Being Authentic is Who You Are

Being authentic is who I am and try to be. Years ago, my friend Debra and I both loved working in Children’s Church. We had so much fun playing with the children and creating fun games and activities. We were like kids ourselves. Debra and I enjoyed life. Our supervisor often got after Debra and me saying we were acting unprofessional. She said we were too boisterous and needed to tone down our mannerisms. I had over 70 volunteers under me. There were so many women that I was reaching out to. One husband even said to me “When we had first moved to our community, my wife and I had recently lost a baby; you reaching out to her had made all the difference.”

This has actually been a very consistent in my life. I have never really fit perfectly into the societal norms of etiquette and the typical professional behavior. I’ve always been accused of being “too loud” and “pretty out there”. I’ve been reprimanded for being unprofessional when I was really just trying to connect with people. After so many years of being told I need to change who I was, I would start internalizing it. It started building up inside and it became a cluttered closet in my heart. I started to feel like I wasn’t enough and that the only way I could be accepted or successful was to conform to the expectations and demands that others made on me. This lead to me feeling very self-conscious and my inability to change depressed me.

“The turning point came with the friendship I made with the woman who had lost a child. Her husband had told me about the impact I had made in her life. I hadn’t changed who I was for that relationship. I was just as talkative, loud, and outspoken as ever. I am a very relational person and love to build friendships. And the act of just being myself brought life and happiness into someone else’s life. I began to realize that the very things that made me unique; the attributes that were citizen, were exactly what other people needed.”