What Authenticity Means To Patsy
Why does authenticity matter to you?
Authenticity, to me, means being true to oneself, making a stand for what you believe in, being accepting of oneself and others, having the ability to express your emotions, possessing an openness for learning and growing, and actively expressing what makes you, you, with the world.
It matters because, if you’re not in integrity with yourself, that striving to show the world who we think we ought to be, only leads to exhaustion, burnout, and dis-ease over time. Knowing oneself and owning our own greatness not only leaves us feeling satisfied and fulfilled from within, but naturally attracts others to us and invites others to be more of themselves too.
In the months leading up to my dad’s passing, I was re-introduced to the book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying written by a hospice nurse named Bronnie Ware. In it, she asks patients on their deathbeds, a time where they can perhaps most clearly see the value of life, about their greatest regrets. The number one regret: “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
Ouf. Does that resonate, or what? Being true to ourselves requires courage to define our own version of success and pursue it. In the last few months, I’ve come to refine that version of success for myself, and now, I’m literally mustering up the courage to take aligned action toward that vision. Why is it so challenging to just go for it, if we know deep down that living out our truth will lead to ultimate fulfillment? Because in doing so, we risk being judged by others, disappointing others, and not being accepted for who we truly are. But the truth of it is when we’re living congruently with our beliefs and values and expressing our true essence, that’s the key to life.
Was there a defining moment in your life that cemented the meaning of authenticity for you?
When I graduated from college and took my first job in a corporate setting, I had this innate knowing that I wasn’t meant to be there longterm. I couldn’t pinpoint why, but I was pretty quickly overwhelmed by the thought and feeling, “there has got to be more to life than this.” That role, while beneficial for learning, was not a position or environment designed for me to fully express myself. At the time, I had very little knowledge of what my essence was —what actually made me, me. I was living for others, for their expectations, and, let me tell you, I was damn good at it. It wasn’t until I started uncovering my own truth through attending a series of experiential workshops, seminars, and retreats, then working with a life coach, that I started to finally uncover my truth, the things I valued, and the value I bring to the world. That initial feeling, “there’s got to be more to life than this,” propelled me on a decade-plus-long quest to uncover the truth of who I am. That awareness of self will forever continue to become more clear as I shed layer after layer of projections and expectations from others; a perpetual finetuning of self. And, that knowledge continues to drive my actions as I refine my definition of success and build a life around it.
Influencer/brand you follow that takes authenticity to a whole new level?
I really love and admire Amy Young. I’ve mentioned her here before, but she is someone I admire for showing up consistently and authentically as herself. If you check her out on Instagram her handle is @amyyoungco, and her bio reads: “Teaching women to give less fucks and get more love.”
I also really love and admire Morgan Harper Nichols (MHN). Talk about building a brand that is a reflection of who she is! She started writing and illustrating love notes to herself during a time when she needed encouragement most, and one day posted one of them to her Pinterest board. Weeks later, she re-logged in and the post had gone viral. Today, she takes submissions of real people’s stories and creates art and prose in response to those! Not only is her content incredibly inspiring, but she as a human is incredibly authentic and inspiring. Find her on Instagram @morganharpernichols.