This week I was given a gift of authenticity on International Women’s Day. I attended the Ladies Talk Out Loud conference with many others from our community. The event was created by the incredible Karen and Ladies Out Loud. They are an authentic social group for women to learn, laugh, and live out loud. Click the link to see Ladies Out Loud’s upcoming events!
Each speaker had me intently listening as they shared their personal stories. The courage and passion of each speaker sharing their perspective, not from opinion but from as lived experience, was powerful. I definitely wouldn’t say I have a favourite from the day, but I will share the most impactful message.
A story of authenticity
Kiersten Mohr is a fellow resident of Airdrie, a mom, a wife, a Geoscience manager, and one hell of an authentic human being! She has a unique experience, and her sharing allowed me to see into her world and what so many people are experiencing. What stood out was what she wanted us to do with her story! You see, as she shared her experience of growing up, meeting the love of her life, raising children, what she was sharing was her struggle to be herself.
To tell her story, Kiersten followed the hierarchy of needs, a theory in psychology proposed by Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper “A Theory of Human Motivation” in Psychological Review. Maslow described the pattern of human motivation and that for us to reach each level, there needs to be a certain amount of internal motivation. The goal of Maslow’s Theory is to attain the fifth level or stage: self-actualization.
Here, Kiersten focused her message; you see, she wants more than for her story to be told. Her real message is that she wants us all to live our own unguarded, authentic life.
Choosing to be authentically me
I feel like this is precisely what I’ve been trying to say in many of my last posts. And what struck me about what Kiersten was sharing was how powerfully she shared it. She said, “be you, unguarded and authentically you.” WOW! Just wow!
Saying it and being it are totally different things. Being it takes raw courage, it takes trust and faith. It takes being raw with my emotions and feelings and not letting them stop me. It means trusting me that I am already everything I need to be. That I will make mistakes, and that is part of the journey. And faith, not in others, confidence in myself.
I had always believed that our self-expression was what we could say—being able to speak up when it’s needed. I won’t know those things don’t matter; it’s essential. But here is what I have learned. Our self-expression is more than what we say. It is how we are seen and how comfortable we are to be seen authentically!
Living with authenticity
So, every day, I get up and choose to be me. To be bold, to be unapologetic for who I am. I allow myself to be seen fully. To share when I’m struggling. To share my joy. As Maslow said, “if you plan on being anything less than you are capable of being, you will probably be unhappy all the days of your life.”
I choose to ask for help when I need it. To say no when it isn’t a fit. I vow to take my masks off and be unguarded.
In the great words of Kiersten Mohr, as she ended her talk, she said: “I must love myself enough to take what I need from this world so I can give the world the best of myself.” Bang on, sister, bang on!