interested me in the school library. Shortly after school began, my teacher told the class we'd be allowed to start reading in the Juvenile section once we asked her permission. As soon as that class ended, I went up and asked her, and she said, "No."
She didn't explain that she needed to assess my level of reading ability, which I'm guessing was her reasoning. My request was simply rejected and I didn't know why. Fearing being turned down again, I waited until I was one of the last kids in the class to ask a second time. Because of this experience, I stopped asking for what I wanted or knew I was capable of handling. I hid away a piece of my authenticity for safety.
The problem wasn't with you. You were simply being who you were. The issue was with the adults who wanted you to conform to their standards and convenience. This wasn't part of raising you to be a courteous, compassionate, responsible adult. It was you trying to learn what the grown-ups wanted, even when their expectations changed daily.
In general, people shut you down and tried to confine you for their benefit, not yours. Your natural expression made them uncomfortable, took attention from them, came at a bad time or when they were in a bad mood. They weren't concerned so much about your well-being as they were interested in their own welfare.
Because of this, you might have grown up feeling like your beingness was "wrong" somehow. That nothing you could do was right. And the more you tried to be perfect, the further you moved away from your true self and the worse you felt.
Because others rejected you, you rejected yourself in the same way. Now, when you make decisions, do you make them for your well-being or to try to make other people happy? If you try to make everyone happy, you're doomed to failure and disappointment. It's time for you to start accepting yourself and realizing that you are fine the way you are.
Here are some things you can do to begin to reclaim your authenticity.
1. Stop rejecting yourself.
If someone misinterprets what they see in you, or something you do, there's generally nothing you can do to erase that misconception. It comes from their filter, the way they perceive the world around them. Even if you make a mistake, accept yourself and realize it's part of your exploring the possibilities. If necessary, you can make amends.
2. Ask yourself some questions in a new way.
This doesn't mean that you attack, explode or demean others. Those reactions are parts of your mask. They're what you used to protect yourself when you felt inadequate, insecure, anxious or defensive. Allow yourself to be visible and exhibit your talents, abilities, feistiness, insights, silliness, problem solving skills, and opinions.
4. Learn to trust yourself.
With all your experience, wisdom, and knowledge, it's unlikely you're going to overstep your bounds. Are you editing yourself too much? Trust your subconscious to lead you to the right things to say and do. Practice being more spontaneous in your life.
When you start living authentically, your self-respect increases. As a result, your self-esteem and self-worth rises. Tension and anxiety decrease, because you don't have to edit every word and judge every action. If there's any adverse reaction, you have confidence that you can deal with it. When you live from your true self, you have the power and insight to handle anything that comes your way.
Asking for what I want doesn't create overwhelming anxiety in me anymore. My teacher handled the situation like the autocrat she was. I now know that what I asked for was reasonable. Now I'm able to be more assertive and visible. I reclaimed a piece of my authentic self, and you can, too.
Copyright © 2009-2017 Linda Ann Stewart
As a speaker, personal and professional development coach, and hypnotherapist, Linda-Ann Stewart helps business and professional women who feel stuck, immobilized and overwhelmed to focus, prioritize and break through so they build more business and create a consistent income. Sign up for her FREE guide, "Take Control of Your Day," at www.Linda-AnnStewart.com/guide-takecontrol.html.You can contact her at LAS@Linda-AnnStewart.com or 928-600-0452.
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