If you’ve been around SEC for longer than a minute you have probably realized that we talk about authenticity all of the time… like all the time. Striving for authenticity is a major tenet of this community. Honestly, it is probably the thing the world needs most. And so naturally, believing it is this important, it comes up often. But, it came up in a conversation the other night amongst community in a way that I don’t think had ever made as much sense to any of us as it did in that moment.
We were discussing what an authentic life might look like and asked how we know what being authentic is; specifically, what about when we don’t feel like we can show up the same way with family, or with work, or friend, etc…. Am I being inauthentic if I am changing how I show up?
I know… deep question, and not one that is necessarily easy to answer. But here is the thing, when you get a group of people in a room who are dedicated to their own personal spiritual development AND (this is the key part) who are open to allowing their intuitive wisdom to flow through the room, beautiful things become known that were not previously known in that space.
OMG, the answers that came to us! The clarify that came out of that conversation was amazing.
There was one take away in particular that needs to be shared all over the world, because we are living in a time where it does feel hard to show up authentically, sometimes even just for ourselves, let alone out in the world. There are frameworks in place that feel like they attack authenticity, where authenticity is perceived as a threat, consciously and unconsciously. So, how do we manage our own authenticity, stay true to ourselves, and be mindful of how the world is showing up around us?
Ok… so, imagine that your life is a waterpark, and every place you go in life is a different type of attraction at this waterpark. You move about your day going from one attraction to the next, spending a little time here in the lap pool and a little time over there on the tube slide. There are all kinds of different water related activities for choose from - tubes slides to high dives, to wave pools, to the lazy river. It’s all there.
Ok, now imagine you are learning to swim. You’re not brand new at it but you’re definitely still learning. The way you show up to the wave pool is different than the way you show up to the lazy river or the even the diving board. This is our authenticity. What remains to be authentic is that we are learning, so it is necessary to show up in the way that we need to show up in any of these pools. Most of us would probably not go off the 15m high dive into the deep end without feeling confident. You might be cautious how far you go out into the wave pool. Ankle deep might be enough for some.
The same is true in our lives. All of these different water attractions are like the different groups in our lives. The water in the friend pool is way different than the water in the work pool, the family pool, or the out-at-the-store pool. We might need to adjust how we show up in certain groups or spaces - mostly mentally. We’re not going to show up the same at work as we do with family, no matter where you work or who your family is. We’re not going to Target the same way we go to Walmart… ok, maybe not so much that one.
Authenticity, then, is not about showing up the same all the time. It is about staying true to what is right for ourselves. What stays the same and what is authentic is that we are learning to swim in the sea of craziness that the world can seem to be at times. The only people in life who can show up identical in every situation are the ones who don’t get wet - the ones not in the arena.
If you have ever questioned whether you are showing up authentically or not in any given situation, maybe give yourself a break. Most likely, the mere fact that you are even asking the question says that you probably are. Trying is probably authentic in that pool. Sometimes we just need to take a look at the pool that we are about to jump into first.