In this post, I want to talk about being authentic in a world that seems to value the opposite and how you can stay true to your path.
On Facebook and Instagram, we look at others and think they are leading amazing lives but the reality of it may be very different to what the output is. The truth is we can’t really know. Someone posting their pretty beach photos may be miserable there, another boasting on how much work they’re getting may be doing free gigs and being financed by their family- we can’t know but more importantly, we don’t need to know.
We don’t need to know because we must only focus on our own journey. We must stay authentic to ourselves and if that means less attention online then so be it. ‘Followers’ are not a reflection of the depth of our soul- the way we act in life is. To live a life of lies and in-authenticity is to turn away from your soul, from your true self which will eventually backfire in some way. Only focusing on what I call our surface self, will lead to a very shallow life. It is better to be honest with yourself and your heart than to disregard it in search of something you are made to feel you should be chasing. (One of my recent blog posts was about “shoulds” and how we can break this cycle!)
It seems obvious to say that images are photoshopped, even videos edited frame by frame, that people over hype themselves but we still don’t accept this as being the truth and it is deeply affecting us. When I started out singing, I had all my promotional photos edited to the point they did not look like me and I became embarrassed that when I turned up in person I didn’t look like the person on the poster! I felt I needed to do this to get bookings but actually I didn’t. I no longer send edited photos, wear false eyelashes, wear very little make up, have let my bleached hair grow out naturally and don’t pour myself in glitter as I once did and I still get booked! It can be difficult to reach a stage where you like yourself enough to present the real you, but you can get there.
Here are a few ways I use to stay authentic to myself in a world that often seems to value our surface self more than our deeper selves.
- The most important thing I’ve learnt with becoming more honest with myself, is to be kind to myself. In the past I thought I was being honest in those inner mind conversations we all have but actually I was constantly berating myself for not being good enough. So look after yourself, treat your mind and body well with whatever it is that makes you happy and feel well- eating good food, resting and speaking to yourself nicely will all help you love yourself.
- Keep a diary or a blog! Writing your thoughts down, certainly helps sieve out any of the little lies we tell ourselves. When you see your words in front of you they become their own entity and so they are easier to evaluate and assess until you can find the truth in them. A diary is usually more truthful as it’s not intended for others to read whereas with a blog, the same temptation to edit your life in the same facebook style may creep in. Write for yourself, let your own voice flow out and you’ll write in truth.
- Be with people who uplift you, even if that means being alone! It’s so vital to be surrounded by people who support you and if you don’t have that at this present time, then you are better off spending some time alone. I am so grateful that I have a very supportive family now, but I often need to be on my to recharge as I’m an insular person and I need and want my own company very regularly.
- Stay off social media. Again, this is a warning often given nowadays but how many of us listen? I certainly am one who has to consciously watch how much time I spend online. It is a challenge when you’re work is intertwined with interacting with others online, but it is doable. Set specific times you will spend online and set an alarm to notify you when you might want to turn the laptop off. Don’t let it be the first thing you wake up and the last thing you fall asleep after.
Of course, chasing a dream of superficial fame and fortune will be some people’s path as there are lessons to be learned here that may not be grasped elsewhere. That doesn’t mean it is your path though or that it is a fulfilling, happy one. I’m certain there are far happier people who, to Western standards, have nothing than there are on the red carpet at the Oscars.
It is said so often, but we must learn to love ourselves and know that our sparkle comes from within us- it is not measured by how much external shiny things we can pile on ourselves!
We are not here to live someone else’s dream. You are not here to live someone else’s dream, please remember that and go and live your own dream, being the beautiful true self that you are!