DARE to be Authentic
“To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself.” – Soren Kierkegaard
If you are looking for a quick fix along the lines of (let me make up some titles) “The Power of Authenticity: Eight Essential Steps to Getting the Life You Want,” or “Discover Your True Self: 90 Days to the Real You,” then this site is not for you.
When you put yourself in the hands of the self-help industry, what you are really telling yourself is that someone who has never met you knows what is best for you better than you do. Just follow the guru’s plan and in 30 days, or 10 steps, you’ll be the new you! But will you be the authentic you? Or some guru’s version of you?
Why pay someone for fish that will feed you for a little while when you can learn to fish and feed yourself for the rest of your life? Why not be your own guru?
I believe we have a duty to act: to realize our full potential in the world, to discover who we are, and thereby to live authentically. Until we do, we may keep wondering, “Is this all there is?” and trying to fill that vague sense of longing, that hole in the soul, with stuff, substances, something. Being authentic can save you lots of money .
This blog is different.
- It may raise more questions than it answers.
- It trusts that you know yourself best.
- It’s not written by a “guru” who has “the answer,” but rather a fellow traveler who is on the journey with you. You decide what is and isn’t authentic for you.
- It’s not trying to sell you something.
Think of this as a psychic archeological dig where the unearthed treasure is your authentic self. But remember, digging is hard work and takes time and commitment. Sissies need not apply.
I DARE you to be authentic. Yes, it’s an acronym, but it’s no marketing ploy. Embarrassingly enough, it began as my own mnemonic device to illustrate my process when people would ask and it just stuck. . . .
- DISCOVER what authenticity means to you.
To illustrate, let’s say you want to revamp your wardrobe (yes, this works for men too). You begin with a desire and a vague idea. So you do lots of research. You study fashion. You read a LOT. You comparison shop. You ask other people who wear interesting clothes why they like them and where they found them. Your vision (not someone else’s) for your wardrobe begins to emerge.
- ACCEPT where and who you are and who you are at any given moment and stop denying the darker parts of yourself.
Take Darth Vader as an example. I’m not saying that it’s okay to be Darth Vader, but he can’t not be Darth Vader until he accepts that he is Darth Vader. Acceptance is the beginning of change.
To continue the wardrobe analogy . . . you accept that those jeans just do not work for you, much as you wanted them to. Rather than deny the jeans are a problem by covering them with, say, a pretty jacket, you can change. You figure out if the problem lies with the jeans, your thighs, your perception, or something else entirely. A nice benefit of acceptance is that it works the other way too. You allow that your really rock that red dress. You’re kinder to yourself and can appreciate other people’s clothing choices rather than mock them. Well, some mocking still happens.
You’d think that acceptance should be the first step of the process, right? That’s neater and seems to be the starting point. But that is where a lot of self-help books get it wrong. Life isn’t neat and orderly like the table of contents of a book. Life is messy – that’s part of the adventure. Most of the time you’ll find that you had been discovering and even reviewing (even if you didn’t realize it at the time) long before acceptance ever occurred to you. That’s probably what that vague longing has been about.
- REVIEW your life in light of what you have discovered and accepted.
Start with the clothes you have to see what works and what doesn’t. Try on every piece of clothing. Keep what works; toss what doesn’t. Remain on the lookout for things that might fit you a little better. Of course, you can’t part with some of the outfits that you’ve had forever, even though you suspect they no longer fit. So keep them in your closet until you can let them go. Time passes. Some clothes continue to fit, others become uncomfortable. You might try a new outfit imagining it will fit you well, only to find out later that you were wrong. Being wrong isn’t the end of the world.
- ENGAGE in life. Get on with the business of living!
Live what you believe is an authentic life for you today. Then get up tomorrow and live what you believe is an authentic life for you that day. And on it goes.
Live in your clothes. See if they continue to fit. Keep discovering, accepting, and reviewing. You’ll learn how to alter your clothes. Eventually, you will become your own tailor.
Where to Start
I always like to check out the author when I run across a new blog.
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This blog is a work in progress as am I.