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written by Andreea Motoc
You know those topics that are new and catchy, that get to be so used that they become so clichee? Topics for which you feel sad they got to that point because they actually have such depth and meaning? Phrases like "beautiful people" or "better version of yourself"?
Lately I see this happening with some of my dearest subjects, ones that have such a true meaning and power: "authenticity" and "self awareness". Sometimes these phrases are used in a way that become wordings only, somehow detached from the person using them. And somehow, these wordings that get to be valuable only when they are one with the person, are transformed into something that cares a heavy weight, a visible burden that you can actually touch it.
Maybe it’s the social pressure that makes us say and do things that alienate us from who we truly are, maybe it’s about wanting to fit in or something else.
I remember my own struggle with fitting in, I've been a "pleaser" since I remember. I impersonated this part of me later, in personal development activities, as the figure of a clown always trying to smile no matter the state of being and always trying to make others do the same, as if any other state except happiness and joy is not accepted.
I've always been the compliant child, taking good grades and becoming a scholarship student. I was the type of student who was liked by teachers and when it seemed like there was one for whom I was not the favorite, I worked hard in becoming one. Like in my first day of school, when the teacher popped the question "Does anyone know how to read?" and then two hands were up in the air. I will never forget the feeling that absorbed me when the teacher praised my two colleagues who read perfectly from a storytelling book. I will never forget the night of crying despite my mother's efforts of encouraging me and the efforts that followed for me to catch up and receive the praise as well. Still very present to me is how I felt later in elementary school, when we were split for the English class in two groups with different teachers, and even if there was no test for delimitation, I was not chosen to be in the group that everyone knew it's the elite group, with an outstanding teacher. All the efforts that followed in that year was to transfer and when I finally made it, the feeling of inadequacy and under prepared dominated for a while. I invested a lot of time to study and the only moment I calmed down was when I received the validation from my teacher. The burden of not being good enough made me ask for tutoring hours and only when the teacher told to my mother I don't need it, hence the validation I wanted, only then the pressure started to loosen up.
I look back to these and to many other moments of search to define myself from what others say and I get to better understand the burden I felt and how it only alienated me from myself. It's weird in a way, because in all my self-discovery, values based experiences, authenticity was always on my top 3, sometimes with a different wording. I hat a breakthrough that I was actually far from being authentic when I met some extraordinary people who felt so natural and at ease with themselves, that I got to see the discrepancy and better noticing myself. Still an external stimulus. I later explored in coaching sessions & therapy session and they got me closer to myself and to actually reflect from within.
It still saddens me to notice the efforts us people make to create an outside image for the public and to see the heavy weight we place on our shoulders when in the end, self awareness and authenticity start with acceptance of who we are.
I dream of that world when we stop the pressure of displaying a specific image and enjoy who we are and are curious to discover the path of who can become. Growth comes naturally when we are willing to look within and to get ready to work with ourselves on a constant evolutionary path. This is when the true awareness and authenticity shall emerge.