Authenticity is a HUGE buzzword right now, and it's one that I've been excited to discuss. Because I am trying to grow a photography business as well as a styling business, I am entrenched in the land of creative entrepreneurs and the word authenticity is thrown around a lot. I absolutely LOVE the idea that everyone is striving for this because I feel strongly that we have so much to offer when we are 100% true to ourselves and to others. I have written about this before, so I know this is something you've heard me to discuss many times (especially if you know me in real life). You may be wondering, then, why in the freaking heck I am here, writing about this again. Why am I showing up umpteen years later on my abandoned old blog to discuss authenticity? I've been listening to a bunch of podcasts recently and have had the inspiration to write again, and so I'm just going for it. I don't have a specific timeline or goal, I'm just writing because that's what I feel like doing. And for today, the topic at hand is AUTHENTICITY - WHAT DOES THAT REALLY MEAN?
I am part of an online community that includes creatives trying to build their business and lift each other up. It's such a wonderful group and even though most of the people live abroad, there is a small portion of them living here in Greenville. I have gotten to meet some cool new people and I've learned a bunch about running a small business. One day, someone wrote a post about a client and this person not being her ideal client. She didn't enjoy working with the client because she felt she was too harsh with her kids and she didn't feel comfortable. She wanted to know how to handle the situation and how much she should tell the client. Should she mention that she was uncomfortable working with parents because they're too hard on their kids? How much truth should she reveal to the client? She didn't want to "sugarcoat" her answer because she wanted to be authentic.
I don't want to spend too much of this post defining authentic itself, because 1) I've talked about it before and 2) there are thousands of posts about that right now because it's so popular to discuss. In the effort of supporting my thought here, though, let me just say that for me, authenticity means being exactly who you are as an individual without fear. Letting all of our defects of character shine through, discuss our struggles and adversity, ESPECIALLY when they're not pretty. By doing so, we can find our tribe and be an inspiration to others.
WHAT AUTHENTICITY DOES NOT MEAN
In yoga, we always talk about speaking our truth. This is related to the throat chakra and through having balance in our throat chakra, we are not afraid to speak our truth. We are vocal about our needs and not afraid to ask for help. We USE OUR VOICE TO BE OF SERVICE TO OTHERS. We are honest about our weaknesses and we are truly free of judgment towards ourselves and others.
Being authentic does not mean walking around and saying whatever we want to people without regard to their feelings. Being authentic does not mean speaking every single thing that comes to our mind. As a person who tends to talk way to much, having balance for me is actually learning when to hold my tongue because what I say may not be true or helpful. Not that I purposefully lie, but I talk A LOT and so that means I tend to work through problems by talking about them. That means I sometimes say things that may not actually ring true to me, but because I haven't really worked that out yet, I say it without realizing I don't believe it, if that makes sense. It's an extrovert problem.
In this situation, I would recommend (and I actually did comment and say this) that the creative speak her truth by saying that she wants to move in a different direction with her business, realizing that she enjoys (insert style) of photography versus what she was doing before, children. By being in tune with her feelings, and allowing them to exist, she is hearing her inner voice tell her that she doesn't enjoy working with children in the way she did before and so she'd like to move towards a different goal. What I would not recommend is passing judgment on another by saying that she doesn't like the way someone else is doing something. We're all doing the best we can in the moment we're in and while many times, the best we can just isn't very good, we have to accept that it's not our battle to fight. There's a fine line with that way of thinking and I'm sure I'll write about that another day but every time in my life I have passed judgment on another, I find myself in that situation, eating my words. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I have learned my lesson quite a bit.
I feel strongly that always always always, our issues with others comes from a past situation that needs to be healed and is never about the person or situation at hand. Having that information at hand helps me stop being so judgmental and it helps me to let other people be who and where they are. We are humans, doing the best we can in that moment, coming from all different backgrounds, and while we may be different and we may disagree, we are all on a path moving forward.