How can we differentiate between liberation and authenticity?
This morning, I was listening to a chat on YouTube, where someone joked about liberation as being ''taking your top off and running around the room''. Yes, you could call this liberated behaviour, but is it authentic to your preferred experience? I have wanted to further explore the discussion on my blog, two blogs ago, where I talked about differentiating between experiences that we are fearful of - or have resistance to, and those that we intuit are not for our highest good. This can be applied to the smaller decisions in life as well as the bigger ones. Our lives and ourselves are an amalgam of our many everyday decisions and experiences, so these are equally important to our being in authenticity.
I'm pretty good at authenticity, but maybe not as comfortable with liberation, but I realise that what I'm wanting is the freedom to be authentic, not liberation for its own sake. This is something we can all have - we don't have to earn the right to freedom, we just have to choose to act in authenticity. This doesn't mean that we take it in expense of the rights or feelings of others. We can continue to care about how people feel but choose not to focus as much on their judgements of us. It is okay for others to feel judgment, as this is part of their learning process. Choosing authenticity regardless of their judgements, is part of ours.
Connecting with new friends who are on the conscious path, here on the island, has led to interesting opportunities to choose authenticity, as people are exploring a variety of health and wellness lifestyles. Within my family and friendship group, there are vegetarians, vegans, pescatarians, and carnivores. I prefer to eat intuitively, according to my needs in the moment. It feels really good to make choices that are authentic to me rather than being swayed by others' choices. For example, while others are ordering their turmeric lattes, I might say, ''I'm ready for my afternoon coffee''. On another day, I will order the turmeric latte, and someone else will have the coffee. Or, I will have the cake and they will have the salad, or visa versa.
In a previous blog, I mentioned taking part in a women's drumming circle, and being the only one dancing around the fire. This felt authentic to me in the moment. On the weekend, I was with a group of friends at a house concert on the island. I was probably the only one of our group who didn't dance. Because I had socialised a lot through the week, I was operating more as my introverted self than my extroverted self. Although I enjoyed chatting and moving to the music, I didn't feel like being on display in front of the larger group. Nobody even seemed to notice. When we are confident in acting in authenticity without apology, others tend to respect our choices.
Authenticity can be applied in response to expectations from others. Last year, I was with a group of women, sharing our life experiences. One-by-one, all the women in the room rose to comfort a woman who had lost her adult son, giving her long hugs. Although I was being ushered to take my turn in hugging her, as someone who is not a literal mother, it didn't feel authentic to me in that moment. It was almost as if something was holding me in my chair. She walked over to me and held my hand for a moment. Later, she told me that what she felt from me was the purest empathy that she had experienced, perhaps because I expressed it from a place of authenticity rather than because it was expected.
Although there are some people who will not perceive a lack of authenticity in a person, most will sense it on some level. When interacting with others - without deliberately hurting them - honesty is the most direct avenue to emotionally connecting and bonding with others. Expressing our truth and having appropriate boundaries demonstrates self-love and allows us to avoid resentment. We may think that merging our preferences with theirs will create closeness, but instead, in this process, we forfeit aspects of ourselves. When we resent ourselves for our lack of boundaries and self-love, we tend to project this resentment onto others, causing separation.
In every situation, we should be checking in with ourselves. ''What are my needs is this moment?''
''What do I truly desire?"
''Do I want peace / rest / nourishment / comfort / connection / purpose / change / novelty?''
To be fully authentic - and liberated, we must allow ourselves to consider whether there is the option to stay in alignment with our needs and desires, and in doing so, we can consider the impact our alignment might have on others. While we reflect, we might also consider whether we are responsible for others' responses to our choices, for their expectations, or for their triggers. Perhaps it is part of our role to prompt them to think in a different way, even if this feels uncomfortable at first. We made soul contracts with each other to help each other grow. The more authentic we allow ourselves to be, the more space we allow for others to live in their authenticity, and this is a birthright for all of us.
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