Be Real, Be Authentic, Be You
Welcome back or welcome if you are joining me for the first time to the Morning Cup of Sunshine podcast. I am so happy that you are here with me today to continue our journey towards self awareness, self improvement. I am so humbled by your love and support. This podcast is my dream project. It is extremely close to my heart and I share a piece of it with you every week. This week, we are going to discuss a life goal which seems small and easy but if you look closely, it is the hardest task for most of us. We all are so stuck in the norms that our parents, family, society told us since childhood that we assume these are our beliefs, our nature and totally forget who we really are, what we really want. This is what we are going to discuss today. This week’s goal is how to be real, be authentic, be you. But first, happy moment of the week!
Happy Moment of the Week
I am sure you must have thought, why do I include this segment in each episode? What is the significance of it? Let me tell you, as always as per my style, in bullet points. There are two reasons why I always start my episode with a happy moment of the week. Reason number 1 is I want to start my episode on a positive note, always, no exception. I know, these days, there are a lot of difficult, negative things going on around us. I am aware of it and it does affect me. But I want this space to be a totally positive space. I want you to be happy and worry free, even if it is for a few minutes of your day. But I want you to feel positive, amazing after listening to my podcast. Reason number 2, this is a habit. Ever since I started writing my happy moments in my journal every day, it gave me a completely different perspective to look at the small things. I now look at the small and somewhat insignificant moment intentionally, I try to find joy in unexpected situations. I am loving this feeling. It made me incredibly grateful for the simple things in my life and I absolutely want this to happen to you too. There is joy in everything if you try to look for it and that is the reason I share this happy moment of the week, week after week. I hope you like this segment. Okay, I am in a chatty mood today, looks like it is going to be another two part episode. Anyway, let me share my happy moment for this week. Few days back, I received a call from one of my close friends. She mentioned that she started journaling after listening to one of my episodes. She said she is loving it. Of course that made me happy but what she said further was just plain amazing. She said that along with her few friends, she started a group. They are around 15 friends. Each one of them writes a journal everyday. Simple two prompt journal and at the end of the week, they do a video call to discuss their happy moments and dreams. They even came up with a couple of more prompts to add to their journals. All 15 of them are loving this journaling. I am so amazed after listening to their initiative. So a huge shout out to all of them for pursuing something consistently and motivating others to do so. This was definitely my happy moment of the week. I am sure, I am going to cherish this forever and ever.
What about you my friend? How was your week? What fun thing did you do this week? Was there anything special that you like to remember and cherish? I would absolutely love to hear from you. Please join my facebook group - Morning Cup of Sunshine community. It is free and you can share all your thoughts and journey there.
Alright, it is time to start working on this week’s goal. Be Real, be authentic, be you. Do you know what inspired me to create this episode? Julia Roberts is one of my absolute favorite actresses. I love to watch her movies, I love how she becomes that character herself. I watched most of her movies but one of my favorites is Runaway Bride. There is a scene in that movie. Throughout the movie, Richard Gere interviews Julia Roberts' former fiancés. These are men that she left at the altar on their wedding day. He asked one surprising question during these interviews. It was how Maggie liked her eggs cooked. The men would always respond with, “Scrambled, just like me” or “Poached, just like me.” In every situation, Maggie liked her eggs just like her partner did. Later in the movie, during a fight, Richard Gere confronts Julia Robert about this. She says, “This is called changing your mind” Richard Gere replies calmly, “No, this is called not having your own mind” It is absolutely brilliant how it depicts easily what so many of us go through our entire life, without even realizing that we are living someone else’s life. We pass through our day to day life without realizing our true self. We either live to please someone or please our higher self. Today, I want you to break these boundaries and be free in your own mind. Today, I want you to stop pursuing some fancy idea of perfection and be real, be authentic , just be you. After listening to this episode, I want you to trust that you were born to be real and not to be perfect, trust that you are here to be you and not live someone else’s life. So Let’s start discussing the steps to become the real , the authentic you. Shall we?
