Don’t Deny Your Authentic Nature
For years a cat named Scratch lived with me. He passed away last fall, but the memory of his hunting prowess remains. Each summer he spent his days hunting rabbit. Come to think of it, we should have named him Elmer Fudd!
He preferred baby rabbits – not just catching them, but bringing them home and making a feast of them on our front porch. It took him awhile, but he ate the entire thing, leaving nothing but a small bloodstain on the concrete. The first time I saw him carrying one home, I freaked out and made him drop it. I held him while the shell-shocked bunny escaped. I couldn’t help it, the bunny was crying!
My response was a gut reaction to save a defenseless creature, but later as my cat howled by the front door, I realized I’d made a mistake. He caught the bunny fair and square and I robbed him of the full experience. It isn’t right, I thought, to deny him his right to be a cat. He doesn’t filter his instincts to live by our rules. He didn’t question if it was okay; he did what cats do.
I know we aren’t as base as animals, but I find it interesting that humans don’t follow their instincts or recognize their needs as well as animals do. Instead, most people smother their authenticity and deny their need to be fully real for fear of being rejected. And the worst part is we secretly tell ourselves that we have to in order to get what we want.
What does it look like when we’re denying our authentic nature?
- When we’re embarrassed about our needs or don’t accept who we really are. We try to hide that by covering up, pretending things don’t matter, or that we can “get by” without. When’s the last time you said, “It’s okay…I’m fine.” And you really weren’t? We deny our authentic nature when we don’t honor where we are with honesty and bravery.
- We condition ourselves to hide behind a false self that we believe is more socially acceptable. We do whatever it takes to earn approval rather than what pleases us most. When our greatest fear is looking dumb, we’re not being true to our self. Everyone faces rejection, but altering our looks, actions or beliefs to avoid rejection is denying our true self.
- We force ourselves to behave emotionally to prove we’re capable and strong. We put on a brave face when we really feel like crying. Feeling weak and vulnerable are natural aspects of human existence, yet we act like robots when it comes to difficult emotions, hiding our pain and suffering.
- We suppress our dreams and desires, believing we’re not good enough to make them a reality. We don’t believe in the value or necessity of our gifts and so we keep them a secret from others and sometimes from ourselves.
- We subordinate our desires to other people’s needs, thinking they’re more important. We put them first and ourselves last. We believe we can convince people to like us or stay with us if we give them what they want, even when it hurts us. We push away care and support from others, and then feel resentful when it’s absent.
Everyone disowns their authentic nature to some extent, because most of us don’t accept our entire being, needs and all. We feel embarrassed by our human frailty and the reality of differences. We tend to seek approval from external sources rather than look within. If I approve my authentic self, then I don’t need to hide anything. I can freely express my emotions, my likes and dislikes, my physical condition and my needs.
Can you recognize when you’re denying your authenticity and pretending everything is okay. Take a close look at the areas of your life where you seem to be struggling or when you feel like things aren’t fair. What could you give yourself to make things better? To call your authentic self forward?
Permission? A Pep Talk? Freedom? A Break? Acceptance? Support? Love?
Living authentically takes practice and a lot of awareness. You need to catch yourself when you’re suppressing your true nature. Be honest with yourself always. Start to watch yourself from the inside out. Build confidence with putting yourself first and putting yourself out there. Ask yourself often, how does this feel? And don’t ignore the answer!
Taking care of yourself gives you the ability to take care of others. It’s easier to recognize and honor others’ needs when you’re practicing on yourself first. Self-denial isn’t really a noble trait. In fact, self-denial is a living suicide.
Being authentic requires us to allow our differences to shine. There will always be people who don’t fully understand you, but I would bet you don’t understand everyone either. The people who accept and appreciate you are your people. It may take a little while to find them, but you will, if you commit to express your authenticity. If you deny your authentic nature, you’ll only attract people to a fake version of you – those are not your people anyway and they won’t stay for long.
I can tell you from experience that you can never be happy as long as you’re denying your authentic self. You will always feel like something is missing – and that something is YOU.
Shine on my friends!
In Life and Love,