Your Authentic Self – A Recall to Embrace the Luxury of Personal Power!

Iris Apfel’s 100th Birthday Party at Central Park Tower

I adore Iris Apfel. A woman of authentic style, and that is her. Not for her looks, just her style, which made the world look at her true self. She has carried her authentic style for 101 years to date! So, when my beloved sister added a book to my library, Embracing Your Authentic Self, my thoughts went to the gorgeous Ms. Apfel, a worshipped fashionista who adorned herself with who she is! She said, “I don’t have any rules because I would only be breaking them, so it’s a waste of time.” I have been reflecting on the subject of ‘Being Authentic’ for a while, and this book (compiled by Linda Joy) made a grand entry to my home.

Simply put, women are a sacred lot, a species that radiates the power of new beginnings! It’s a luxury to be authentic, and it’s a choice we women must make to empower further the shining of our divine nature. Because of the empowering significance of authenticity, the women’s stories within this book propelled me to delve deeper into the insights and lessons contained in the narratives.

There are several sides to women radiating, and few even go like this, ‘How to radiate to attract a man’ (I kid you not) and ‘Fake it till you make it’! I know a batchmate from my school days whose authenticity lies in faking it over the last 50 years and counting, if you know what I mean. Sad but true, and certainly not to be entertained. I said this because I want to share the pros and sometimes the cons that impact leadership in women young and older, those who lead and don’t plead. Those who radiate a timeless power, unlike physical beauty, but authentic beauty, and it is so transparent; it’s striking!


Iris Apfel

First, a true con-side to the subject; women aren’t always true to themselves. When leading, there is often conflict between their behaviors and their values. Being Inauthentic can be exhausting, you will agree, as living in a state of ‘alternatives’ and ‘predicaments’ carries an immense burden on being authentic and radiating it simultaneously. It needs a healthy alignment between one’s values and behaviors. Some excel at being who they are not, but only for a while until another forcefully throws the famous line at you, as in the film ‘Avatar,’ “I see you!” What then? You can run, but you can’t hide. When inauthenticity is recognized, one becomes an opposing force embedding ‘Inauthencity’ as a personality trait.

Forward to being your authentic self; radiating that self, bathing in that glory of self-sunshine, consistently balancing your values and behaviors, articulating choices and trade-offs, and being intentional about those choices, is a lot of determined work too. It manifests as simple truths about ourselves, so it is worth it.

Women in growing leadership roles authenticate, validate and comprehend the truth with a vision to eradicate the falsehoods in our everyday work and personal lives. Facing facts and embracing self-authentication is a unique power to reckon with! Being authentic is more important than being perfect.

My voice in this opinion is shared by many, I’m sure. I recently read an article that foregrounds the internal struggles of women in their quest to adapt/not adapt to societal norms in fear of being silenced. For those in this stream, it’s a long road to authenticate and voice their power. I reflect on this because I see too much of it, and that often brings me to a desired huddle with these empowered women to assert my authentic affirmations:

“Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.”
– Coco Chanel 

 “Always be a first-rate version of yourself and not a second-rate version of someone else.”
– Judy Garland

“Don’t compromise yourself. You are all you’ve got.”
– Janis Joplin

“You attract the right things when you have a sense of who you are.”
– Amy Poehler

“To become conscious and aware, we must become authentic. Authenticity is the highest form of being.”
– Teal Swan

“The accusation that we’ve lost our soul resonates with a very modern concern about authenticity.”
– Patricia Hewitt

On a closing note, “I’ve had days of forgetting who I am. About my sister, Nonnie, I salute her for being unapologetically herself. I have even endorsed my other self-leaving the true me behind. It’s been a work in progress, authenticating myself from being a copycat for a while, but I’ve stayed the course, and “Being Seema” has set me free!” 

Words by Seema Azharuddin
Feature Image: Iris Apfel at her 100th Birthday Party at Park Tower on September 9, 2021, in New York City. Interior design by Fox Nahem Associates featuring custom column wall art by MJ Atelier (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for Central Park Tower)
Article Originally Appeared in Love Happens Volume 6

Explore More of Lh’s ‘Embracing Individuality & Authenticity’ Edition