As I stood by my vendor table at a conference last year, a pretty young lady came up to me and we started chatting. She was telling me and others around us how she didn't like fake people. She voiced her frustration that everyone these days was "fake”, and no one was "real". She went on and on about how life would be so much better if everyone would just show up as who they really are and not this "phony social media person".
This is a conversation I have a lot with people who haven't actually heard my message about Authentic, Not Perfect. They assume that I want to bash the fakes and the phonies. They assume that I am on a mission to stop people from being anything other than how "The Good Lord Made Them."
I don't stop people from assuming they know what my platform or stance is. I much rather prefer to allow them to tell me what their perspective is, and then offer them another way to look at it. I allow others to have their say first and I offer my take on things. But I digress.
This young lady was going full steam ahead with her views on fake people when suddenly she looked at me and stopped talking. It was just a brief moment, but I could see the wheels spinning in her mind. I could see that the computer in her head was giving her a "Does Not Compute" warning. I could see something was up, and that is when her whole persona changed. She became visibly upset. She physically stepped back and then blasted me...."Blue Hair Ain't Authentic! How can you talk about being authentic, when you are just as fake as the rest of them?"
"Blue Hair Ain't Authentic! How can you talk about being authentic, when you are just as fake as the rest of them?"
I smiled. I get THAT pretty often as well.
That statement and the incredulous pause gave me an opening. An opportunity to tell a personal story about how I suddenly lost all my hair[i] and how that was a huge part of my journey to find the Authentic Me. It also gives me an opening to share my own stance on what it means to be Authentic, and how I believe so many people do not really know what it means to be authentic, but in fact just use it as a buzzword to judge other people.
Blue hair is Authentic me, so is emerald hair, so is pink hair and whatever other color I feel inclined to dye my hair. It is authentic me, because my hair is not the defining factor of what makes me, well Me. It is however what I chose to do with my hair. Just like my choice to cut my hair, or what jewelry I wear, or what clothing I wear.
So, what does being Authentic mean anyway? Well, in my personal and coaching view being authentic means being the real you. The you that has been buried under everything that life has told you to be. As Dr. Seuss stated so simply, “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
Yep, its that simple, and yet so hard to understand for so many. So let me get a little bit deeper into it. The definition of Authentic means real or genuine, not copied. It means representing your true nature or beliefs. It means being true to yourself. It means that your words and your actions match your thoughts and beliefs.
When you boil it all down, Authentic is about being honest. Honest with yourself and honest with others. So your Authentic Self, is your honest self. It does not mean to only show up with what God gave you. If that were the case, you (and the rest of us) would be running around naked and scared, literally feral. Because that is what you were as newborns, as “The Good Lord made you.”
What you choose to become, what you chose to learn, what you chose to improve on, who you ultimately want to become, the best version of yourself, that is the Authentic You. If that means that the best version of you right now dyes your hair. Then yes, Blue hair IS Authentic.