Step 1: Know Yourself
This is the most important thing that you need to do irrespective of which life goal you are working on. Let me tell you a story. I might have mentioned this in one of my previous episodes, that I grew up in a small town of Western India. I think it was the summer break of the 10th standard. I was done with my high school and about to enter in the vast world of college. It was the time when all personality development type tuitions were in boom. I had a long vacation, almost for 4 months before I had to start my college. I, along with some of my close friends, we decided to join this personality development class. I am not sure why it was called Personality Development class. But the teacher was amazing. He taught us so many different aspects of life. We worked on a project,where we interviewed a lot of working women from all different economic backgrounds. We had field trips to government hospitals, libraries to see their work. But one of the most memorable exercises that we did in that class was a 3 part series to know yourself. First part was to write about what you like about yourself. Second was to write about what you don’t like about yourself and lastly write what you are going to do to change yourself to overcome your shortcomings. There was no limit on how much you can write. There was no judgment. I still have that notebook with me. He encouraged us to write in detail, the more detailed the better. Those few pages in my notebook were my first encounter with myself. I clearly remember so many lines from those write-ups till date. This is such a powerful way to know yourself. Try it sometime. It is not that simple. You sometimes have no idea about your likes and dislikes, your small quirks, your beliefs, your strengths and weaknesses. But this exercise will help you understand yourself better. First Connect with yourself. Listen to your thoughts. Notice where your mind wanders when you are sitting in quiet. I have an idea for you. Spend at least the first and last half an hour of the day without electronics and be intentional. Try and connect with yourself. Know your beliefs, your values. Ask yourself what are my priorities in life? What are my values? What I truly love? What makes me happy? What makes me angry? What are my non-negotiable values? As I always say, write it down. It is for you, no one's asking you to share that with anyone. But be real, write down everything, every small detail about you. Let that be your guiding pole. Awareness is always the first step towards improvement. Be aware about yourself. Just be real, trust me, it’s not that complicated.
Step 2 : Accept the way you are.
Every single person in this world is unique. Every single person has its own strengths and weaknesses. But if you keep on comparing yourself with someone else, you will spend your entire life living their life. Accept the way you are with all your imperfections, with all your quirks. To be truly authentic, follow your own path. When you're people-pleasing, you're not being yourself, you're being what you think you "should be." There was a phase in my life, where it was extremely hard for me to accept the way I was. I was always a working professional before I had my son. I started working in a big corporate job right out of the college. After having my son, I was on maternity leave. I was planning to go back to work after 3 months. But life had some different plans. My dad passed away suddenly. I was already struggling being a new mom. Losing my dad was just a big trauma. On top of that, we moved to the US leaving all my family, support system behind. I had no job, no family to talk to. I was dealing with a lot of emotions, tons of weight on me, low self worth, extreme confusion with how I want to parent my kid. A career girl is now just a mother. I was lost, confused, scared. Everyone was expecting me to be happy to be at home with my son. I used to get tons of advice on how I should focus on him and enjoy this stay at home life. I am not by any means saying that staying with your kids is bad. But I was not enjoying that fully. I was struggling to accept the new reality, I was struggling to tell what is that bothering me. We as a society puts moms in very tight norms. I wanted to be a good mother, and wanted to spend time with my kid. But I also wanted to have my own identity. But the only thing I was hearing is how selfish it is. It was a tough time. I was happy and playful from the outside but I was losing myself from inside. It took me a lot of self reflection and reading to accept that I am not a bad mom for wanting to work. I have to work hard to accept that I love brain stimulation. It is my necessity to have my own time to be a better mom. It is okay to be a mom who loves to work. It is okay to be a mom who works because she loves to work. It is okay not to convince your perspective to everybody around you. But it took a lot of work, a lot of looking inward. Finally it took a lot of courage to accept the way I am and being okay with that. Acceptance has to come before you start making a change. I slowly started accepting myself with my flaws, my weight, my self worth, my new reality, my real me.
Being authentic means being the person you really want to be. That means letting go of anyone else's opinion of you, or their ideas about what you should be doing with your life.
I know you are nodding in your mind. This is a very common situation. I know, there are so many of us who struggle to accept the way they are. It is not only about accepting the way you look. It is also about accepting how you feel. It is okay if you feel the urge to work after having a baby or it is also okay if you want to leave your job to be with your baby. It is you who has to accept what you want. It is okay to love cooking and all about home making but it is also okay not to love cooking and homemaking. Just because you are a mom or a wife does not mean you have to check all the checkboxes of being a perfect mom or wife. You do you. You be you. Be who you are and accept what you feel. It is not being bad at something, it is being real and it is 100% better to be real than fake perfect.
