An Authenticity Mantra and Why We Need One

Once again I’ve found myself listening to Brene Brown, a truly inspirational speaker. The teaching of hers that I am exploring this week is the importance of being authentic. It has inspired me to adopt her authenticity mantra:

“Don’t shrink. Don’t puff up.
Just stand your sacred ground.”


For my image creation this week I have been experimenting with simple shapes and textures. This piece uses a texture I created while lino-printing, and a crack texture that I drew by hand.

What Brene found, through extensive research, was that ‘fitting in’ is the primary barrier to belonging. True belonging, she claims, only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world. She says fitting in is all about assessing a situation and acclimating to it. When our goal is to fit in, and it fails, the resulting emotion is shame. When our goal is to be genuine – our authentic selves – and it doesn’t go well, the result can be disappointment, confusion, perhaps sadness or another emotion, but it is not shame because our self worth is not on the line.

True belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world.

Being authentic allows us to connect deeply with people, particularly those that share the same values and desires as us. It liberates us from the pressure of trying to be perfect or what other people want us to be. We can act consciously in line with our core values and beliefs without being swayed by the forces and influences around us.
The spiritual leader Pema Chodron makes an important point about the authentic self:

“The point is that our true nature is not some ideal that we have to live up to. It’s who we are right now, and that’s what we can make friends with and celebrate”

Pema Chodron

There is an exceptionally good recording of Brene Brown speaking on this topic (and more) on Audible. The recording is called The Power of Vulnerability: Teachings of Authenticity, Connection, and Courage and is made by Sounds True. I highly recommend it, and if you are not already a member of Audible you can sign up and get this recording for free.
So remember: “Don’t shrink. Don’t puff up. Just stand your sacred ground.”
Why not make this your mantra too?

The Power of Vulnerability: Teachings of Authenticity, Connection, and Courage by Brene Brown

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