How do you celebrate your sense of “you?”

Stephanie coordinates volunteers, marketing efforts and operations for The Healing Center in Walker's Point.

As promised last week, I’d like to continue the discussion on Psychology Today’s article about what it means to be an “authentic” person.

How much do you rely on others? It’s important to be independent, but quite difficult to completely distance ourselves from the cultural, social and legal ties that bind us to society. The key to this concept is really about balance. For example, in my own life, I am pleased to help and receive feedback from others, as long as it does not take away from my own happiness and deter me from reaching my goals.

I also think it’s important to remember that we are not things, constructed for one purpose. We are human beings, composed of many parts that allow us to think, feel, grow and create change. For instance, a teacher is not just a teacher. He is also a multitude of other roles: a parent, a church-goer, a runner and a traveler, who prefers pears to oranges, red to blue and coffee to tea. True authenticity does not negate the fact that one’s “building blocks” may be similar to others’, but that these blocks are stacked in a different order, comprised of diverse colors and are chosen based on that individual’s unique likes and dislikes.

It is important to take a stand for what you believe in and hold on to your principles. Although, as the article points out, it’s not necessary to “…fight every battle to the death…” it is imperative that you uphold your dignity by defending the values that you find most important.

To foster my own individuality, I must choose a path that allows my self-confidence to shine and feel comfortable learning from my mistakes. I can increase my confidence by practicing self-acceptance during the hard times and moving on, instead of turning inwards and consistently berating myself.

As with anything in life, true authenticity may seem easy for some and more difficult for others. For most though, including myself, I believe it’s really a daily process that grows stronger over time. When faced with an open mind and heart, we can begin to strengthen our unique selves and learn to thrive as individuals amongst the world around us.

The Healing Center provides counseling, group therapy and other support services to adult survivors of sexual violence. All of our services are free, as we believe that everyone, regardless of inability to pay, has a right to heal from abuse. To learn more about our services, please visit our website

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