February 2, 2021

Minute read

Braving the Relationship with Your Authentic Self

Close your eyes and imagine a normal person. Really imagine.

As I try to do the same thing, I can honestly say that there isn’t a single human being on my mind. In fact the only thing I can envision is a drawing of a common stick figure. A basic human frame with no body or persona whatsoever.

The reasoning behind this exercise is to demonstrate a simple truth: that there is no normal. As the bearer of bad news, I’m here to tell you that YOU ARE NOT NORMAL. The brutal evidence of that can be found on the pads of your fingertips.

So where did this obsession with normal even come from?

When we think of the people that have moved mountains throughout history or the people we admire, quite frankly, they are the most abnormal people on the planet.

They’re the ones that connected with their authentic nature, which is an act that is both brutally honest and vulnerable. As Mike Robbins says, “Authenticity is what gives us freedom to be ourselves and be comfortable with who we are.“

So who is the authentic person reading this right now? Do you even know who that is? I can tell you from personal experience that I’m still discovering my authenticity each day. It’s part of the thrilling journey of life with all of its ups and downs and side-to-side shimmies.

The author, Lauren Hoffmeier
The author, Lauren Hoffmeier

 Finding Your Authentic Self 

The moment in my life when I was my most authentic self was the moment I was born.

I didn’t know much, but I definitely knew that I was cold and I made sure everyone around me knew it. I screamed until I was swaddled in cozy blankets, and until something else happened — my father picked me up and mentioned the word “Bloomingdales.”

Once again I expressed my authentic self by staring with mesmerized curiosity. (It’s apparent that my obsession with shoes developed in infancy.)

Infants are beautiful examples of authenticity. With no concept of language or humanity, they find ways to express themselves. When a child wants a diaper change, when they want food, when they’re tired, when they like something or don’t like something, they let you know. This authenticity is a gift and it stays with them until one day the drips of social conditioning set in and that authenticity molds to fit their surroundings.

At what point in a child’s life is the sacrifice of authenticity made, and why do we encourage that conditioning?

According to Dr. Gabor Maté, a child has two needs the moment they are born. They have a need for attachment, specifically the attachment of love and connection, which are things they cannot survive without during those early days of neurological development. The second need is authenticity. He goes on to point out that as we grow older we start to sacrifice one need for the other, and it’s usually our authenticity that is suppressed in order to develop space for socially acceptable attachments.

The protective shrouding of our authenticity leads to the disconnection of our very core —the fingerprint of our soul that makes us special.

My own experience growing up was not unique in the sense that I felt out of place because it was extremely uncomfortable trying to “fit in.” There was no social group I could perfectly sandwich myself into because there was nothing to identify with fully. In fact, the only place I felt comfortable was within my own skin when I wasn’t comparing myself to the illusive maxim of normal.

What if we were to dare to be our authentic selves for a whole 24 hours? What would that look like? What would that feel like?

I have to amend my initial statement that “there is no normal,” because there is one normal — one universal standard — and that is the fact that we are all human. We share the same space and want the same thing. Our essential human nature is to connect to that childlike joy and rest in the authenticity of happiness.

Perhaps the key to get there is lifting the veil and braving that relationship with our authentic self.

Want to support our work? Become an official patron and show your support of our work to the world! Your contribution helps us to continue to produce and distribute a wealth of free articles, exercises, meditations, and other important content to help you create a life in balance — for FREE!

About the Author: Lauren Hoffmeier

Lauren Hoffmeier was raised in the heart of New York City with a performance background in opera and musical theatre. She is the author of “Mula and the Fly,” a picture book series that provides parents and teachers with a soft introduction to yoga. The fun characters and engaging stories promote a happy and healthy lifestyle to encourage positive mental wellbeing during early development. Lauren is a certified vinyasa yoga instructor and graduate of Boston University. In this brilliant world of oddballs and misfits, she aims to inspire positivity by encouraging an international mindset of joy and uniqueness. Click here to visit her website.


Tags


You may also like

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}
>

Trying to Strike that Work-Life Balance?

Join Our Community of Over 10,000 Humans Living Life in Balance

  • Be more productive and effective at work
  • Learn the science that impacts focus, productivity, discipline, and leadership — plus learn how to unleash the power of your purpose and using habits and routines!
  • Get all of this delivered to your inbox FREE each week with our weekly email journal, The Practice.