Authenticity is a Form of Self Love.

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First, Happy one week anniversary of the Self Love challenge! Congrats to myself for committing to one whole week of writing daily and congrats to any of those who have committed to each day’s challenge. I’m also happy to announce that we have 11 followers now (yes it’s a small number but who cares!). But I’m thinking that when we do get to 100 followers, perhaps we’ll have a small “self-love” themed giveaway. So that’s something to look forward to.

And now, onward to our post for today.

So we all put on different masks from time to time. We are this person when we are around family. We are that person when we are around co-workers. We are this person when we are amongst friends. This is called the “fictional self.” The self, which we create in order to be liked and accepted by everyone we come across. The self, which we create that we want the world to view us as. So we in a sense, become these chameleon-type human beings and adapt to each group we surround ourselves with and while yes, sometimes it can be a good thing to adapt or to even try on a new personality trait to change things up, it can also be very dangerous to our identities. By constantly changing who we are, we eventually will lose sight of our true, authentic selves. The authentic selves we were created to be.

I know as human beings it’s difficult to be our self, as silly as that seems because our true self is the one that should come most natural, but in reality it doesn’t. We are so afraid to be vulnerable and authentic with other people out of fear that they will not like who we truly are. That’s really no way to live, even though society makes it seem that if you don’t fit in, then you are deemed to be a outcast. But what if instead of being so afraid of what people thought, we just were ourselves anyway?

I mean wouldn’t we be more happy that way because we were being true to ourselves? I’ve always had the hardest time being my true self and it wasn’t up until recently that I have learned that it’s ok to put down the masks and show my real face. I grew up constantly trying to fit in with different groups. One minute I was part of the popular group, the next I was a jock, the next I was a nerd and I remember everything from my clothes to my personality would adapt to my new group. It was pretty annoying now that I think of it. Why was I pretending to be someone I really wasn’t just so I could fit in and be liked? I mean are we as human beings that desperate for approval that we pretend to be things we are not.

And maybe it doesn’t even have to be on a small scale like trying to fit in in school. Maybe we do it as adults as well. For example, why do we buy the latest gadgets or designer clothing? Why do we compete with other people for the best jobs, the best vacations, the best accomplishments? We are all trying to achieve status so we can be liked. Instead of simply just being who we are and doing what truly makes us happy, we force ourselves to like and do things that deep down aren’t really us, but rather what society wants us to be or rather, what society says we SHOULD be in order to be liked or to be seen as successful.

This is no way to live my friends. Why? Because at the end of your life, you’re going to realize that there was never a moment where you were living for yourself, but rather you lived your entire life for the benefit of others – what others wanted you to be, what others thought you should be. And in the end that’s a whole lot of regret and emptiness to carry.

The Self Love Daily Challenge #007: Give yourself permission to be your authentic self.

Be who you really are. Do what you truly love. Forget about what others think or what they believe you should be doing. Yes, don’t go crazy and break a bunch of rules or live selfishly, but don’t deny yourself the right to be you. You were created to be unique for a reason. You weren’t created to be like everybody else. You have specific gifts and talents so that you could achieve your specific life purpose. Don’t force yourself to try to be something you’re not just for the sake of “likes” or approval or status.

Today make yourself a promise to be your true authentic self. Put aside the masks and allow your true self to shine. Love yourself enough to be you and only you. You are doing yourself an honor by doing that. You are telling yourself that “I love myself enough to not have to pretend to be anyone else or seek anyone else’s opinions to give me my identity.”

When I went through my momentary breakdown (breakthrough let’s call it in positive terms), I was basically forced to be vulnerable and show my true identity to a lot of people. I didn’t like it at first, in fact, I resented it. I was terrified of people’s opinions to the point where I began to actually avoid seeing people. I would tell my family that I was too scared to go hang out with friends because what would they think of me now that I was this other person, this post-breakdown self whom I thought was so shameful to be. Slowly, I began to realize I was just hurting myself yet again. I was creating the shame, not other people. I was created more depression and more anxiety, not other people. So I took a chance. I stepped outside of my mask and decided to go out into the world as my vulnerable, true self.

The reactions I got were very surprising. All of my true friends, the ones that really cared about me and my well being, stuck by my side. They didn’t care if I was different. If I had flaws. If I made mistakes. If I was imperfect. They loved me for me, just like they always had and always would. And the ones who did turn their backs on me, well, I guess you can say you really know who your true friends are when you’re at your lowest point. If people can’t love you at your worst, then they sure as hell don’t deserve you at your best.

The more I let my guard down, the more I began to know my true self. I never really knew who I was before. I only knew that if I found myself with these people, then I would have to like these things or if I was found myself with these people, then I had to like those things.  Of course, I wasn’t all that clueless to what I really did enjoy and what my passions were, but I never allowed myself to fully develop them or dive in to them. I always stated that yes, I liked music or art, but I never gave myself a chance to go out and find exactly what I liked or disliked.

So who am I? Well I’m still on a life long journey of learning that. But I can tell you one thing – it truly is the greatest gift that I could have ever given myself. I love being me. The weird. The ugly. The imperfect. The flawed. The beautiful. The gracious. The simple. The quirky. The artistic. The creative.  The complicated. ME. And that’s all I ever want to be.

I only wish the same for you.

xx

Christina Ciro

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