We, as humans, want and need to be accepted. We wear the styles we see, and stop wearing them when everyone else does. We compare ourselves to others constantly. This is perfectly normal and begins early in life. However, there are times when you just have to be you. As we’ve talked about before, your children need to know you have feelings. They need you to be honest when communicating with them. In addition however, they need you to be you.
This is where authenticity comes in. Authenticity is not the “I just gotta be me” people, and it is not at the expense of others. It is not breaking the rules or laws because you don’t like being told to do, but then pretend it is because you are being “real”. Authenticity is not going to Starbucks every day just because everyone else does when you don’t even like their coffee.
So what is authenticity? Authenticity is defined as real or genuine, not copied or false. It is how you build a rapport with the people around you. It is how you gain trust. It is how you establish your unique personality even and especially when it differs from others.
I have a friend who blocks out what I’m saying, or at least files the information long enough to percolate my ideas into “their” ideas later. They do the active “uh-huh” listening and then a month later, tells me about their great idea. Worse, they sometimes repeat my lines and stories back me as their own.
I see the university stickers and stick figure families on everyone’s car. Just a hint: No one cares where you went to school or how many kids or cats you have…..just saying. I adore my girls. They are the light of my life, but no one else gives two shits that I reproduced. I get that.
It seems no one has an original thought anymore. This is usually caused by insecurity. People want to be accepted and they don’t believe they are worthy. Other times it’s that they are impressed by you. As Charles Caleb Colton said “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery“. We are flattered, now stop.
That Ford pictured above is mine. I am a therapist who wears jeans to the office and I often have pink highlights in my hair. I break out in thematic song every time a musical is mentioned because chances are, I have the score memorized. My playlists on shuffle always makes my guests laugh, because there is such a ridiculous range of music. My favorite flower cannot grow in the state I reside. I can’t tell one designer from the other and I hate jewelry (no, my ears aren’t pierced). I don’t think Channing Tatum is sexy because he reminds me of someone I would date’s cute little brother. I can tell you which fork to use when, but avoid restaurants that make that skill necessary. I go to a country bar weekly because I like friends, music, and beer, but don’t listen to country music. I hate Starbucks and I have no idea why everyone likes Star Wars so much. *GASP* None of this makes me special, a rebel, or interesting. It’s just me. I like what I like because I like it, and I don’t like something because other people do. I like trendy things and dorky things. I’m me and I’m unapologetic about it.
Your children need to know you are you, and most importantly, that you love being you. You having the confidence to love yourself is one of the best lessons you can teach them. Self-love and self-care. Further, once they get out of middle and high school where they are obsessed with blending in, they will branch out and develop into a self-assured adult. One with an original personality that catches people’s attention and your child won’t care that they caught it. They will love themselves and as such, love won’t need to be collected from others and more importantly, from the wrong sources.