500 Words On Authenticity

For Christmas, my suitemates held a white elephant party and during it, I received a deck of affirmation cards. Every now and then, especially when we are stressed, we lay the cards out, shuffle them around, and then pick one out that calls to us.

At the beginning of the spring semester, I picked a card entitled "Authenticity" and it is because of this card that I have my mantra for the semester and probably the rest of my life.


Authenticity is the name of the game.

Whatever comes up, I will feel it.

Whatever needs to be said, I will say it.

Whoever doesn't get it, doesn't have to get it.

But at least they know it because I've said it.

And that's way better than leaving a passive aggressive note about it.

I know so many people, myself included, who are sometimes too afraid to say what they feel in front of another human. If your roommate wears your favorite sweater without your permission and you aren't digging it, sending her dirty looks and channeling the fact that you are peeved isn't really going to get your point across. Nor will sneakily placing a post-it note in her closet that says "Wow. Look at all of the nice sweaters you aren't wearing."

You know what will? Taking a deep breath and saying, "Yo roommate, that's actually my favorite sweater and I really would appreciate it if you didn't wear it."

Have courage. There is a Dr. Seuss quote that says "Those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind," and it is absolutely true. If you ask your roommate to stop wearing the sweater and they proceed to ignore you, that is not your fault. You let them know how you felt, and if they want to hold feelings against you about it, that is not on you.

You are an amazing person, and so is your roommate, and so is that one guy that sits across from you in a seminar. And you are all completely different people with completely different thought processes. That is why you need to be open to people and tell them what you are authentically feeling. Yes, I know it can be scary to not be on the defensive all the time, or to tell someone face-to-face what is on your mind.

But it gets easier. For example, my roommate and I have been living together for the past three years (and no, she doesn't actually steal my sweaters) and whenever we feel anything is off, we talk to each other about it. Not only does this get rid of the annoying what-ifs, it also gives you a true, authentic relationship which is pretty much the greatest thing ever.

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