Instead of trying to fill others’ expectations of what you should do and be, simply being your authentic self sounds so liberating doesn’t it? Authenticity is definitely a popular topic in the self-improvement genre. Just Google “being authentic” and up come pages and pages of sources for how to be it, from “Psychology Today,” to Zen, to the CEO of Arby’s.
Once a world class people-pleaser who performed whatever role I thought was needed to be accepted, to be liked or alas, to get a man. I’m finding my way to being more of my truer self in more areas of my life. But it has taken a long while. Since childhood, in fact.
My little German grandma was my sole caregiver until I was four years old. She was loving and affectionate but she had very strong beliefs about right and wrong. I heard this often: “If a thing is worth doing at all, it is worth doing right.” Translation: You must do it perfectly. Being perfect and doing perfectly…always impossible…is a performance issue that still comes up for me now and then, to process and shift.
At granny’s when I didn’t cooperate, my angry and frustrated grandma would say: “Patty Sue, don’t be so contrary!” What I let in was: I am not loveable when I say “No” or when I show my anger. It’s not safe to be Me. So I automatically suppressed my desires in favor of others’ wishes, and shoved my anger down. For many years, people mainly thought of me as being “so sweet.” Neither they, nor I, knew of all the anger I was harboring.
Grandma’s beliefs and attitudes became my own and they were stored deep in my subconscious. They helped form how I perceived myself and what I must do and be in the world in order to survive. I, the performer was born.
Beliefs I adopted about how to survive as a female, and how a female is valued, first came from my mother after I moved into her and her new husband’s house in Burbank when I was four. It was all about being attractive to men.
In the 1920s, my mother had moved from Missouri to Southern California to get into the movies. Silent movies, that is. Photos she kept in a cardboard box included one of her in a lineup of plump, satin-sashed bathing beauties doing a left leg kick – Rockettes style – taken at Venice beach. That photo box also held numerous copies of a head-shot taken by a professional photographer she’d hired.
As it turned out, my Mom’s claim to fame from this period (which she related many times) was once having been an extra in a Douglas Fairbanks movie and a few dates with Grant Cooper, a prominent L.A. trial lawyer and man about town. She also knew a casting director at Warner Brother’s studio in Burbank. She took me to meet him soon after my arrival in Burbank. That was a traumatic experience that I vividly recall.
Shirley Temple was 12 years old at the time and Hollywood was looking for a new child star. My mother was hoping little curly-haired me would fill the bill. The problem was that I was so uncomfortable and shy I couldn’t speak when that casting director asked me questions. I just squirmed on his leather couch. But when he asked if I wanted to be in the movies I shook my head and said “Uh-uh,” and that was that.
My mother’s unspoken message was: Your value as a girl (woman, female) depends on your looks and youth. Those twisted and life-changing beliefs joined the others I stowed away in my subconscious.
First from my mother and then from my peers, came messages that grew louder as I got older: You must get a boyfriend (husband, man) to support you and to prove you are loveable. You need to be attractive and sexy enough to get his attention and then be what he wants you to be until he marries you. Then you perform wifely duties by having his kids, being his housekeeper and substitute-mother. In return, he will perform his head-of-the-house duties as provider and protector. That was the ideal arrangement. The reality was usually quite different.
Religions, advertising and the media supported those commonly held beliefs that defined women’s and men’s roles back in those days. They still do and some people still abide by them. It is simply a personal choice to do so, neither right nor wrong. But I’ve made new choices and I’ve incorporated new beliefs and attitudes, thoughts and feelings, which allow me more freedom to be myself.
More and more over the years I’ve been focusing on being present as my truer self. More authentic. I set my own boundaries now, based upon what enhances my life with more fun, comfort, ease and beauty.
This ongoing process of authenticity has evolved lately to a newer version which is short and to the point: Show up. Shut up. Receive. Celebrate.
Here’s what that means to me:
SHOW UP: Bringing myself consciously present in the moment, paying attention to my thoughts and feelings as they arise, and inhaling and exhaling to draw my energies into my physical self.
SHUT UP: Silencing the inner voices of the judge, critic, blamer, victim, etc. Silencing the stories and explanations about what happened, or what might happen if… Silencing the “conversations” in my head – conversations I had, or imagined ones I might have. Also saying the words “personal peace” helps me to feel it.
RECEIVE: Sensing myself in the “between” and opening my consciousness to receiving from the multidimensional realms of wisdom – trusting that what I need to know will be there when I need to know it – and being receptive as it flows to me.
CELEBRATE: I celebrate “All That Is” – including the spiritual being I am as an inseparable part of the divine whole – with joy and love and gratitude and freedom. My celebration is a sacred ritual honoring God/Goddess/All-That-Is.
As I repeat this process throughout the day, its positive impact is profound. Being present and authentic, I can consciously create the reality I want.
© 2017 by Patty Paul. All rights reserved. For information about Patty Paul, her books and YouTube videos, please visit her web site: www.23brightfuture.wix.com/patty-paul