February 10th, 2014
Trying to be authentic in this world can be hard. We feel pressured to conform…even by such simple questions as “How are you doing today?” – which we often answer with a pasted on smile and the word “Fine”. Some of us work in jobs we hate, fearful of what it would mean, what people would think, and how we would get by, if we changed careers. People in their 40′s and 50′s realize that they have much they still want to do, contemplate making changes, but don’t make them because they’re fearful that they will be seen as going through a “mid-life crisis” – a patronizing, and simplistic concept. Others are fearful to express their sexuality whether it is a same-sex attraction or a BDSM desire. And some present themselves as a gender that they know they really aren’t. Of course, the list goes on; I’m sure you could add your own ways in which you feel coerced into “fitting in.”
The pressures are extreme, subtle, and persistent. There are so many messages we get, keeping us from making changes, living life the way we want, and exposing our true selves. Sometimes, the force is so strong that we have no idea what our real desires, emotions, and feelings actually are.
So as Ralph Waldo Emerson says, it is quite an accomplishment when we are authentic. It takes courage to live this way. We might lose friends, we risk being judged. But the pay off, while never clear what it will look like and when it will arrive, can be enormously satisfying.
If you are looking for a counselor or therapist in Dupont Circle, Washington, DC, feel free to contact Michael Giordano, LICSW at 202-460-6384 or Mike.Giordano.MSW@gmail.com.