Am I being true to myself in my thoughts and actions? My inner voice may have been slightly inconsistent lately. It has gentleness and clarity but also doubts and impatience. Is it okay to feel this way?
A couple of years ago, I figured out what lights my fire, and I chased it. Writing puts me into a state of trance, figuratively speaking. I get high on it. Like an addict, I aim to do it every day and if I don’t, it gets to me. Not every day is great, though. I can spend hours sometimes writing just a couple of lines. At times, the blank page stays blank, and that’s fine because it is balanced out by the better days when I am in the flow. These days are the best, I feel on top of the world, sitting in my little writing studio, in beautiful Auckland, New Zealand.
What does this have to do with being authentic one might ask?
I’m following my passion, isn’t that enough to qualify as being authentic? Part of it is, I guess because it takes courage to follow your dreams and throw yourself into the unknown. Being authentic is also having the courage to share your fears and by sharing, I mean releasing. Gosh, where do I start?
What author ever held a copy of their book not hoping it would touch the lives of its readers? Most do, right? Otherwise, what’s the point? Self-fulfillment is important but appreciation and gratefulness keep us going. What happens then when reality doesn’t always meet our expectations?
The truth is, when you are new to the world of writing and publishing, you learn fast. Things never seem to go according to plan. You learn to be rejected over and over again. You learn to take on ‘constructive feedback’, even if it is hard to swallow sometimes. Feedback is a wonderful thing when it’s positive. Feedback is an extraordinary thing when it’s constructive, a step without which one cannot grow. Let’s be honest though, sometimes it is hard not to take it personally. It’s like you’ve just given birth to the most beautiful baby in your world’s eyes, and someone tells you that their mouth is not as perfect as it could be.
What I keep telling myself is that growth can exist only in acceptance. Accept feedback, review (good and bad), and move on. Be grateful for the feedback you receive at any point in your creative journey. It keeps us going and growing. One of my favorite quotes is by Robert Allen, “There is no failure, only feedback.” I cannot stress this enough; in life, there will be disappointments, setbacks, and frustration. It’s part of the game but we still don’t see enough of that. Social media is ludicrous at portraying a false reality in which success is all that matters. Fake is the new trend and a lot of people seem to be in style. Is this my point of reference? Is ‘faking it’ what I want my kids or myself to strive for?
The answer is NO.
I want my kids to understand that I love what I do, despite the setbacks.
I want them to see me sad and disappointed when, for the third time in a row, I didn’t get the grant I applied for.
I want them to be proud to see their mum sell books at the local markets and do readings at the local schools and libraries.
I want them to always remember how I felt the day I held my book for the first time. I was proud but seeing their pride made it all so much more worth it. I’m still teary thinking about it.
I want them to believe that anything is possible and that it is normal to ask for help.
I want them to value the support I get from the wonderful friends that I have; those who have asked me endless questions and equally so, those who have questioned me.
I want them to create a life that feels good on the inside, not one that just looks good on the outside.
I want them to follow their passion, to live a true, authentic life.
So, to go back to my definition of authenticity, I’d say that it is something that you are rather than something that you have. It’s about having the courage to disclose your fears, to be vulnerable, and to be honest with how you feel and where you stand. It’s about fine-tuning the alignment between your beliefs and your life mission. Above all it is about making your soul visible, opening your heart, and being grateful for the wounds that have made you grow.
Authenticity is a central theme of Born to be me, my second children's picture book, coming out at the end of October. This charming story celebrates differences and uniqueness, empowering all children to embrace who they are. It’s also inviting children to reflect on the power of change and be open to new opportunities. The book is about diversity, love and kindness. I cannot wait to share this new adventure with you.
Be brave, be kind, and be ‘truer than you’!
(c) Bardelli Books 2020 - Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.