Happy Halloween to all of you out there who couldn’t wait for this opportunity to don a costume, play a role, and be something or somebody else for a day. Halloween can be such a riot! :)
This morning I received an email from the founder of the school I attended to become a health coach, and he posed a question that really made me think. In fact it keeps needling me in between my client sessions today, which is when I know it deserves some attention. My brain can’t let the question go; it wants to work on it.
He asked, “Are you showing up as your authentic self (in life – not necessarily on Halloween), or are you trying to fit a mold of who you think you ‘should’ be?”
Isn’t this a great question?
It encourages us to dive deep and examine whether or not we’re wearing some sort of a mask as we go about our lives and interact with clients, friends, family, and anyone else we encounter. Do we give ourselves permission to be 100% ourselves – totally authentic – no matter where we’re at in life? Or do we disguise ourselves and pretend to be someone or something we’re not?
Most of us would answer, “No, I’m not always my most authentic self,” which I think is both normal and where some deep inner work begins. Why not? Who do we think we should be, if not ourselves, and where do we get those ideas?
As I ponder this question for myself, I feel proud to say that the older I get the easier it is to be my authentic self. I have a sincere willingness to admit when I’m wrong or don’t know something. I also just like who I am and where I’m at in my life. But if I dive really deep, I see that I still sometimes struggle to express my anger or admit when things aren’t going well for me personally or professionally. For some reason I have held onto an old belief that putting on a happy face is the “socially appropriate” thing to do. It’s like that popular – and awful – phrase from that old commercial that said, “Never let them see you sweat.”
I haven’t let many people see me sweat.
But after giving this some considerable thought today, I think I’m ready to start peeling off that mask.
How about you? Who will you stop pretending to be?
With love and a big hug,
P.S. If you’re working on figuring out how to be more authentic, perhaps you’d enjoy Brene Brown’s Ted talk on vulnerability: https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability