Updated: Apr 24
This piece is translated from Spanish*
By: Benjamin Pittman
Translation: Tatianna Wilkins
If there is one truth that is inherent in every human being, regardless of culture, race, language, age, or anything else, it is that we are unique; however, the unfortunate truth is that we have not yet all dared to be authentic.
"The great society" in which we came from, and "the small circle" in which we move through day by day, pushes us directly or indirectly to be, think, and act in a way that is not necessarily the way we have been designed in our essence.
It is because of the need for acceptance with which we are all born, that we often give in to this forced adaptation. This is fueled by the fear of being rejected due to our differences. And so, without realizing it, we end up being disloyal to our own convictions, to ourselves.
Many times we reserve our opinions and ways of being for fear of what others will say, of contradiction, of shame, and even of mockery; and in others, we are the ones who silence with words, gestures, and looks (or the absence of these) the opinions or ways of being of others. Sometimes we are the victims, and sometimes we are the executioners. The fear of being wrong and not doing things right can also rob us of the experience of being authentic.
Now, it is important to mention that authenticity does not necessarily imply being immutable(1), since we are beings in constant growth and learning. Therefore continuous change (growth) is necessary to become who we have been designed to be. Authenticity is something that we are developing and discovering at every stage and moment of our lives.
Just as our fingerprints, irises, and retinas are unique and irreplicable, so are we. No two people are exactly the same. Can you imagine if we decided to extinguish more than 25,000 varieties of orchids(2) that exist all over the planet to keep only one of them? It would be a crime against nature, right? However, that is what unwittingly happens every day to many of us when we extinguish or disregard our own or others' ways of being and thinking.
How different the world would be if we began to value our uniqueness(3) and that of others; if we began to see differences not as a reason to reject or discriminate against us, but as the gift and opportunity we have been given to complement and enrich each other.
Then, I believe we could understand authenticity as the ability and courage to be and express ourselves freely in the way we are at our core, and at the same time accept and value this same expression in others.
There is a song called "Los Extraterrestes" (The Extraterrestrials) (4) (by Colombian singer-songwriter Santiago Benavides) which was one of the many things that motivated me to reflect and ask myself how authentic I have been throughout my life, and how authentic I am now.
And finally, I would like to share with you about the only thing that in my personal experience has been able to stop this loss of identity and authenticity: it has been the fact of understanding and believing that we have already been accepted in the way we were designed to be, even before we were born. And to explain this I would like to quote a book that is very important to me, "The Bible", the source of my worldview:
"In him (in Jesus), God chose us before the foundation of the world, that in his presence (in his eyes) we should be holy (chosen) and blameless (without fault).
Out of love, He predestined us to be adopted as His children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved (in Jesus)".
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.
How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
They cannot be numbered!
I can’t even count them;
they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up,
you are still with me!”
Psalm 139:13-18 (NLT)
1. Immutable: not capable of or susceptible to change
Link Merriam-Webster: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/immutable
2. The orchids or Orchidaceae (scientific name Orchidaceae) are a family of monocotyledonous plants that are distinguished by the complexity of their flowers.
Wikipedia link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orchidaceae
3. Uniqueness: Quality of uniqueness
Link Merriam-Webster: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/uniqueness
4. Los Extraterrestes (The Extraterrestrials) - Santiago Benavides
Official Youtube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQBMFjIwt0Y