Photo by Liane Metzler

“…The more you believed in yourself, the more you could trust yourself. The more you trust yourself, the less you compare yourself to others.” Roy T. Bennett

Have you ever been uncertain about what to do and then looked around at everyone else to see what everybody else was doing? Assuming they were right, you followed suit with your own behavior. Thinking quietly to yourself, “I have an idea about what to do but no one else is doing that. Well, even if they are wrong, we will all be wrong together.”  Consequently, later you found out that although the majority ruled it was wrong! In your heart all along you knew what was right but you felt a little apprehensive about your choice because it was different from everyone elses.When you trust yourself and do what is right you can reach your fullest potential in life. 

Versions of that example play out in our lives everyday. Personal choices are often  influenced by what is popular at the moment! Peer pressure and fitting in is not just a teenage struggle.  The struggle for many continues well into adulthood. We are all challenged in that way at some point or another. Contrast in life helps us to know ourselves and define ourselves more accurately. Moreover, at times there is safety in observing and joining in with the group’s behavior.

Comparing ourselves to others equates their journey with our own. One journey is not better than the other but no journey is ever the same. It has been stated, it is not wise to compare ourselves to others we have no idea what their journey is all about. The valuable lesson I’ve learned along my journey is that the only person I should be better than is the person I was yesterday. I once worked in an environment that I considered highly prejudicial. No matter how hard I worked, my efforts were never acknowledged. As a highly qualified and seasoned educator, I knew the student data proved my pedagogy was on point. However, year after year the same scenario played itself out and other teachers seemed to get the recognition I thought I deserved. The experience forced me to look within. I learned to judge myself by myself. From then on I became my only competition. I set personal goals each school year, and like a thoroughbred with blinders on, sought to meet or exceed them. I  began to see how this meaning was applicable in other areas of my life. As I made authentic choices I unpacked the potential in my own life to propel myself forward. My efforts eventually earned me several positions in leadership. When we focus on being authentic and intentional everything unfolds as it should. What I once thought was a prejudicial environment ended up being a blessing. 

I came to the resolve of becoming my own competition by learning to trust my choices. Trust is a benefit of authenticity. It is never a good idea when we give away our power to choose for ourselves. A version of a proverb says what is good for the goose is not always good for the gander. 

When authenticity is our goal the choices that we make are in line with our own personal truth which may not be popular. Every person is on a unique journey so variety and diversity should be expected.The choices that we make should navigate our way on our own path. Following the crowd, keeping up with the Joneses, and competing with strangers is not only a waste of time but can veer us off in the wrong direction away from our authentic purpose. 

Courage and self-determination are developed one choice at a time. We disempower ourselves when we make choices that are not in our own best interest. Honoring ourselves with our decision making is a testament of self-love and self-respect and the best way to reach our full potential.

 “Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about a choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” Brene Brown.

Copyright by Deana Gordon

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