It’s a really pretty word, isn’t it? Can’t really place why I think so, maybe it’s the successive “I”s next to each other. The dots above them stand out like mini bhindis to me! Also, the meaning of the word really does bring me a lot of joy. What does authenticity mean to me exactly? I think it means being 100% and unapologetically you. And it took me about 25 years to get anywhere close to this. I spent so much time as a kid and a teenager thinking I should be like someone else. I wished I was taller, slimmer, smarter, prettier, more flexible, had a better voice and generally had more confidence. I was always chasing some phantom of a person. And it’s not a very nice mindset to have. The idea of not liking yourself. Wanting to be someone or something else. It took me forever to notice the disservice I was doing to myself. And I was disappointed in myself because it was as though I had no gratitude for this life, this body, for myself as a whole person.

I dropped it. I stopped chasing those ghosts and decided to focus on the gem right in front of me. That’s when things started to change. I started to look at myself as a new person. It was like seeing myself for the first time! And this didn’t happen overnight mind you. It was a series of dedicated and consistent reminders which led this to eventually become a habit. Celebrating and appreciating myself. The authentic me. The healthy body I was after? I had it. I even started admiring myself in the mirror. I accepted things about myself which were not “perfect” – like as if I ever needed to be! I spent more quality time with me and hey, I gotta tell you, I was pretty amazing company! Hahaha! “If you make friends with yourself, you will never be alone” – Maxwel Maltz. It is so true, and so important. As reductionistic as this might sound, the only guaranteed constant in your life is you. People and opportunities will come and go, the only companion who will be with you through every single one of those adventures and challenges is You. So, you’ve gotta start giving that relationship some care and attention. Once I started doing this, that confidence I was chasing? I had it. It had somehow found it’s way into my pocket.

So, the question to ask yourself from here on out is not, “why does she have that and I don’t?” but rather what makes me myself? This is such an amazing exercise and I urge you to do it. Aim to make a list of at least 15 ways you could define yourself. Don’t be shy to throw in as many compliments as you can and if there are disadvantageous qualities, note them down. But this is an exercise to celebrate yourself, not to shame yourself.

I guarantee that the unique combination of items you have on that list is unprecedented. No one has the same set of qualities, good or bad, that you have. And that is your superpower. Same is boring. Different is tantalising. And the best way to be different? Be you. All of it. With the perks and the quirks. Unapologetically. Wholeheartedly. And mind you, there is a difference between being authentic and being rebellious. Rebellion, like comparison, is still a cage. When you are being your true self, it should feel liberating. Then you know you’re doing it right. Like I said before, this is not something which happens overnight, spend the time ruminating and asking yourself about the real you. Yea I basically mean talking to yourself.

“Of course I talk to myself, sometimes I need expert advice.”