Step 3 : Love yourself
Do I even need to stress this even more? I have two full episodes dedicated to this topic. If you have not listened to it, please listen to those episodes, Self Love part 1 and two, episode number 9 and 10. I will put the links to those episodes in the show notes for you.Self Love is the backbone of each and every goal we discuss here. If you don’t love yourself you can not truly love anyone else. Once you know yourself and start accepting the way you are, the next step is to love yourself the way you are. Love how you look. Love how you feel, love how you are. You have to acknowledge and honor your feelings. Always, always remember, loving yourself does not mean you are being selfish. There are small things that you can do to cultivate love for yourself. As I mentioned in my previous episode, just stand in front of the mirror in the morning, and say two adjectives to yourself. Choose those adjectives yourself, choose the ones that you need to hear. Say it out loud. Say you are beautiful, strong, focussed, content. Whatever you want to say but say it out loud consistently. Another thing that you can do to cultivate love for yourself is to dedicate at least 30 minutes to yourself every single day. Those are your 30 minutes, work on your hobby, workout or take a nap , your choice but spend at least 30 minutes for yourself everyday without a miss. Do something that you absolutely love. If you love to cook, try different dishes. If you love gardening, spend 30 minutes working on your garden. If you love to read, pick a book and read it for at least 30 minutes. Do something that makes your soul, your mind happy. You can not pour from an empty cup so fill your cup with love, care and happiness. It is not difficult, just keep it simple, keep it honest , keep it real.
Step 4 : Be Honest.
Now, you know yourself, you have accepted and love the way you are, it is time to let the world know the real you. Let me tell you my own story. My mom passed away when I was really young. I was a carefree and quiet outspoken girl till then but after my mom passed away, I slowly started feeling awkward to tell my needs to others except to my dad of course. I was still the same for him. But when we used to visit our relatives, sometimes my aunt or uncle used to ask me what I would like to eat or have as a gift. I was not able to tell what I would like to eat or have. I always used to say anything is fine. As I mentioned earlier in this episode, it was like having no mind of my own. It was my own family and they loved me dearly, ideally I should not have any problem telling my likes and dislikes but I was not feeling free enough to tell those honestly. Next time, you say I am okay with anything, pause for a moment and try to be honest with yourself. Are you just saying this to please people, or not to hurt somebody or just want yourself to mould into someone else’s opinion of you. Always speak how you feel, and never feel sorry for being real. You might not be able to say right things all the time, but you are not here to be perfect but to be real.
There is another aspect to this as well. Sometime, you get inspired by someone you look up to someone and then knowingly or unknowingly you start behaving like that person. You forget your own values, your personality, your dreams and start living their life. This is called imposter syndrome. You always need to have an open dialog between adaptive self and authentic self. Before I started this podcast, I used to listen to a lot of podcasts in all different genres. Every podcaster has their own personality. Some podcasters come from a place of authority, expertise. I really loved some of them. When I started my podcast, I realized very quickly, I can not fall into this imposter syndrome. Even though I am inspired by these podcasters, that is not my personality. I don't want to talk as if I am an expert or a Guru. What I want to be is a best friend, a virtual best friend. I want to talk from a place of compassion. I want to be vulnerable. I want to be extremely honest about my experiences, my struggles and my wins, because this is who I am. I am still work in progress. I am still working tirelessly on myself. I have no shame accepting my mistakes. I might not be a big podcaster with millions of followers and I am definitely not perfect but I am honest, I am authentic, I am genuine and I am 100% real. I will always be real on your face and behind your back.
It is very important to be honest in all your interactions. You don’t need to be rude to put forward your opinion. You need to develop the courage to face your fears and consequences of being honest. If you start putting a different face or personality for social engagements, you will slowly lose your own persona. You are unique, beautiful and amazing in your own way. You don’t need someone else’s approval for that. There is nothing more beautiful than an authentic you. You can be honest about your thoughts, your opinions and still be authentic. As we all have heard millions of times, honesty is the best policy. Have you heard this quote, “Find the courage to be authentic. Not everyone will like you but no one can if they don’t get a chance to know you”
On this note, let’s recap this episode. In this episode, Be Real, Be Authentic , Be You, we talked about how it is absolutely necessary to be real. We discussed how to make it our mission to be authentic instead of being perfect. The steps we discussed in this episode were
Step 1 : Know yourself
Step 2 : Accept yourself
Step 3 : Love yourself
Step 4 : Be honest
The action items that we planned on working are.
Write down three things , what you like about yourself, what you don’t like about yourself, and how you will work on your shortcomings.
Not to use electronics first and last half an hour of the day and connect with yourself intentionally.
I can not stress this more, spend at least 30 minutes for yourself, on your passion, your hobby.
Trust me, this goal looks simple but it is the stepping stone for so many dreams.Being real should not even be a task but somehow we made it so difficult that now we have to work on it deliberately. Today let’s start working on it together. Let’s be unique, be true, be honest, be humble, be happy, be genuine, be real, be authentic, be you.