Returning to Your Authentic Self

black and white butterfly perch on yellow petaled flower
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Some time ago I sat quietly and listened to a heart broken client express, “I don’t know who I am anymore, and I have no idea where I am going.” Tearfully she explained how her life had been slowly going through a change. One day she woke up and nothing felt right for her any more. She was devastated, stuck, and had no idea what had happened to the life she once knew and was quite happy with at one time.

As we continued to talk, she described for me how her life used to be, how she used to feel, and what it was that made it so much better back then. As we moved forward to the present it was obvious she had been slowly conditioned to her environment by the people she now knew, and the changes that had occured in her life. Nothing happened suddenly, it was a slow boil. Ever hear the frog story about putting a frog in boiling water? If you put it in hot water it will quickly jump out, but if you put it in water it likes and raise the temperature slowly it will get used to it, not realizing its life was being taken.

Life can be like that sometimes if we are not aware. It’s easy to be slowly conditioned into a life we don’t recognize, either by environment and often our choices. Like my former client, we can wake up one day and no longer recognize ourselves because of the changes we made. Sometimes they are deliberate changes and sometimes they are subtle ones that we are just conditioned into because of outside influences. It’s easy to get stuck there and even conditioned to stay there unhappily.

We are born into this life a blank slate and innocent from our God and Creator. There is nothing quite like a breath of heaven entering this world for the first time. We all were there in the beginning. What we have now is a collection of stuff we have picked up along the way. Our world and society has a way of conditioning us into thinking and acting in certain ways that create a fluent “fitting in”. The problem is we are taught to believe what the “norm” is and if we deviate from it we are the ones who are considered lost. We don’t realize how much we are told who we should be, how we should act, and what type of life we should lead.

We are trapped in an ideal that says we are supposed to learn, grow up, have families, and make money. Before we know it our focus is more about those things than simply being our true selves. For instance; there is so much more about learning than reading and writing. We forget to learn how to be the amazing beings we have been created to be. Schools don’t teach us to learn about our creative selves, or how powerfully we are made and how powerful we are.  Our families become a “family unit” where we somehow tend to lose our identity in the process. Even in marriage we forget we are individuals first and then a couple second. We are joined “as one” but within that oneness we allow our true selves to be lost. We get a job, create a business, or find a means of support. Suddenly, that means of support becomes the major part of our lives to the point that we identify ourselves according to what we do instead of who we are.

We can watch this happen at a social gathering. One of the primary questions we consider while getting to know someone is “What do you do for a living?” Suddenly, we are a doctor, an attorney, a business owner, and so on. The issue with this is we are none of these things first. We are first and foremost that breath of heaven born into this world as an individual. Born from love, our mission is love. We are never taught we are healers, believers, understanders, and creative builders. The truth? God never sent us into this world to make money, have families, and then go home. We are meant to live from the spirit and not society’s ideas of who we should be or become.

We are told by religion to believe a certain way or by psychology what is normal and what is not. We are conditioned to understand that life is “hard” instead of living at ease and in discovery. Our creative gifts are smothered by feelings that we have to adjust to “fit in” and conform. It’s a slow boil. Before we know it we forget who we truly are and why we are here. The next thing we know we are older and have no idea how we got where we are or where we are going. We lose our authentic selves.

Our challenge? Our spiritual selves are beckoning us to return to our authentic lives. For example, the woman I spoke of in the beginning had no idea what a gifted artist she is because she never had taken the time to find out the deeper and more creative things she harbors within herself. We all have those things. We might know what they are and feel we will get to them some day. Although, in the slow boil we have been living in, that some day might never come. We have to make it come once we know how unsettled we have truly been.

Returning to our authentic self means seeking within, not outside of ourselves. We can’t find ourselves in other people or in earthly situations. We find ourselves by allowing God in us to reveal who we really are. We are meant for so much more than to be born, live, and then die. There is so much in between. We are meant to dance, for our hearts to sing, our lives to give healing, and our love to bring peace. We are meant to create beauty in this life, not turmoil. Our tears are for compassion and not pain. Our anger should be toward injustice, not held against one another. The only way we become one as a couple or a society is extending compassion, grace, and creating an environment where we thrive as our true selves. We are not meant to be clones of one another but the breath of fresh air for each one we encounter. We are born to bring our gift to a hungry world and share it with others and then receive them as a gift in return.

