Go back to:

  • All Articles
  • Emily’s thoughts on being AUTHENTIC!

    Written for Voice At The Table by Emily Thorpe


    In the last few months I have traded my cute cream Fiat 500 for a monster of a car; a bright orange London Taxi. I have also left my job of 23 years as an Air Traffic Controller to pursue my passion for being a coach, mentor and speaker. I’ve no doubt that some of my ex-colleagues, friends and acquaintances think that I am having a mid-life crisis but I know that I am finally tapping into my authentic self.

    Although I have always been myself, I realise now that sometimes it was a slightly toned down version of me. I wanted to fit in and be liked, which is something, we all learn from a very early age. Although we are taught that honesty is the best policy, as a child you quickly discover it’s not always appreciated when you speak out or say what you think.

    The ‘Ban Bossy’ campaign founded by Sheryl Sandberg states ‘When a little boy asserts himself, he’s called a “leader.” Yet when a little girl does the same, she risks being branded “bossy.” Words like bossy send a message: don’t raise your hand or speak up.’

    This can go very deep for women who can be particularly prone to people pleasing. We want to be liked and we fear the rejection of being labeled awkward, difficult, demanding or bossy if we ask for, or go after, what we want.

    So why would we want to be more authentic and how do we go about it?

    Being your true self brings freedom; enabling you to live without resistance, tapping into your true genius and unique expression. As a unique individual, you’ve got to believe that you can ‘be’ you, better than anyone else.

    The best description I have heard for the discomfort of in-authenticity and unfulfilled potential was in Gay Hendricks’s book ‘The Big Leap’ he said he felt like he was ‘rusting from the inside out’. And this is exactly what wearing a façade can feel like.

    So how do we find our true self and tap into our uniqueness?

    The easiest answer is to become more intuitive i.e.; listen to your heart and your gut. We spend so much time in our heads we can ignore the call of desire and over-ride the niggles of doubt. Yet your body is the perfect barometer and you only have to listen to the messages you get, to know whether you are on track or not.

    Start to become a detective in your own life and tune into the areas that light up your life and listen when you feel a slight pang of envy? These are all clues as to what you want more of in your life. What brings you joy? What gives you butterflies of excitement? What makes time fly for you? Follow this breadcrumb trail to follow your bliss.

    What gives you an uneasy feeling? What gives you an ache in the pit of your stomach? These are strong indicators that you are misaligned.

    Notice the clothes you like to wear, the books you read, the music you listen to, even the food you prefer to eat.

    In the 1999 film Runaway Bride, Julia Roberts plays a perfect people pleaser who doesn’t even know how she likes her eggs cooked in the morning, because she is so used to complying with her partners preferences. By the end of the film she knows herself better, knows how she likes her eggs and ends up with Richard Gere, a plug for authenticity if ever I heard one!

    There may be times when your choices may move you away from your friends and family, but there may also be times when you are willing to compromise authenticity for someone you love, the important thing is that you are making a conscious decision and not blindly squashing your nature to comply with others.

    Self-awareness is such a gift to give yourself and others. A person who is completely comfortable with how they look, what they think, and what they say, is a joy to be around. You can actually feel the ease with which they inhabit their world.

    In the same way when someone is incongruent or misaligned you can feel their discomfort. They may wear clothes that do not suit their personality or agree with an argument, which doesn’t ring, true for them, but the discord is palpable.

    When you find your authentic self you not only exude confidence in yourself but you are also giving permission for others to follow suit, saying ‘It’s ok to be unique, it’s ok to be you’.

    What a fabulous gift for the world.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *