So I just took a major leap out of my comfort zone…
I auditioned for my church’s (Hillsong London) worship team.
I would love to tell you that I was amazing and made it onto the team, but that is not the case. In my audition, I got sooo nervous, my heart starting beating so fast, and I was so pitchty that even I told them, I’m not ready yet.
They weird thing was, even though I didn’t get the outcome I wanted, I left feeling really happy.
The only reason I could be happy was because I know that I put myself out there. I tried something that I had been to scared to do, for far too long.
Honestly, I feel incredible. Which made me think, what would happen if I did more things that scared me? What if I stopped playing small and actually went for what my heart desires? What would my life look like if I lived my authentic self?
Eleanor Roosevelt famously said ‘Do one thing everyday that scares you’.
Could it be that she knew something we have not grasped yet?
When I started to really ponder this thought I came up with two more questions
What does it mean to be your authentic self?
How does doing something that scares you every day help you achieve that authentic self?
What does it mean to be your authentic self?
For so long, I have been living afraid and scared of showing who I really am. So for a long time, I was trying to be a people pleaser. That actually did not serve me, it wasn’t good for my soul and the people I was trying to please (like my mother), were never pleased!
Being your authentic self to me means being who you were created to be. I’m a christian and I truly believe that God put talent and gifts in each of us for a reason. I believe that we were all created with a unique spark that once we ignite and start using, it will allow us to individually shine and society will benefit as a result of that.
But here’s the catch, you can’t shine your light if you are too busy comparing yourself to someone else or worse trying to be something that you are not.
Below are 3 things you can do which can help you be your authentic self.
1. Stop comparing yourself to others
his is the biggest step you can take to being you. In our instagram world, you don’t really see the struggles people are facing. You only really see their highlight reels. Once you stop to actually talk to people and hear their story, you see that they are just as flawed as you, with struggles and obstacles to overcome.
One of the reasons we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with other people’s highlight reel
2. Let your light shine
Jesus said, “Let your light shine before others” (Matthew 5:16a). He explained that no one lights a lamp just to hide it under a basket. A lamp is meant to be placed on a stand to give light to everything around it. Whether you’re timid or outgoing, you’re called to be a light to the people around you. That’s only possible if you’re taking time to interact with people and cultivate relationships.
3. Be counter-culture
I don’t know about you but I feel like the world is on it’s head (to quote stranger things, ‘we are in the upside down’).
Every generation since the 60s had a counter-culture of their own. The 60s wanted to bring more depth, tolerance, freedom and community. The 2010s are pretty much about the shallowness of human existence.
It’s very much a self-centered attention seeking “Me-first” hedonistic culture. Don’t get me wrong, I’m part of this culture, I really love instagram! But I feel like the motto nowadays is “If we can’t be satisfied: “Let’s pretend we’re happy and our life is awesome” which is fueled by social medias, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter.
And this disconnect between how we think life should be and what it is the reason depression has never been as high.
From YOLO to FOMO.
It’s all about seeking attention for the wrong reasons. So now you can be an entitled bitch and famous for it (the catch me outside girl springs to mind).
Once again, I feel like I should add that I really like technology and I like social media but let’s try to be more authentic in our interactions. Let’s not focus on having 5,000 instagram followers if we don’t have 5 real life friends.
Let’s not just follow the trend of looking a certain way or acting a certain way to get the affection of people. If you really want to be yourself, you sometimes need to do things that go against the trend. It might be against the trend but it will be good for your soul!
My new philosophy is if 8 out of 10 people are doing something just because that’s what they think will make them popular, I’m going to be one of the two people out of 10 that does something different.
I don’t want to be sheep, I want to be a lioness!
How does doing something each day that scares you help you be your authentic self?
I read this book a while ago called ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’. Well, when I say read, I read the front cover because really, that’s all I needed to know.
According to U.S. News & World Report, when you overcome a fear, the amygdala, a part of the brain responsible for fear responses, remains dormant.
Margaret J. King, PhD, director at The Center for Cultural Studies and Analysis, where she leads a think-tank that studies human behavior in cultural context, explains more on the topic.
She tells Elite Daily,
Fear-facing releases powerful adrenaline and other hormone-based chemistry in the brain and body. Facing fears (like public speaking) creates this natural high and can therefore become addictive. It’s the fear effect that happens on a roller coaster, or other simulated risk-taking ride; there is a reason this capsule encounter draws fans who ride again and again. For most of us, once or twice every decade is enough. We face down the discomfort of the thrill in order to benefit from its aftermath, which is a sizable release of endorphins.
However, Huffington Post Australia laid out an even more detailed map of exactly what’s happening to your brain as you face your fears.
Dr. Muireann Irish, a senior research officer at Neuroscience Research Australia, explained,
A structure located deep in the brain called the hypothalamus sends something akin to a ‘distress signal’ to the autonomic nervous system and provides the catalyst to a cascade of physiological event.
Plus, according to Irish, both your heart rate and blood pressure increase, your pupils dilate, your muscles tense, the blood vessels constrict, and your immune system is suppressed to preserve energy for vital functions.
Your body is amazing!
These changes in the body happen so that, overall, you’re better able to run, jump, and even see more adequately. Also the brain becomes sharpened and alert because it is ready to lunge into a position of defence at any moment.
A Final Thought
So the main reason you should do something that scares you every day is because it literally changes your mental and physical state, which results in your personal growth.
When you are busy doing something that benefits your life, it becomes a thrill and your energy levels rise and that encourages you to be braver and take bold steps, which leads to you not caring as much about what other people think, which results in your personal growth!
You are here on this planet for a reason and a purpose. I hope that by you doing something that scares you each day, you will start to live out that purpose!