A few years ago during one of my therapy sessions; yes, I had one of those heart to heart discussions, my therapist, me and what seemed to be insurmountable problems. As I began to relate some of my innermost fears, the therapist looked at me and without blinking an eye said, “Mike, be authentic.” What? I thought in the most defensible indignation, “I am authentic, what on earth do you mean by be authentic?” She calmly smiled in a manner of acknowledging the pain I was obviously feeling and repeated, “Yes, be authentic, authentic to who you are and the life you want to live. Be authentic without excuses.”
As I stopped and considered what she meant, it occurred to me that most of my life was based wholly on what other people thought and how they would react if they knew the truth, the whole truth of who I am. In my family circle I was always the good son, the successful one, the smart one, the oldest of all my siblings, the example which others should follow along with a myriad of other isms that had come to define what others thought of me and yet, not for a minute was it ever authentically me. She was right and not because I was wrong but because I had failed to acknowledge the beauty of who I really was.
I know there are a lot of teens, tweens, and adults alike facing difficult decisions based on telling someone you sincerely care about something they may not want to hear. If there’s one thing you need to know more than anything else is that you’re not alone. There are many of us out there that have faced the same dilemma time and time again. It’s never easy as anything worthwhile is not without some element of risk. Stop for a moment, look in a mirror, and say to yourself – “I am a worthwhile person who deserves to be heard for who I am. The real me, the authentic me.” As the final point of the video stresses REMEMBER – “You owe no apology for being yourself.” Don’t ever let anyone make you think otherwise, that’s their problem, not yours.