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Are you being your authentic self?

I don’t see clients on Mondays, so it tends to be a bit of a ‘mop up’ day for admin, CPD or the occasional meeting. However, it’s real purpose is to give me a bit of a safety valve in case my weekend isn’t restful enough for me. It has become a core part of my self-care and helps me to stay out of burnout. This Monday was one where I definitely needed a low demand day, to counter the very busy (but enjoyable) weekend I’d just had. Being able to recognise this need in myself and meet with compassion has been a huge shift for me over the last few years. Previously I would have spent a lot of time and energy berating myself for not being able to do things ‘like other people’ and would have got frustrated at my need for rest. I cannot think of a single occasion when doing this made things better, in fact it usually made it worse.

So, this Monday when I heard some of those unhelpful ways of thinking creeping in, I was much more quickly able to acknowledge them and then respond from a place of compassion and acceptance. This included recognising the events that had led up to me wanting a quiet day, reminding myself that I don’t see clients on a Monday for exactly this reason and then giving myself permission to spend my time doing something nourishing. Another change is recognising what ‘something nourishing’ really means for me; the thing that I find the most helpful (and often most underrated) is spending time with my special interest. So, I dug out some Lego sets and gave myself permission to spend most of the day playing and being present with my autistic joy.

I can’t quite believe that I spent so many years fighting with myself to try and fit in, without even recognising the cost of it. Especially when just a small amount of self-compassion can create so many new possibilities, just by giving myself permission to be my authentic self. There are still times when I can slip back into those old ways of being, but they happen less frequently, and when they do, I am better equipped to notice them and redirect my energy into more helpful ways of being.

What would you be doing differently if you gave yourself permission to be your authentic self?

Lego 'Everyone is Awesome' set, which has a variety of minifigs in colours to correspond with the progress pride flag on a stand on a display in the same colours sitting on some grass. The caption above says 'If you were your authentic self what would change?

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