How to Be More Authentic (And Be Cool With It)

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How meta is it that being my authentic self means writing this crazy blog post and then posting it? Kind of amazing, right? I wish I could say this post came to me in a flash of inspiration but I honestly spent most of my time this week avoiding a post because coming up with good blog ideas is hard.

So here we are at AUTHENTICITY. Honoring our true selves is so freaking challenging in this world and I swear it gets more challenging everyday. We’re so “out there” now. Our lives are recorded on multiple platforms in multiple mediums and it opens us to be judged, and questioned, and hurt. Sure, it opens a lot of doors, but with open doors comes a lot of weirdos and jerks who can just walk right on into your life.

I am the closest to my most authentic self I’ve ever been. I want to say, so very badly too, that I am my most authentic self today, but if I’ve learned anything it’s that we’re never quite right about this. But the past year has felt like a giant puzzle piece has finally found its spot and locked in. And being a puzzle with a lot of its pieces in place is a freeing feeling. And very rewarding.

The best part about this huge piece falling into place is that it isn’t surprising. I DO know what I’ve done to get here. To get to this place where I feel like I am myself in all settings: At home, at work, on this blog, on social media, on my couch, with my family, in group texts. All of those Amandas are ONE Amanda. And if you were born one version of yourself, cool, you can probably stop reading and celebrate how freaking lucky you are! But if you are like me… If you have spent a lot of your life trying to navigate all the different “yous” looking for the one that feels most comfortable… then read on.

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I am using stock from Unsplash.com of little kids because they are the definition of authentic.

Here’s What I Did/Do…Didgeridoo:

1. I Honor My Energy

I have spent a considerable amount of my life trying to be the upbeat, problem-solver, with good energy. And that’s because 80% of the time that is who I am. That’s me. The other 20% of the time is when I am sapped of energy, or sick of someone else’s bad energy, or sad, or hurt, or overwhelmed. These days I accept that I am not at my best during these times and I do not try to pretend that I have the wherewithal to be upbeat and helpful and energetic. It’s like plugging in a cellphone. I have to take that time to charge up and fix what’s wrong with me so I have the energy to be in my natural state of being which is saying “How can I help?” on repeat.

2.  I Honor My Feelings

I started telling people how much they mean to me. I started asking for equal love and time and attention from those people too. I work on both daily because these are particularly hard for me for some unknown reason (I’ve written like 50 essays trying to figure it out). I have found that the love I pour out of me is almost always matched by the wonderful humans I surround myself with. And if it isn’t enough or right, I stop it there. I am only here to share love for love. I was once someone who was embarrassed to tell someone that I love them, that they’ve changed my life, that I need them in my life. Now… I actually say it quite a bit. And it has only freed me further. (PS I love you guys!)

3. I Honor My Beauty

I cannot tell you how hard this one is. And I’m not just talking about your face or your body. I am talking about embracing what makes you special and what makes you happy. I prefer wearing slacks and loafers to work. I prefer sneakers to heels on the weekend. It’s just who I am. I started describing my sense of style as a Punk Ellen DeGeneres and giving it a title actually helped me embrace it. It took me a long time to negotiate my femininity with my desire to dress like a 12 year old boy. And I come up against this challenge more than you would think and I am always working through it. But I can tell you, by accepting that beauty is complex and unique to the individual, you can find what your true beauty is and aim your arrow at it. Also, anyone that feels the need to tease you for your preferences is locked in their own hell. Don’t get locked in too.

4. I Honor All That is Good in My Life

Negative thinking patterns are sooooooooo soooooooo easy to fall into. I am especially prone to them when I am busy or have a lot going on. I will have a party and trip and dinner coming up and think, “Ugh there’s so much going on…blah blah.” But if I stop and center myself and think “I am so thankful I have friends who want to eat meals with me, I am so grateful that I get to travel, I am so proud I am living the life I always wanted.” I remember that I chose these things, that I am lucky to have these things, and that without them I’d feel pretty empty. Being grateful isn’t a script. You have to see it and work at it.

5. I Let The Dead Things Go

Being upset and angry and really, downright enraged is okay. What’s not okay is harboring those things and letting them lead your life. Get good and mad and then find a solution. Get sad when someone leaves your life, and then find happy things to fill that space. Let. The. Dead. Shit. Go. It can’t serve you anymore.

6. I Honor My Future

I actually hate this one but I do it because it’s good for me. When I meditate… I totally meditate like 5 times a week you guys! Who am I?… One of my go-to mantras is “I will find my gift to give.” It gives me peace when I feel lost about the direction of my life. I use it when I have a bad day at work. When I feel like I am not doing enough. When I am wondering if I’ll actually publish anything worthwhile. It keeps the spiral at bay and keeps me working toward my goals.

7. I Honor My Place

Ever get impostor syndrome? Where you’re like… Why do these people like me? I can’t do my job properly? Why would someone love me? That’s some toxic shit and you gotta stop. Chances are you have a job because you’re pretty good at it. You have friends because they like you (or you have a yard… lol jk jk). You are awesome so stop pushing the good stuff away from you and hugging in the bad.

Well, this turned out to be a lot longer than I thought but I’m glad! I carry this stuff around with me all the time and feels good to store it somewhere and HOPEFULLY help someone. Once you start doing some of things, or one of these things, or half of one of these things you’ll start to notice a difference. And that difference will make you want to do more! Take it easy, don’t rush, and listen to the you that you like.

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