To be true to myself was my mantra as an angst-ridden teen & young adult. But what does that mean? What is the cost of that? How does it end up with me slapping on so much face paint on that the real me is lost?
This week, I am challenged to consider radical authenticity, to explore what it means to be authentic. How do I feel right now, in this moment? When I identify how I feel, do I judge it? Is there a “should” that arises, like “I should be happier” or “I should be reading that book”?
“When will I understand everything?” I asked my father when I was about 13. He looked at me with what could have been pity (but it was a time long ago, so, I could have been wrong) and replied “I’m afraid the more you learn, you will discover there is even more you don’t know”. And he was right. The more I struggled to dig inside, to do the right thing, to be true to the self I thought I needed to be, the harder it became. Add on perceived expectations of peers, parents & significant others, it became downright exhausting.
Not surprisingly, I went full circle and became extremely self-absorbed and self-centred.
It was only when I met Loving Husband that I was pulled back out of myself. His strong belief in the healing & sustaining power of Love gave me hope. When Older Daughter, then Younger Daughter came along, I began to understand the meaning of unconditional acceptance, sacrifice & love. Slowly, I began to heal, to trust and to believe again.
In the last decade or so, Loving Husband and I have been involved with the World Wide Marriage Encounter movement. It was here we learnt that Feelings are neither right nor wrong. It is how we act on those feelings which are decisions to Love, or not.
To be true to myself: it is much easier now that I know myself a lot better. Living authentically has become a natural outcome of the choices I make each day. And for this, I am grateful to those who support this life I live.
Feature Photo: taken at Garvey’s in the Park, Ipoh