Transparency, Alignment, Authenticity
So authenticity has come up for me a few times lately and in different ways. What does being authentic mean to you? As with everything, it seems to depend on our own perceptions. Kind of like one man's feather is another man's chicken! Being authentic means being and showing up who we really are. But many times we get so caught up in trying to be authentic that we miss the boat altogether. If we have to try, then simply, we are not being authentic.
I don't fit into your idea of authenticity
While I love finding out about peoples total misconceptions of me, there are times when it either gets frustrating or I end up thinking of myself as 'not being enough'. Two examples of this are, firstly in the 'Queer' circle; because I look feminine and I like to dress feminine (for the most part), I am perceived as being 'not queer enough'. The other is that because I choose to wear what I like rather than what is considered 'spiritual/cool/hippie', that I am not being real. The perception is that I am hiding behind my clothes. There seems to be so many people adamant in breaking the barrier of not wearing a certain style of clothing etc, but then simply get into another queue with the idea of what authentic people wear. I wear something because I like it. Simple. I like it and I am wearing it, so no issue. And my queerness, or lack thereof, certainly has zero to do with that I choose to wear.
You don't fit into my idea of authenticity!
This one was a big 'wow' moment for me recently. To take responsibility for my own perceptions. I would get easily triggered when people I knew behaved in one way behind closed doors and a total 180 degree change in who they portrayed themselves to be when in public. I saw it as lying and being deceitful. Even worse, of being so out of alignment with who I was and nearly walked away from the connection. Hmpf. And then I chose to look at them differently. A more gentle, softer look. And I saw that they were who they were. Who was I to say that both sides of the person I saw was not their authentic self in each moment?
When our past haunts us
For some it is not so easy to simply be authentic when their past is filled with echoes of being shamed and rejected whenever they expressed themselves in any way, resulting in them not feeling safe to show their vulnerability. How many of us have childhoods where we got the message that we were not athletic, clever, attractive, social enough? And the result can be someone spending a lifetime trying to change themselves into that person who others wanted them to be. We fashion and peddle an image of ourselves that we think (hope?) others will accept, respect and love.
It is important for us to know that it is ok to feel anxious about allowing ourselves to be seen. Living a more authentic life doesn't make the self protection & fear magically vanish, but we do begin to be more aware of when they appear. And sometimes, and this might sound totally contradictory, we need to fake it till we make it. Some people might not want to be grumpy/unsatisfied person they feel they may be and want to be someone different.
And in the end, what is important?
Authenticity requires self knowledge and self awareness. Authentic people accept their strengths and their weaknesses which liberates from this idea of perfection. When you live in alignment with who you are, your words, actions, values and desires are experienced in a way that is consistent with that alignment. When you live with this kind of self awareness, choices are easier because you are free to choose the things that are closer to your values. You begin to own who you are and in that you can stand in your imperfections (and others) as you accept your humanity. Tantra embraces every possibility and knowing and living that is powerful.
One of the beautiful gifts of authenticity and being genuine and real, is the depth of our connection with others as we allow ourselves to be transparent and vulnerable. Authenticity is about being in the moment (how much freedom is there in that!). It's about now. It's about presence. Authenticity is you being you. Right down to your essence core.