The Very Core of My Being
What does being authentic mean to me? What does it mean to connect in authentic power and strength? This week’s topic has given me the chance to clarify internally what I really mean when I use the phrase “being authentic,” and then share those thoughts with others.
For a number of years, my husband and I had a second hand store – our junk shop, was his pet name for it. While buying and selling these second hand goods we had the opportunity to purchase estate items, some containing antique or collectible pieces. Of course we also discovered fakes or reproductions, items passed off as genuine antique or collectible pieces.
When I think about being authentic, I can’t help but pause and reflect on the difference between a genuine piece of Depression glass and a reproduction piece which is simply a copy of the real article. Both the original glass, and the copies, have pretty colours and patterns. It takes a great deal of study and handling to learn to tell the difference between the genuine article and a reproduction piece. Sometimes the copy is easy to spot because it is a pattern that wasn’t introduced during the depression era, or the colour is slightly different than ones used decades earlier.
Some people love the colour, whether the pink, green, or blue, and are not as concerned about whether it is from the 1930s & 1940s, or a modern copy. It looks great sitting in their mirrored-back, glass-fronted cabinet. Using the reproduction pieces means they worry less about a chip, crack or break appearing.
I have a few pieces of authentic Depression glass and other original, genuine pieces of old china, glassware and collectibles. I love the stories behind the pieces, such as the blue bubble cup my mother always kept in her flour canister. I searched to find a saucer to reunite the set as she would have originally owned it. It reminds me of mom and of her adventure when she acquired the dishes. I would not want a reproduction piece even though it would not change the story to any great extent.
Once I finished my reminiscing about fake and original antiques and collectibles, I turned my reflections to what it means to be authentic in my life. I realized it makes a world of difference if I am fake or real, if I am authentic and genuine, or putting on a false front, hoping to be who others want me to be, or what I think others expect. Brene Brown said, “Being authentic is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.”
I am a storyteller. It took me years to totally embrace this, and realize that so many of my interests and abilities were not as scattered as I thought. They were all tied up in being a storyteller, both orally and in writing. Yet there are times I catch myself still trying to write like a favourite author, or speak in a manner which I believe is expected, because another speaker uses that style. I have had people tell me that, in those times, they cannot hear my voice, cannot see the real me. Being a storyteller might not be high on the list of successful careers, but it is my gifting, my ability, and my passion. Stories help people relate to circumstances, to each other and to facts within a presentation. Stories are powerful. I need to daily let go of others’ perceptions and be me in every aspect of my life. I can learn from other speakers, writers, and storytellers, but I need to implement what I learn in a style that reflects who I am at the very core of my being.
When I am authentic, my feelings, my thinking, my words, and my actions will all match up. I will feel good inside, and not simply put on an outward appearance of good things. I will be genuine. This authenticity, what you see is what you get, requires being vulnerable and transparent. That can be scary, but in the end I believe it is powerful and it draws people to want to connect with you. They will always know where they stand with me. I think of some of the synonyms for authenticity, such as genuineness, realness, reliability, believability, credibility, and dependability, are words with which I want to be described; as the truth about who I am, whether I am hanging out with a friend, speaking to a group of people, or writing a story.
Written by: Carol Harrison