Do you struggle to be yourself?

How to tap into authenticity

I have a happy dance. It was invented in an IU dorm room with  my friend, Sally, when  I was 19. I use it to celebrate occasions of all kinds: great news, good news, not-so-bad news, when my client hits a goal, when I hit a goal, etc. It’s really not for public consumption and looks awkward and silly. Sort of like this. . .

 

Usually my happy dance is reserved for a select few: my husband, good friends, a former boss or two, someone who needs a good laugh. Last week I did it in front of a room full of 50 women at a workshop on happiness. It was compared to Elaine’s fancy moves up above and the room clapped for me. I blushed a little.

Several women came up to me afterward and told me that they LOVED it and a few even busted their own moves later that day. Truth is, I love sharing my happy dance with others because it usually causes a few giggles and creates a connection with others. One of my top values is joy so I love sharing it with others through my energy, word choices, and actions. It inspires others to let loose a little bit.

And sometimes it brings out someone else’s defensiveness. They seem to judge me and direct frustration my way. That, or my dancing is so bad it offended them. Either way, not my problem.

What is authenticity?

I once read an article online where a gentleman said he was experimenting with authenticity by saying whatever thoughts came into his head, including telling his kids’ babysitter that he’d consider marrying her if his wife ever passed away.

So gross.

Authenticity isn’t sharing whatever is on your mind. If you pay attention to the chatter in your head, it says lots of crazy things: I’m not good enough for this job. I’m too good for this company. No one will ever love me. Don’t they know I don’t really know what I’m doing? I’m too old. I’m too young.

There’s also a voice inside that has deep wisdom: It’s time for me to choose a different career path; this work culture isn’t for me any longer. I didn’t show up as my best self to that meeting. I want to be brave enough to say what I really think and feel.

I think of authenticity as being able to tap into the deep wisdom that ONLY you have about yourself. It emerges when your head, heart, and intuition are in alignment.

Too often we spend too much time just thinking with our head, or just feeling with our heart, or just hoping to hear that intuitive voice. Powerful authenticity emerges when you use all three impactful ways of thinking together.

My hunch is that the gentleman mentioned above wouldn’t have been rattling off his latest thought if he was being authentic, because the heart knows not to be so crude with another human being.

When our processing power is off balance, we will be too.

There are so many things in modern culture that we allow to take us away from authenticity:

  • Too much social media and t.v.
  • An addiction of any kind
  • Drama and gossip
  • Analysis paralysis
  • Non-stop action
  • Giving our boss too much power over our career
  • Using stereotypes to cloud our judgment
  • Not exercising
  • Not being still and not listening to ourselves and others (true listening develops connections between people; it’s not one voice talking at another)

When we’re tapping into who we are, a powerful presence emerges and we become a beacon to guide others to their authenticity. Marianne Williamson has famously said,

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. . . .We are all meant to shine, as children do. . . . And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Today I invite you to think about how you hide who you really are from others. You also might not already know yourself very well. I’d love to be able to help you with either of these.

When I got done with my 4-second happy dance I realized in that moment that that specific happy dance was no longer mine. It’s time to create a new one. Because I was truly being me, that deep wisdom emerged that it was time for a change. So I’ve got some work to do!

In the meantime I’d love to know from you: Do you have a happy dance? (Here’s a hint: it might be your dance you do in the mirror when you’re favorite song comes on.) I’ll show you mine if you show me yours!

Who am I kidding? I’ll just show you mine!