I’m really enjoying this book, which I began reading a couple of weeks ago. Brené Brown started off as someone who researched topics such as shame. From that work, and through personal struggles, she has come to some clear and helpful ideas about how to live authentically and joyfully. As she says, though, it’s not always easy. And it happens one day at a time, one choice at a time.
I had to make some choices about authenticity last week. I was interviewed by some tv folks – a researcher and a director – who are making a “reality” show about different types of tarot readers here in the UK. I don’t yet know whether or not I’ll be in the show…
Being interviewed, the director in particular asked me some quite probing questions, things I don’t normally talk about much in public. Like, “So, you talk about magic spells, does that mean you’re a wiccan or pagan?” And, “What does being a witch mean to you?”
Now, I know there are plenty of people on YouTube, especially those doing various pagan/witchy challenges, who talk about this stuff all the time. However, I’m not one of them. It was only really when I had to decide whether to publish the Celtic Lenormand under my own name or a nom de plume that I chose to admit publically to following a pagan spiritual path. Even now, it’s not something that I come out and say to most people. Not even all my family know!
So, after the interview I started worrying: “What if they want me to talk about my spirituality on TV? Would I be okay with that? Do I mind having that kind of knowledge about my deepest held beliefs and personal practices ‘out there’ in that way?”
It might seem kind of silly. After all, I already post videos on YouTube talking about magic. Yet, for the most part, I can ‘justify’ that in psychological terms, using the language of my training as a psychotherapist and hypnotherapist. Talking about praying to the Goddess is a little trickier.
In the end, I decided to not worry about it. It is who I am, it is who I choose to be. And for the most part – in this country, at this time – it’s not likely to get me burned at the stake or put in prison!
Hopefully, too, very few of the other mums at my kids’ schools will see the show, and if they do it’s probably because they’re open to this stuff anyway… And if not, back to it won’t get me (or my kids) drowned or burned to death. If other people have an issue with this, that is largely their problem.
The Bottom Line
I acknowledge that being authentic isn’t always a safe choice. In that case, you need to use your wisdom to decide when and where (and with whom) to be really yourself.
Most of the times, though, our fears about being authentic are more to do with acceptance. And it might be that the person who isn’t fully accepting us is… us. I am much more comfortable with myself and my spirituality than I was even five years ago. So, I can be authentic more of the time, in more varied situations, and with more people.
As for the TV show, as Phineas T. Barnum, a 19th Century showman, is attributed with saying: “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.”