Our world is looked upon as chaotic. I feel that way myself quite often. Remember that God created this world from chaos and we can return to ourselves through the chaos we have felt in our lives. If you are feeling unsettled, unfulfilled, and upset, that is great! Your life is calling you toward finding your true self again. Your heart wants to heal, to be lifted to a place where compassion, love, and giftedness become the norm and not what society has told you. You are you and there is no one else like you. How special is that?

Take a deep breath, allow your tears, and let them be the water that grows a garden of truth, new understanding, and authenticity. Find that breath of heaven you were born to be! Then give who you are to a world that has no idea how to find itself any more. Return to yourself. Return to love. When you do, love yourself deeply. It is an honor to have you here. Don’t allow disrespect. You are a treasure. No one will recognize that unless you accept nothing less.

Loving you from here,

Dr Rev Jenine Marie Howry, PhD or simply “Jenine”

“You Are “ALL THAT”…

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One of the most profound things I read today from someone’s blog is “you are not either/or, you are both/and!” How expansive! I thought, “Yup, I’m a this and I am a that and more, all together.” A friend of mine used to tell me , “You are all that and a bag of chips baby!” I’m tellin’ ya, we are so much more than we ever give ourselves credit for. AND we are capable of doing all of the things we have ever dreamt of. I want to tell you today that “YOU ARE ALL THAT AND A BAG OF CHIPS BABY!” I can still hear my friend’s tone of voice and her laugh while she said it. It stuck with me though. Let it stick to you like glue today 

Loving you from here,

Dr. Jenine Marie Howry

Are You Authentic or a Knock Off?

i hate nothing about you with red heart light
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I know, it’s a strange title isn’t it? I was thinking about fashion today and designers. Lately, I have been interested in fashion and how to create a wardrobe that will interchange and match to create several outfits on a budget. In my seeking, I have seen a lot of great designer things and also the knock offs of them as well. A knock off is a replica of the design from the original designer but it’s really not the real deal. It might be less expensive, but it’s still a knock off.

To the less discerning eye no one would be able to tell the difference but to those who know fashion it could be quite obvious that the item is a fake representation of the original designer.  What an insult to the designer, right?

It occurred to me that this can apply to us as well. We can present ourselves as authentic or we can present ourselves as a fake knock off of our real self. The thing about being fake is that we have to live with the knock off and to the discerning person we are not kidding anyone. Just like the original designer of high fashion items, being a knock off of our real self is insulting to our designer who created us all to be unique and real. When we don’t walk according to our real truth we present that knock off of ourselves to the world. It might not hurt anyone, accept maybe ourselves, but our designer knows the truth and would like us to be authentic.

We can be authentic when we know we are loved just as we are and that is enough for us. We can be authentic when we don’t try to compete with others or try to be like someone else. We are authentic when we stay in integrity as to how our lives are being lived. I understand we do not all wish to air all of our dirty laundry to the world. That is not what I am talking about. What I am saying is to walk in integrity of how we are feeling for the moment, every moment. We might be down, upset, happy, joyful, grieving, or struggling. Regardless to what we are, walking in integrity of who we are is walking as someone who is honoring our designer. We are a work in progress and no one is perfected. How will others offer their compassion when we are presenting a knock off of our real selves?

When pursuing something in life, pursue that thing that God has gifted you with, not what others might pursue because you think life is greener on the other side of the fence. Believe me, the life on the other side is just the same and our own side of the fence is much more authentic and profitable for our soul growth.

Today, remember to be the best authentic you that you can be! You are amazing even on your worst day or night. You are a treasure even when you are grieving or upset. When you make a mistake God never sees you as a mistake. He is there to help the authentic you be the created blessing He intended you to be. Ask yourself every day if you are presenting yourself as a true authentic version of who God created. Align yourself with your own destiny, because someone else’s purpose is not going to serve you or others. Your deepest heartaches will never be healed if you live as a knock off of the real you.

Loving you from here,

Dr. Jenine Marie Howry