“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.”
When I first started teaching yoga, I was scared.
Most people are.
It’s scary to get up in front of people and act like you know what you are doing. It’s scary to try and remember which leg goes where and when to inhale and how long to exhale.
It’s scary until it’s not.
Until you get up and just do it.
What I found is that it stopped being scary for me when I stepped into my own skin. When I truly started being authentic. Vintage Jen.
I remember going to London for Christmas a few years ago with my British husband. During the vacation, one of my celebrity clients decided he wanted to stop our three times a week sessions, and I got dropped from one of my early morning public classes. I was still a pretty new teacher (I still am), so I felt really badly about myself. Plus, I had this fear, and one I still battle with quite often, which suggests that when I have things that make me happy in life, they will be taken away. So here I am in England and bam! I get proven right. See? If you leave town, you will lose work. If you are happy, it won’t last. That’s what the little voice that lives in my brain yelled loud enough that everyone on the Putney High Street heard it.
I came back to Los Angeles at the start of the new year and had a profound revelation. I had lost a couple jobs, and so what?
More jobs came. Over the years they have come and gone, and come and gone some more.
But what has stayed with me is this revelation: As long as I keep being me, as long as I keep staying true to myself and who I am, it doesn’t matter how many jobs I get or don’t get. None of it matters. What matters is that I am living in my truth and the people who need me will find me. And I will find the people I need. I will find the answers I need. But more importantly, I will find the questions.
When I started really being authentic, the success came.
When I started blogging. When I started talking about my hearing loss and my history with anorexia and how I am kind of a slob and that I curse and love to have dance parties. When I said that I drink wine and coffee and when I invented karaoke yoga. See, none of these things in and of themselves are necessarily “inspiring,” but rather it is the willingness to say, “This Is Who I Am! Take It Or Leave It.”
Four Ways to Be Your Most Authentic Self
1. Find What Makes You Feel Good
What makes you come alive—go do that. Find people who also like to do that and hang out with those people. Maybe it’s a wine tasting club, maybe it’s yoga, maybe it’s yodeling. Just do it. Surround yourself with those people who will appreciate your passion instead of squashing it.
When something bothers you, speak up. When you love someone, speak up. Tell them. Open your mouth and use your voice. It’s yours. Own it.
3. Be Creative
What makes you you? We are all different. Thankfully. Imagine how boring it would be if we were all six-foot-tall blondes with a penchant for tango. We would die of boredom. Find out what makes you stand apart. That’s not to say that you should purposely walk the streets naked so everyone stares at you because you are standing apart. It’s to say that by finding your own voice, you connect to the part of you that is the most original, the brightest, the most unique. It’s there. Find it.
Karaoke Yoga was a scary thing for about five minutes when I let myself ponder, “What will they think?” But once I embraced it, nothing felt more right or joyful. I may have found my unique voice by singing Bon Jovi in Down Dog!
I am not saying that if you just imagine yourself as a best-selling author or driving a new BMW that it will come to fruition. That would be amazing, but it doesn’t work that way. I am saying that if you dig deep in the well of your imagination, you do indeed start to feel the great big AS IF. It feels as if you are a best-selling author or driving the new BMW. Once you get a taste of that feeling, you are more likely to keep digging into your imagination and finding new things that make your soul do its happy dance.
Our imagination is the key to everything.
I would love to hear how you can be more authentic. How can you step into your own skin more fully? How and where can you say: “This is who I am, so take it or leave it!”
Go on, say it.
Jennifer Pastiloff was recently featured on Good Morning America. She is a yoga teacher, writer, and advocate for children with special needs based in L.A. She is also the creator of Manifestation Yoga® and leads retreats and workshops all over the world. Jennifer is currently writing a book and has a popular daily blog called Manifestation Station. Find her on Facebook and Twitter and take one of her yoga classes online at Yogis Anonymous.
Jen will be leading a Manifestation Yoga® weekend retreat at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in the Berkshires, Massachusetts Feb 1-3, 2013.