Are You Being Authentic?

“Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.”

~ Brené Brown

Bringing Home The Bacon

Coming from a traditional Asian family, my dad, especially, found it challenging when we made the decision that I would take on the role of the breadwinner and my husband would become the nurturing stay-at-home dad. I would be the one bringing home the bacon, while he would lovingly fry it.

Back in 2000, this concept was still unfamiliar, as societal expectations dictated that the husband should be the provider, and the wife should stay at home to raise the children, prepare meals, and take care of household chores.

Well, that didn’t sit right with me at all. Honestly, I never had the patience for disciplining young children. I may be able to manage a team of 50 people, but put me face-to-face with a tantrum-throwing 5-year-old and I’m at a loss. To tell you the truth, I don’t really start to connect with them until they can walk, talk, and take care of themselves in the bathroom.

And cooking? Forget about it. Our little ones would have been surviving on boxed cereal while Mr. Telly played the role of the ultimate babysitter. If we had followed that outdated, traditional mindset where I stayed home to raise the children, our kids would have grown up in a completely different way.

Instead, we reached an agreement where I would embrace the corporate attire, using the daily 3-hour commute to work as a precious “me time” while my amazing husband took charge of changing over 5000 cloth diapers for each child.

Not only did he possess the knack for feeding, dressing, playing, conversing, and engaging with our two beloved kids, but he also managed the household chores flawlessly. From cooking hearty dinners to grocery shopping and ensuring the weekly laundry was effortlessly done, he truly mastered it all. Admittedly, I couldn’t help but feel like I had struck gold in this extraordinary partnership.

But pressure mounted as my parents continually questioned why my husband didn’t have a “real” job. Friends snickered at our odd decision to be non-traditional as well. We had financial struggles. We argued over petty things like who was more tired and why the house was so dirty.

From all the pressure, there were moments where I questioned our decision and started to resent my husband for staying at home. Those were dark moments. I started blaming my husband for my exhaustion, for feeling trapped in a soul-sucking job, for the long commutes, the messy house, and for two kids who demanded my attention. I started questioning whether society was right and we were wrong.

Our Experiences Are Reflections Of Our Minds

But along the way, I learned that whatever is happening in our lives is a mirror of our own inner thinking. When I finally stopped to look in the mirror and told my reflection that I was responsible for my decisions and experiences, I learned that having a knee-jerk, defensive reaction to every criticism, opinion or behavior was a pattern I was creating for myself. I needed to stop thinking that everyone was out to get me. That the decisions my husband I made together were in our best interest at the time. That resentment, criticism, guilt and fear caused more problems than anything else. I learned that I couldn’t blame others for my decisions. I had to learn to communicate my feelings openly and honestly and without wearing full battle gear.

As a recent corporate escapee, I have now joined my husband in the entrepreneurial space. We left the city for a quieter, slower-paced life in the country. I spent a year studying Natural Nutrition and another in the kitchen learning to cook foods my children would actually eat including homemade gluten-free bread. At the end of the day, we’re able to look back and smile without any regrets about our decisions.

If you are struggling in a relationship, in a soul-destroying job or with making a decision, look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Am I being authentic?”

Only you know how true you are to yourself. Are you putting on a façade, a mask, to cover up the real you? Do you change your words or your body language because you think others may like you more? Do you walk on eggshells to avoid conflict? Are your decisions to please others or are you truly being honest with yourself? Do you even know who the real you is?

Most of us have foolish ideas about who we are and the many rigid rules about how life ought to be lived. This isn’t meant to condemn us because we are all doing the best we can at this very moment. If we knew better, or had more understanding or awareness, then we’d be doing things a lot differently. Don’t put yourself down. The fact that you are here now, reading this post, sharing with this community, means that you are ready to make a new positive change in your life. Acknowledge yourself for this. Don’t live a life with limiting ideas. Of what society expects of you.

Having No Regrets

The last thing you want is to lie on your deathbed with regrets. With dreams instead of memories. Stop the insanity of living a lie. To be truly healthy and happy, you need to start with being honest with yourself. There may be fear. You may get teased. You may feel singled out. There may be tears. But you will feel more empowered just knowing that you approve and accept yourself and the decisions that you make. Do not live your life for anyone else. You are loving and lovable.

When we really love ourselves, everything in our life is possible.


Do you believe that we are each responsible for our experiences? Do you criticize yourself often? What struggles are you experiencing right now?