I recently watched a video segment where Oprah attributed her tremendous conviction in herself to religious teachings such as the biblical verse where Jesus commands that if one had as little faith as a mustard seed they could uproot the tree. Oprah asserted that we don’t get what we ‘want’ in life but manifest what we feel we deserve through our own believe of ourselves. She added that one must internalize joy, fulfillment, peace, happiness, success, comfort and abundance as part of their birth right in order to manifest those ideals into their life circumstances. I always pondered why Jesus chose the minuscule mustard seed to correlate the unwavering courage necessary to nurture faith. Our fifteen month old Fraya reminds me that very young children only behave as though the ideals described by Oprah are their birthright while adults demand a reason to feel joy. Extrapolating from the importance of authenticity in discovering the inspiration for greater purpose and the truth of humanity being created in the likeness of God offers a new awareness about this metaphor. I now understand that Jesus references the minute mustard seed in Luke to correlate that simply embodying our true innate nature is all that’s necessary to remain connected to and believe in God and subsequently ourselves. Last week, I explored the lifestyle criterias that nurture positive self believe and the remainder of this article explains that being authentic is the outcome of embodying those ideals.
You are not your expectations.
I invite everyone to consider if they are completely happy with themselves or their life to discern if they are being their true self. If the answer was no, then unfortunately a person is not being authentic with themselves. And while some would insist that their discontent only stems from not yet attaining certain desires in their life. I believe that external factors ‘seem’ to make us unhappy only because we stopped being our true selves and became the expectations we thought would make us feel more worthy. Transitioning back into one’s authentic self entails acting in the opposite manner as a person currently does when they’re not content. Believing that happiness is our birthright entails choosing behaviors and thoughts that genuinely make us happy. Therefore, if a person’s reactions to emotional discontent intensifies their unhappiness then they are responding to embody their unmet ‘expectations’ rather than satisfying their own authentic need for joy. Hence, the occasions where most people stop being their true selves is when their expectations of needing love or approval from others (in order to feel happy) goes unmet. We typically mask the vulnerability of our unmet expectations by reacting with anger, resentment, blame etc, instead of employing the courage to choose a response that honors our intrinsic desire to experience joy. Fraya on the other hand has given me a kiss mid tears and frowns because she is only motivated by her birthright to be happy and experience love not only during perfect conditions. Framing our responses as a means of creating our own happiness internalizes that our fate does not depend on circumstances but is determined by our own ability and willingness to continue fulfilling our happiness. Thus, being authentic amidst vulnerability prevents us from becoming discouraged by unfavorable circumstances, which bolsters our conviction in ourselves.
Being motivated by our expectations of others and ourselves diminishes our control over our choices, making it difficult to trust ourselves. When my own joyful demeanor was augmented by the actions of others, I was unknowingly people pleasing instead genuinely responding in my own best interest. Rather committing to responses that align with our authentic desire to experience inner peace ‘for ourselves’ creates consistency in appraising our identity. We become more likely to trust and believe in ourselves when we can rely on own capacity to make choices that uphold our inner peace. Rather, I did not previously have a genuine reference of what “my best interest” resembled when my intentions were derailed by the actions of others (or circumstances). Instead, I was simply making it up on the fly with impulsive reactions to appease my discontent and unmet expectations. Our fragile and needy ego confuses us to perceive that adapting who are according to circumstances is empowering. However, it creates dependency on others for joy, which undermines our own ability to believe in ourselves.
Embracing our authentic free loving nature is the ultimate goal of our existence. This insight offers me a new interpretation for one my favorite passages in the Bible. The metaphor of the mustard seed simultaneously alludes to the simplicity entailed in being our authentic self and the inherent courage that is required in bravely choosing to be ourselves in every moment. It takes tremendous courage not to hide behind anger, blame, sadness, etc but to allow our human desire to feel love during these moment be seen through mindful responses that restore our inner peace. Everyday Fraya illustrates that the world doesn’t owe us happiness because we were already given the right and ability to create it for ourselves. Thus, willingly co-creating with negative emotions is not staying aligned with our true selves that is connected to divine intuition and inspiration. Our true nature is always love, hence we are called to be an unconditional embodiment of love to accept ourselves unconditionally and transcend all conditions. Our capacity to rise ‘above’ all circumstances through unconditional self love deepens our positive believe in ourselves and trust in our Creator.