What does it mean to be an authentic woman?

25-year-old Vivianne Maingi was born with a birthmark on the left side of her face. Growing up, the mark didn’t bother her much since as a tiny little girl, she was still trying to understand herself, blossoming into an adult.

However, when she reached Standard five, the mark became more visible and some of her classmates would make fun of her condition from time to time.

“They made funny comments about my face that left me wondering why I was born like that. This went on up to high school and it affected my self-esteem. I didn’t want to be in crowds for fear of mean comments being hurled at me,” says Vivianne.

“When I joined college, I was this introverted person who preferred staying indoors in my room for fear of being mocked because of my mark. Because of this scar, I became this timid person who wasn’t true to herself and couldn’t even showcase my arts skills to people. I was just afraid of being rejected and laughed at,” she adds.

With support from family and friends, Vivianne managed to get out of her cocoon, build her self-esteem and secure a job at a branding and design company where she is regarded as the best artist. Many people value her work. She now takes pride in her uniqueness.

“I spent a long time not being authentically who I was, feeling like I needed to hide to progress because of my mark,” says Vivianne. “It made me unhappy and hindered me in my personal and work life. But I am happy that it is now in the past. I now wear my mark with pride and confidence.”

The society today is such that it wants us to show the very best version of ourselves to the world. Due to this, it becomes easy to portray an image far from who you really are-far from your authentic self.

As a woman, your authentic self is who you really are deep down. It is the part of you that doesn’t care what others think. 

A woman of authenticity is loyal to her principles and solid in living the journey on her own path. She isn’t easily influenced by others and she refuses to compromise on her values, boundaries, and priorities.

Fear of rejection often prevents a woman from expressing her authentic self, just like in the case of Vivianne. 

 To be authentic, it is necessary to develop the courage to show our imperfections and be vulnerable, to be brave enough to let go of the person we think we ought to be and actively embrace who we really are.

How to be an authentic woman

Here are some tips to be true to yourself and be an authentic woman:

  • Practice patience as a virtue

In life, there are times when you need to push, and there are times when it is necessary to slow down. If you feel like you are not performing at your best, it might be time to give yourself a break, reassess the situation and come up with a different approach.

  • Look after yourself

Take time to recharge. Your energy matters and it not only affects you, but also those around you.

  • Lead by example

Looking after yourself will inspire those around you to do the same. Raise your standards and you will see those around you do the same.

  • Be bold

Take risks. Be courageous and make tough decisions.

  • Be inclusive

Build a team around you to support you. Women are natural connectors, use those skills to collaborate. It is more fun working with a team.

  • Practice kindness

Be kind to yourself and others. Kindness goes a long way for any woman. Strive to impact others positively.

Sources: Investigo, Soul Salt, A Conscious Rethink, Business Woman media

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