“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” Oscar Wilde

BeYourselfFinding the right “fit” – whether you’re a high school graduate looking for a university or you’re an employer looking for a new employee – is crucial to both our success and our health.

An NFL coach knew this well when he reminded a young recruit who was trying out for the team: “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken”. It helped the young man feel comfortable on the field, enabling the coaches – and him – to really judge whether he would be a good fit. And, the coach indicated, if he wasn’t hired, it didn’t mean he was a failure, it meant there was a better place for him. As it’s turned out, this particular player has made a great contribution to the team for a number of years.

This simple but profound idea – find the right fit – has become a mainstay in many communities –the mental health community, the business community, sports community and other settings where we might be tempted to be what others expect rather than ourselves.  Any time we are persuaded to be someone we are not, we need to step back and reconsider that we can avoid a big, sometimes painful, experience by finding, holding onto, and operating from the basis of who we really are.  For me, this means, finding a better understanding of the nature of God, my relationship to the Divine and what God’s plan for me is.  I’m clear that not being true to myself can lead to serious consequences.

A program entitled “Leading with Authenticity” was launched last year by Z. Colette Edwards, MD, MBA and a colleague.  They were surprised that “authenticity was identified as the most pressing issue among executive leaders during the mini-focus groups we conducted in advance of the program.”

“The topic bubbled up organically in panel discussions and conversation, and was singled out as key to both business success and, on a more personal level, overall health and well-being.”  Edwards brings out that “the stress of being in an environment which does not embrace being genuine or align with one’s values – not surprisingly – leads to a laundry list of health problems associated with stress.”

Authenticity is defined as “acting and expressing oneself in ways consistent with one’s values, desires, and emotions.”

Some of us go through life trying to fit into a mold – to be something we are not – to be more acceptable in a specific society — or, maybe to impress someone, or be like someone we admire.  This means we are either not happy with who we are, have not given ourselves the opportunity to know what our “authentic self” actually is, or maybe feel we would lose something if we revealed our true “values, desires and emotions.”

And, the statement “Be Yourself” is certainly easier said than done.

As a result of circumstances over which I had no control, my life was completely turned upside down.  In desperation and to help with family finances, I was persuaded to take a job for which I knew I wasn’t qualified.  A friend of mine promised he would help me with the work at night.  This “help” never materialized and I was drowning in work I didn’t know how to do.

Depression, discouragement, and fear of failure took a toll on my physical health (headaches, sleeplessness, and digestive problems) and mental well-being – a cloud hung over my head and everything seemed hopeless.

From my Christian upbringing, I knew honesty was crucial to honoring God, myself and others. And this statement from a textbook on Christian healing grabbed my attention when I was reading and praying one day: “Honesty is spiritual power,” and the author continues, “Dishonesty is human weakness, which forfeits divine help.”  Companioning this thought is one from the chapter of Romans in the Bible, “”Provide things honest in the sight of all men.”  I realized what was actually weighing on me wasn’t the overload of, and undoable work, it was the dishonesty! I was not being true to my “authentic self” – to the values I was brought up to embrace and wanted in my life as an adult.

In an article on “Place”, the author of that textbook, Mary Baker Eddy, also points out: “God has given to everyone a place,” and in this harmonious creation there is no void, –nothing left, nothing lacking …  Each fills its own, her own, his own place, whether they have knowledge of it or not.”

I realized I was actually occupying a position that was not meant for me but for someone else. Someone else was looking for that job and had the skills to do what I did not. I left the job soon after this realization and felt relieved. But, I was still in need of employment.

The more I prayed to be true to myself – to understand God and how my life expresses Him –the calmer I became.  And, I experienced relief from each of the physical problems and from the mental cloud.

Shortly after that, my husband bought a business and it became clear to me that my job was to help him. This met our financial needs and we worked together happily for several years until another opportunity came available to me.

So, “be yourself” in this wonderful world.  You will make, and find, it a better, brighter and healthier place.

#authenticity – #stressinbusiness  – #authenticself – #perfectfit – #stress –-#health

Kate is interested in blogging about health, health care, spirituality, science, religion, the importance of prayer in maintaining a healthy mind and body.  She is a Christian Science practitioner and the media, legislative and public contact for Christian Science in the state of Maryland. Contact Kate on Twitter: @CscomMaryland, on Facebook: Kate Johnson CS, or email:  maryland@compub.org.