According to legend, an awestruck admirer looked at Michelangelo’s finished statue of David and asked him how he had done it. To which Michelangelo replied: “David was always there in the marble. I just took away everything that was not David.”
I have heard this before, but when I re-read it recently, it struck me very deeply. I began to look inward and apply this to myself. I can truly say that I have begun to work on all that is ‘not Corinne’. In the past, my definition of myself was really hazy, but now I see who I am much more clearly and am working on chipping away all the unnecessary stuff.
I believe our journey towards being ourselves is a journey towards being real – towards being authentic. I found that the best way was to consciously identify the values that are most important to me.
“The thing that is really hard and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.” ~ Anna Quindlen
I always recall the story of the little boy who came home from school with a pencil that wasn’t his. His father lectured him on the evils of stealing and then proceeded to say, “Son, the next time you want a new pencil let me know, I’ll get one from the office.” I often ask myself: Does my behavior reflect my values?
The Real Me
Finding a way to express our feelings about a situation or a behavior that causes us pain is also part of being authentic. I try to remember the distinction between being real and being right. My feelings about a situation or someone’s behavior are based on my perceptions and they may not always be right. However, I cannot pretend that I don’t have these feelings. So I try to find a way of sharing them in a way that is real. (Read more about this in Mike Robbin’s article, here).
The strange thing is sometimes people find it hard to accept the ‘real’ me. I find that people have a certain notion of who I am, and when I don’t live up to this, they are often disappointed. I wrote about this experience a while back – ‘Being Too Nice Is Not Nice’. Now, I’d rather be real than nice. I also found that learning to say ‘no’ was a very important step in being authentic.
I have realized an important truth: you might disappoint people, but your desire to be authentic must outweigh your fear of being unpopular.
There are areas in my life that I am still struggling to be authentic in. Like Michelangelo, I need to be able to consistently focus on the inside and keep chipping away at all that is not ‘me’.
Friday Reflections is a link up hosted by Shalini at KohlEyed Me ( presently on a break) and me, Corinne at Everyday Gyaan. We invite you to join us every Friday to share a good cup of tea and your reflections based on the prompts we provide. S
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Prompts for 13 April 2018
- What do you reveal about yourself to a stranger on a plane?
- “The thing that is really hard and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.” ~ Anna Quindlen
- Image prompt (via Corinne Rodrigues)