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Finding the Space to Be You

There is so much attention these days, so much talk around the topic of authenticity. I understand the need, I even see how the ways in which it is talked about makes sense, I can see the appeal, the benefit. It brings me to look at the way in which this concept of 'authenticity', of being yourself regardless of the context, has changed through time. To be yourself, to be authentic

was never easy for most of us. After all, for me being 'yourself' seems a privilege, one that comes with trust and feelings of safety even if it means you differ from others. I know few people that experienced that within the context of their childhood, within the context of their race, gender, social and financial realities.

For most of us, being 'yourself', was not a possibility. In fact, it wasn't only that being 'yourself' could be seen as defiance and treated as such, but it was also almost impossible to know exactly what being 'yourself' was, given that we had such little examples of it in our life. Being yourself is a state of being, felt and carved out of your own experience and yes defiance. It is an interesting world that caters conformity, uniformity and punishes diversity. For some of us, being 'yourself' led to rejection, alienation and in way too many cases violence. The stories that keep systems in place rely on a consensus, a collective social contract of unity and false apparent cohesion. Anything that challenges that frail structure will be rejected, scorned and in some way made to feel blame and shame for being different, for being 'yourself'.

Families are a great example of the micro-systems holding the arbitrary but unifying stories passed down through generations. Our families were the first ones to create that alliance, uniformity and consensus that kept 'yourself' out of reach much of the time. Most of us experienced first hand the shame/blame/guilt that held the stories of belonging together and some of us lived the loneliness and the fear of what it meant to be yourself.

These experiences have an impact as they shaped the neural pathways that guide our understanding of our identities, our sense of belonging, safety, feelings of worthiness throughout our life. Fortunately at some points during our life, we may come in contact with opportunities to see ourselves in a different way. To see ourselves through other's eyes, through their compassion, through the sense of belonging offered by self-made communities, by the recognition of our unique skills, of our own innate or curated gifts, thorough the curative effects of plant medicine and many, many more that mirror back a semblance of acceptance, belonging and hope in being who we are, just as we are.

So wherever you are in this process, I humbly invite you to say yes to Yourself, to get curious about what it means to be you, to flounder and thrive, to grieve and to rejoice in the full spectrum of your unique experience of You. Your unique self inspires me to be my own self and in this way we learn and grow in the experience of Being, just as we are.


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