The Importance of Showing Up as Your Authentic Self

The Importance of Showing Up as Your Authentic Self by Melinda Van Fleet #TheWellnessUniverse #WUVIP #WUWorldChanger #ShowingUp #Authentic

Melinda, you are too put together; people are intimidated by you.

I remember so clearly the day my grandma said that to me. I was in my early 30’s and struggling at work. I was struggling at work, and I didn’t know why. My grandma seemed to “know” things. She predicted that I would marry my husband, Ryan. She said to me very early on in our dating, you are “two peas in a pod, and you will marry him.” I know she was right about my husband, possibly about my appearance as well.

The fascinating thing about my grandma saying this to me as she was very well “put together” too. My great grandma and my mother were also always “put together.” I grew up around “put together” women. You didn’t leave the house without a nice outfit on, a nice “hairdo”, makeup, nails, and of course, jewelry! Can’t forget the jewelry! That is how I was raised. I didn’t know any different.

I am very blessed to have known my great grandma. She passed away from cancer my Junior year in High School. My grandma and I were close, as well. She passed away from dementia five years ago. I miss them a lot. I know they are with me. My younger sister, Debra, is also put together. My great-grandma, grandma, and mom have all influenced how I choose to show up and I imagine my sister as well.

I had done a lot of thinking about what she said. Does this mean I need to dress down? Not do my makeup or nails? Wear old tattered clothes? No jewelry? What does that mean? How did I even do that? Why? How does that make me feel?

I decided to remain true to how I put myself together, and how I feel. It makes me feel good to get put together, and that’s what matters to me. Doesn’t that mean I am authentic? 

What does authentic-self mean?

“Your authentic self is who you truly are as a person, regardless of your occupation, regardless of the influence of others, it is an honest representation of you. To be authentic means not caring what others think about you. To be authentic is to be true to yourself through your thoughts, words, and actions.”– Imagine Health Website, 2017

The above is someone’s definition. You can pick it apart from any which way you like. I am sure you can add to it or delete from it, because frankly, it is subjective. I take from it, “an honest representation of you, not caring what others think.” It took a long time to get to this place, and it’s still never 100%, but it’s a daily intention.

The statement about being put together came up recently when I had a psychic reading from Deborah Graham. She didn’t know me from Adam, but early on, my reading said, “You are well put together, have integrity, and people either love you or hate you.” Hmm, almost 20 years after my grandma said this to me, it’s still true, and I am OK with that.

How are you showing up?

I was recently on a discussion panel for a Women’s Conference Virtual Summit, and that was the topic. This topic is wide open from so many points of view and angles:

  • Appearance
  • Kindness and Love
  • Energy
  • Positivity
  • Value, Sharing, and Generosity
  • Gratitude

I just listed those six traits off the top of my head. Only one is about an outward look. So why do we place so much value on appearance? Why are people so judgmental? Why are we so critical of ourselves? Some of us even hide behind our judgment. I don’t think I can answer that. Can you?

I created a post yesterday for IG and FB. It was to share podcasts I had recorded about creating content and having the confidence to push publish. I had posted some selfies I took. One was horrible, but it made me laugh because it was so funny. I decided to post the horrible photo to demonstrate confidence.

To be transparent, I started posting on social media in 2019. I am way behind the majority of people and have had to push through a lot of discomfort to post. I used to view social media as a waste of time, narcissistic, and voyeuristic. I had to shift my mindset. So, in my post, my intention was to share, what I always say, “If I can do it, you can do it too.”

What becomes fascinating is the ugliest photo received the most comments. As you know, comments on social media can often be misinterpreted, but still all the same, it’s a fascinating experiment that only gives me more content to share.

When my husband and I were looking to move to South Florida, I had never been here but, somehow over the years, I had heard about Boca Raton. Boca Raton is a beautiful part of South Florida. I wish I could remember how, but I had a perception that women were always dressed to the nines (“put together”) even to go to the grocery store.

I recall chatting with my first sales manager about moving to South Florida and we were discussing locations. I said, “I don’t think I want to move to Boca because I would have to get dressed up to go to the grocery store.”He lived in Boca and laughed, “You are right.”

Did I have that judgment and perception about a place to live because of how I was raised? Or was it because of what my grandma said to me? Was that negative? Or did it make me more grounded and aware of my choices and how it made me feel?

We ended up landing in The Florida Keys. If you have been to The Florida Keys, you know you don’t have to get dressed up at all, ever. It’s an interesting place to live, but I have adapted to the mix and am grateful for it. The balance brings me peace and makes getting dressed up more fun when I decide to dress up, and on days I don’t, it saves me time getting ready in the morning. I have learned that I like saving time.

I would dare to say no one likes to intimidate people. 

The word intimidate is a bit loaded and not the best vibe. But I don’t feel I should change how I look or show up to make others feel more comfortable. It’s my choice, and I feel good showing up looking “put together.”

Looking back, I had a sense of pride when all four generations were together. There comes a point where you have to be authentic for who you are and realize that if something triggers someone else, that’s on them to recognize and understand how they feel. In the meantime, when I feel like getting “put together,” I am going to show up as that part of my authentic self and rock it!

Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we are supposed to be and showing up as who we are.

– Brene Brown

How are you showing up?

– Melinda

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