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Being Authentic is a Continuous Practice, Not Just One Day

Change is as inevitable and natural as the flow of a river or the breeze of the wind. Similarly, our perception of time evolves, for example, as we age time seems to accelerate. Recently, events such as Black History Month in February, International Women’s Day on March 8th, and the International Day of Transgender Visibility on March 31st each came and went quickly.

 

We must celebrate these events and move towards a lifelong journey of living genuinely with oneself, with others, and within our communities and society. Throughout the year, we might experience the pressure to conform, face marginalization and/or discrimination, worry about others' perceptions, feel isolated due to our perceived differences, or have dysregulated thoughts related to death by suicide/self-harm.


Volunteer construction team building a house.
Volunteers can positively change a community.

Embracing authenticity is not merely beneficial; it's transformative. Actual communities can be profoundly impacted by individuals who courageously lead by example. These pioneers foster trust, an essential element in both personal and professional relationships, by signaling their reliability and consistency. Such authenticity promotes self-awareness, prompting us to reflect on our values and beliefs. This reflection not only informs our decisions but also supports our mental health by mitigating the stress associated with pretense.

 

Individual looking sad and withdrawn.
Dysregulated individual.

The stress of pretense can be explained by its psychological strain from constantly presenting an inauthentic version of oneself, arises from the dissonance between our true selves and how we wish to be perceived. This ongoing act of self-monitoring can lead to significant anxiety, as individuals are perpetually concerned about revealing their true selves. However, embracing our authentic identities, which for some may include transitioning surgeries to align their physical appearance with their internal identity, leads to genuine happiness and fulfillment. By living authentically, we inspire others to do the same, creating a ripple effect of positivity.

 

Therefore, authenticity is not only a personal virtue but a collective gift, offering a blueprint for a more genuine, connected, and vibrant world. The continuous practice of being authentic offers numerous benefits:

 

Builds Trust: Consistently being authentic fosters trust in both personal and professional relationships, as people are more likely to trust someone who presents themselves truthfully.

Promotes Self-Awareness: Authenticity requires understanding one's values, beliefs, and emotions, helping individuals stay true to their core values.

Enhances Relationships: Genuine interactions allow for deeper connections, leading to more fulfilling relationships.

Improves Mental Health: Living authentically reduces the internal conflict and mental strain from pretending to be someone else, promoting mental well-being.

Encourages Growth and Resilience: Facing challenges authentically fosters personal growth and resilience, transforming obstacles into opportunities for development.

Facilitates Fulfillment and Happiness: Pursuing what truly brings joy, rather than conforming to external pressures, leads to a more fulfilling life.

Inspires Others: Demonstrating authenticity can encourage others to embrace their true selves, fostering a more open and supportive community.

 

In conclusion, the journey towards authenticity is ongoing, deeply personal, and universally important. It’s about more than just recognizing specific days or months; it's a commitment to living truthfully every day. This commitment not only enriches our own lives but also empowers those around us, paving the way for a more authentic, understanding, and cohesive society.


How will you embrace your authentic self today?


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