I recently heard a quote that said, “Be the best at being you!” That says it all, doesn’t it?

I love this line, because it’s the best bar to set for ourselves. It doesn’t include false media standards or what other people expect. Best of all, it usurps our own default or desire to compare ourselves with others and puts the emphasis and lens back on yours truly, YOURSELF.

For many of us this isn’t easy, but it’s the most healing, uplifting, and authentic thing we can do. Everything else is just a copy, fabrication, or lie.

The other day my daughter told me she wanted us to speak with her teacher. To note, she has been raving about him since the first day of school. Lately however, she had not been feeling as happy in class as she usually does, because she felt her teacher was expecting her to produce results that weren’t possible for her – yet.

Notice the word ‘yet’? She didn’t say she didn’t want to do it or would never do it – she just wasn’t at that point ‘yet’.

Because her teacher is a warm, friendly, and approachable person, it was easy to bring this up with him. In our brief meeting, my daughter candidly said that she feels he is comparing her results to some of her peers who are further along in particular subject matters than she is. While the focus was on her not matching their results, he wasn’t seeing her actual strengths or all that she was accomplishing or knew!

She went on to say that she doesn’t learn in the same way as those particular students. She added that if the comparison was to continue, she would never be able to feel good about her own style or progress. Most of all, it would never be enough.

In that instance, the teacher, who is exceptionally conscious and open-minded, replied saying that my daughter had made an insightful observation. He agreed that he’d be aware going forward to not make such comparisons and to be more supportive of her learning process.

How amazing is that? This is a student keen on honouring her own learning process and a teacher who is willing to support it! This is the basis of authentic learning and living, which eventually becomes one’s authentic leadership.

I personally know how profound this observation and communication exchange was, because I saw it unfold right before my eyes. Since that time my daughter has been, once again, happy as a clam to go to school and participate in class as best she can.

Early in life, many children unfortunately learn to forgo their own natural instincts, desires, and actions to please and meet the expectations of parents, teachers, and other authorities. This is the sad beginning of conditioning and not being real about their true selves.

As teenagers and young adults they build on that weak foundation, until one day they eventually wake up feeling depressed or disconnected from their true nature, values, and power.

Some people ignore this and push onward, but for many this caveat stops them in their tracks. Living without authenticity can be more painful than the energy and effort it takes to make change.

As people become aware that there is a difference between what is authentic and what is conditioned, they can begin the meaningful process of releasing those superficial layers and gradually reveal their real and authentic self.

The great news is authenticity is part of us, as true as our very own fingerprint. We may have temporarily lost “touch” with it, but it can never be lost forever. It’s who we are.

Recently I hosted another Women’s Urban Retreat Day. The nature of these gatherings is multi-fold. It’s an opportunity to provide a convenient, local, and affordable environment for women that is uplifting and rejuvenating. While simultaneously learning new wellness and self-care insights and tools, they meet like-minded people in their community and develop new friendships.

During these events, a common theme usually surfaces. Many women realize to what degree they had forgotten to meet their own needs, interests, and care for themselves, at the expense of caring about and for those around them.

Of course, this is not to say they do not want to care for and nurture their family and friends. They just come to recognize that if it’s not in balance with their own wants and needs – then it is not healthy or authentic.

So what do we do about this? Well, like in all situations, awareness is the first step. With that information we can make change. Old patterns can be hard to break, so be easy on yourself and take one step at a time. Speaking of steps, when you are not sure about how you authentically feel, think, or want to take action in a particular situation, an amazing way to surface truth and clarity is through movement, like going for a walk, stretching, or free dancing.

Movement connects us with the uniqueness of our own body patterns, breath, emotional flow, and mental thoughts in a very present and visceral way. There is nothing more worthwhile or beautiful than that.

To you and your best authentic self,