Be Authentic! My article in Womans Way Magazine
Huge thanks to Woman’s Way Magazine for granting me my first paid writer’s commission!
This is my published article which tells you why I am passionate about encouraging people to ………
“Have you ever told someone you love to ‘just be yourself’? Maybe you were trying to help an adult or a child to be at ease in a situation they were anxious about, like starting a new school or job.
When I was growing up, there were times when I wished someone could have handed an instruction book on ‘How to be Yourself’! Looking back, I realise it had a lot to do with understanding the world around me and getting to grips with how I could play my part, with an optimistic outlook.
But for many years I didn’t have this insight, I was plodding along, ignoring signs that all was not well. Eventually stress, anxiety and tension led to distress and emotional turmoil. I was forced to stop and examine how I had ended up in this situation. I call it my moment of ‘Break True’, it is also the title of one of my subsequent paintings.
The year was 1999. I left a teaching career in the countryside and headed to the city to find employment that would allow me the space and time to change my ways. I have never regretted this decision.
It was a time when access to online information was not as apparent and our society was still coy about addressing self-care and mental health awareness. The idea of someone ‘following their dreams’ would have seemed ‘whimsical’ to many. I quietly got on with my studies in the arts and at the same time developed a curiosity in the area of healing.
Here I was finally, discovering the instruction book I craved as a teenager. I call it my ‘Authentic Path’ and for my current work as a visual artist, writer and reflexology therapist, I use the tag-line ‘Inspiring your Authentic Path’ as my goal.
I want to share with you what being authentic means to me and why I believe it’s important for our wellbeing and happiness. I used to be full of anxiety, lacking in assertiveness, with unhelpful negative beliefs. I was no stranger to mental anguish and physical pain from time to time. I was spending my valuable energy hiding my true nature and gifts from everyone, including myself.
Finding my purpose had a huge part to play in my recovery from this ‘lack-lustre’ way of living. I sought out the best teachers, mentors, holistic therapists and business professionals to help me on my way. I discovered that putting my heart and soul into what truly ignites my spirit, led me to feeling stronger in myself. I was more motivated and willing to learn.
Over time, my physical pain was eliminated completely, I worked on developing a more positive attitude, suspending judgement and letting go of tension. I took courses to help me to become more assertive and to learn how to deal better with conflict. I moved my body through yoga and dance and I learned how to practice self-care and healing.
Overall I became more grounded, confident and capable, not because I faked it, but because I spent time acquiring knowledge in the topics that are essential to my work. When you learn from sources that can trace their origins more assuredly this too leads to a more authenticity in all you do.
In recent years the word ‘authentic’ has become a buzz word, as marketing and sales professionals realise that customers respond better to something that has a more ‘authentic’ feel about it. It’s nothing new, but when a thing is repeated over and over, we tend to pay less attention. That’s why I believe it is more important to inspire authenticity by our presence and actions.
Every person has something very special and unique to offer to the world. By being more present and exhibiting the best of ourselves we can have a very positive effect on others. Give yourself a moment to think about this in relation to your own life.
Today is the best day to make a start on your ‘Authentic Path’. We are all capable of learning and adjusting. Nobody can tell you who is the real you, that part is yours to discover more fully but you can seek inspiration and support on that journey.
I am aware that self-expression can be dangerous in some situations where people are bound by rules of their society or cultural beliefs. It takes courage to ‘Break True’. There are people far more courageous and inspiring than me but I do what I can in this moment in time and if one person can be inspired by my actions then that’s a fantastic result.
Thanks again to Woman’s Way Magazine for this opportunity!
© Caroline Cunningham
Author, Visual Artist, Authentic Reflexology Therapist
Inspiring your Authentic Path
Caroline provides ‘Authentic Reflexology’ therapy in Carlow & Dublin (Ireland) & in Algarve (Portugal) – Visit Authentic Reflexology
Caroline offers art work inspired by nature and her local landscape – Simple Guide to Caroline’s Art Shop