Raise your hands if you ever catch yourself wishing you were more outgoing, charismatic, bold…or anything else? My hand has been up before I started editing, so maybe that makes the two or more of us. Why is it that we find it hard to fit into these roles that we secretly want to occupy in social settings? It all comes down to authenticity! What has authenticity got to do with this? I will say.

It is not that you and I do not have enough authenticity to see us through these social instances where we wish we were more of these things we secretly desire. In fact, it may be that what it requires to fit into these roles at those times might have required us to invalidate a part of us that we hold sacred. Perhaps, we may have tried to fit into these roles in over zealous ways before and ended up hurting our personalities or getting embarrassed because we did not quite get the response we expected.

We all have people around us who embody these social attributes that we all wish we had, and, we often wonder how they are able to pull off these attributes successfully at all times. So why not us? Are they born naturally with these attributes? Are we doomed to never be able to fit into these socially rewarding roles? These are all questions that we secretly hold inside. The other side of these thoughts is that we also look inside and find that there were times when we fitted into these roles successfully and comfortably. So what made it easy for us to effortlessly pull off these stunts?

The school of self opines that in order for people to find meaning and live a more fulfilling life, they have to fully embrace their authentic self. This is not a cheap feat. What makes it even harder to be authentic, to say exactly what we say and mean just that, is the rise of the cancel culture. We all have that one time that we said something that was taken out of context and we ended up getting crucified for it even when there was no substance to the claims of harm intended. We also have that one time that we did something well-intended that was misinterpreted to mean something else, and nothing we said or did could change the people’s perception and interpretation of our actions. Seeing that the cancel culture often precedes bullying or mop actions, we have grown extremely conscious by modifying what we say and how we act, especially when in a space where there is a lot of diversity going on.

The quest to always do right and not be seen as controversial or opinionated is the reason why we are unable to fully occupy those roles that we secretly aspire to fulfil. Being right all the time requires a lot of self-denial which could masquerade as modesty. What then must we do to achieve the authenticity that allows us to take up sufficient self enough to allow us be our truest self in most of life’s social settings? Self-ownership!

Self-ownership is identifying with the person we truly are in the places where people cannot see unless we express it, then normalizing being that person, getting comfortable with being that person, and becoming confident with introducing that person to the people we come across in life, with all amount of humility.

It starts with being honest to ourselves about who we are, and the values that are important to us. The person we find ourselves to be may make us uncomfortable, especially if it interferes with the values we think we hold dear. But self-ownership requires that we take responsibility for who we chose to be, and to stand for the values that form the pillars of who we chose to be. It requires that while being convinced about the pillars of our personalities, we also remain open-minded to entertain other people’s views and respect those views even when it is opposite to ours. It also requires that even though we do not argue or aggressively oppose other people’s representation of themselves, we are firm enough to hold onto our own representation of ourselves even though that may make other people uncomfortable. It remains that if we are able to tell ourselves our (ugly)truths, and accept the nicks in our roots, then we can become comfortable with people not immediately or ever coming to terms with our choice of self.

The reward for self-ownership is finding a circle of people who are enlightened enough to be their true self and also maintain utmost respect for the kind of self other people chose to be. This means that when surrounded by these kinds of people, we do not have a hard time fitting into those roles that we desire to occupy because we will be expressing our own versions of these social attributes. Let’s take the social attribute of being charismatic for example; when we own ourselves and actions, and are surrounded by people who own themselves and respect other people as they are, we do not need to lick foot in order to be liked. We do not have to overcompensate in any way and pay for it with our peace of mind. We do not have to fit in. We do not get bullied or allow ourselves to be bullied off our choices.

Self-ownership is to be authentic, and authenticity sustains self-ownership. There likely isn’t one without the other. Remember, to thine own self, be true!

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