How can we practice authenticity?

Minerals are the simplest nutrient. Remember the periodic table? Iron, phosphorus, magnesium…ringing any bells?

These are all chemical elements. Each element is made up of atoms. All of the atoms are alike, and as a result, the identity of any element never changes. Take for example iron. Whether it’s in a food, like steak, or in the human body after eating said steak, and even when that iron gets incorporated into a red blood cell, iron will always be iron.

Consider adopting a mineral as your role model– Its identity never changes.

As humans, we are way more complex. Although we too are made up of atoms, it’s not natural to think of ourselves in this way. And it’s certainly not easy to maintain our true identity throughout life. I’m no psychologist, but I’m very interested in the study, so I took to Psychology Today to do a little research on identity. 

Identity gets at the question, “Who are you?”

Who we are represents our values, and our values play a role in the choices we make. While we may think that we choose our own individual identity, much of it is internalized from the culture around us. Growing up, our family members may have played a role in forming who we are today. Our ethnicity, traditions, friends, music, role models and neighborhood are all major influences.

In my opinion, diet culture is a negative influence that forces us to internalize thinness, appearance, and beauty as our highest priority value. It becomes all too easy to lose our true sense of self. So how do we develop a strong identity that can withstand the opposing values we experience throughout life?

How can we practice elemental authenticity? 

1. Discover and Develop One’s Personal Potentials

Personal potentials refer to the things we excel in. In order to find out what that is, a lot of trial-and-error may be involved. I’ll give you an example from my lived experience, showcasing my sister’s creativity. Growing up, the two of us had plenty of opportunity: ballet, dance, tennis, piano, basketball, Polish Saturday school. My sister found one of her potentials in dance. I was recently filled with joy watching a video of her dancing. Sometimes in this dominant culture that values the masculine energy of work, climbing the ladder, marriage, family and financial success, our true potential takes the backseat. But when it’s center stage again, dang, you can see and feel that beauty. 

2. Choose Your Purpose in Life

We’re all put on this earth with a gift. Doing the work to discover this gift, or purpose, is not easy in the society we live in. Our purpose is driven by what we are trying to accomplish in this life. Sometimes that goes hand in hand with financial wealth, other times it does not. How we fulfill our purpose must be compatible with our gifts. When we choose a life that suppresses our capabilities, frustration is inevitable. 

3. Find Opportunities to Implement Purpose and Potential 

It took a long time for me to figure out what my potential and purpose is. I always enjoyed people and knew I wanted to work with them in some capacity. Studying psychology, followed by nutrition, and now working in the disordered eating community, things feel like they’ve come full circle. I feel alive when I am able to help my clients find body love and liberation. I seek out opportunities and immersions offered by inspirational organizations like The Body Positive or Creative Strategies for Change, and my identity and self-worth feels restored. 

This journey is exactly that, a journey, with ups and downs, highs and lows. Identity is ever changing, and we should expect it to change. As we transition from through life, go through different stages of health, or move from one job or state to another, our identities will inevitably change, but our true, authentic self should not. It takes work to keep this intact, but I implore you to make it a priority. When we stay true to ourselves, asking our intuition over our audience for guidance, we provide ourselves the opportunity to flourish. Seeking approval from others is enticing. But that approval can be exhausting, filling us with self-doubt and self-consciousness.

So as tough as it is in this beauty-obsessed world we live in, I encourage you to adopt a mineral as your role model. Like the mineral, try your best to stay true to your identity, to your authentic self. And please, feed it, because I promise you, without the nourishment your body needs, you can’t possibly thrive in the way you’re meant to. 

Journal Prompt:

-What activities do I love? How do I like to create? What fuels my soul and makes me feel good and alive?
-Money and success aside, what impact would you like to have in this world?
-What opportunities do you have in your community to showcase your gift? Who can you connect with?

I invite you to carve out a little time for yourself to reflect on these questions. Can you take action on them? Let me know by joining my private Facebook community!