Defining Authenticity

What is one thing you value to your core?

For me, it’s authenticity. As I follow my path, my primary goal is to ensure that I am always being the most authentic version of myself. It took awhile for me to understand what being authentic meant to me. It looks different for everyone, but here’s how I see it.

Unlimited growth.

To be in a space of authenticity is to be open to growth. Growth happens naturally and it’s up to me how much I will fight it or embrace it. Often, it can be hard to see beauty in growth if the mind is stuck in the past. What I’m comfortable with doesn’t always translate into what’s best for me. My point isn’t to focus on the future, but instead, to stay in the present even when growth is uncomfortable and I desperately want a way out. By moving along my ever-changing path without resistance, I teach myself to enjoy the now, whatever that “now” may be. To grow is to find out how much I’m capable of and what I want to be better at. Embracing growth is to manifest infinite possibilities and readily welcome positive experiences that shape me for the better.

“Stop invalidating your feelings.”

Once I stop BS-ing myself about how I feel, I often feel a little something like this.

This is something my best friend tells me a lot. I often think that I shouldn’t feel a certain way, and I’m somehow wrong for feeling an emotion. The question would always arise in my head, “Why do I even feel this way?” followed by a feeling of weakness or shame. I’m learning that instead of beating myself up for emotions that I can’t avoid, I should allow myself to validate them and let it flow. Denying my emotions leads to the rejection of who I really am. It forces me to disconnect with my spirit, which pushes me farther away from my truth and authenticity. Society has taught me to be strong, to push through and not let things affect me. Honestly, it’s not who I am. I am quite sensitive, actually. It’s so liberating to break through the chains of pent up emotions and just let myself feel without apology. Once I’m done, it’s as if I’ve cleansed my soul of all things negative and I’m ready to focus on the present once again.

Paying attention to my mind, body, and soul.

Checking in about how I’m feeling has been a huge part of staying authentic and true to myself. When doing so, I clue in how I feel physically, mentally, and emotionally. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in life and not even notice that my body and mind might be feeling a little out of whack. I used to realize how off balance I was way too late, making it so much harder to get out of a funk. Now, if ever I notice a change in my mood (significant or not) I think about how I could remediate that feeling and get back to a place of calm and content. If I feel like my mind is a little stuck and scattered, for example, I write in my journal to get through to the core of why I’m feeling the way I do. If I feel like my body is too jittery for me to sit still, I take a walk to relax my muscles. Listening to what my soul is telling me opens up so many doors to finding what works and what won’t work for my life. The more mindful I am, the stronger the connection I feel with myself, and the better I am able to be the most authentic version of Ayorinde I can possibly be.  

One more thing!

No one’s version of authenticity is the same, and my view on it can certainly look different from yours. However, if you want to spark some thoughts in your head about what being authentic means to you, try identifying one or many core principles or values that you want to live by and then break down two or three ways that might help you succeed in living up to them. I’d love to learn about what authenticity means to you, so make sure to comment below!