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On Being Your Authentic Self

By Amy Nielsen

This week my class focused on teaching students to learn who they are - how to find your personality type and own it.

For example, if you are type A, go for it and know that you might run over a few people, so learn the art of apology. If you are a wallflower, learn the art of letter writing and blogging to make your strong, well thought out opinions heard.

We learned that you will always be at cross purposes with yourself unless you understand what kind of person you are, what makes you tick, and how to use that to your best advantage.

In addition, we learned about being your authentic self. How to know what fuels your drive and what your drive is. What is our passion?

And, are you working within that passion? If not, why not? Do you need to realign? Rediscover your purpose?

I am still working through the last few weeks of school and honing my niche. Some days it feels like I am working above myself by attending community events as an independent practitioner. But, until I learn the, who, where, and how of my community, I won’t know exactly where to fit myself in to reach the most people with my new business.

Some parts of my the next step of my career path are clear, others are still pretty foggy. Taking this time to focus on myself, while I still have the luxury to do so, is important.

As I develop a solid foundation of ideas and convictions, based in facts, I will be better able to tailor my skills to different clients. I have attended numerous community meetings and listened to the needs and wants of many local organizations. I know I can serve many of them in my new business venture.

For example, the schools here have beautiful gardens but no chefs to teach the kids tasty ways to eat those beautiful veggies. Not only am I a chef, and I like to work with kids, but I also know a bunch of chefs who would love to volunteer a day each season to come in and teach. Now I need to figure out how to match the need with the solution.

In other meetings I have repeatedly heard the need than to reverse a current downward trend and stay competitive within our region for diminishing tourist dollars. I have also heard the business community call for more small scale workplace initiatives.

I have developed a business model that can offer those smaller classes and workshops. I can become part of the solution. I have a passion to follow and a concrete base of people I want to work with. I have found my authentic self.

Becoming your authentic self and living your purpose is hard. It takes a lot of thought and work. It means examining every core belief to make sure it resonates within you. It means working on those pieces of baggage we all carry to unpack them and understand what it means to you.

Notice I didn’t say you had to get rid of them, but you do have to acknowledge that you are carrying them and know what’s in them. Because knowing is half the battle and the battle is only with yourself.

What I have also come to understand is that it is ok to have that chapter of your life that you really don’t want to read aloud. That chapter, the one that is perhaps embarrassing, or painful, or uncomfortable is where you can find your greatest strength. Perhaps it was the ability to come back and try again another day. Maybe it was the grace to own and atone for rage. And just maybe it was the courage to hold your head up and say the shortest sentence in the universe, “No.”

For me that means understanding that my experiences in and of the world are overwhelming for a lot of people. I have been to and through a lot of different things. I have been very far up and very far down. I have a vast story.

What I have learned from understanding my story is that everyone else has just as vast a story and that I am genuinely interested in their story. I just have to make them genuinely interested in their story too. Interested enough to hear it again themselves and to be proud of or, at least accepting.

Building your internal strengths and understanding where you stand within yourself gives you the personal space to receive grace and gratitude. It gives you the ability to be truly thankful for your own contributions to the universe. Without knowing that you are really and truly good, and that you really and truly love yourself, you cannot receive the love of another. That’s a big statement.

Whatever it takes to understand your own personal, authentic self is where you need to spend your energy. When you focus on yourself you stoke your own fire until it burns bright enough that it cannot be contained. That is where you find your passion.


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