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When Charlie Chaplin Lost…

By: Michael Blankenship |

Authenticity is not something we have or don’t have. It’s a practice — a conscious choice of how we want to live.” 

— Brené Brown

According to legend, Charlie Chaplin, one of the 1900s comic legends, once entered a “Charlie Chaplin impersonation contest” undercover… and got 20th place.

How do you lose a contest… impersonating yourself?

Well, it could happen to any of us. Because we’re not the same “person” every minute of every day — there are many different versions of us that come and go. Today you might be motivated and thrilled. Tomorrow you might be calm and content. The next day you might be facing a bout of frustration. All of those are still you. Just different versions of you. 

Life is filled with these tiny moments that ask us to pick a side — attending a late-night party when all you want is a quiet night-in, or nodding in agreement about a popular movie you didn’t enjoy or wearing heels when instead you actually feel comfortable in sneakers.

Pretending can get very exhausting, very quickly.

Every time you nod along to something you don’t believe in or force yourself into a trend you don’t enjoy, it’s a small drain on your happiness. Over time, these little drains add up. You end up feeling dissatisfied and no longer know what you really enjoy. 

When you choose what you genuinely enjoy or believe in, there’s a sense of contentment. You’re not constantly second-guessing your choice & you’re feeling confident.

It’s human nature to seek validation, to be part of groups. But with conscious efforts and small steps, we can come closer to a balance between fitting in and being true to ourselves.

  • It’s okay to say no. If you don’t want to do something, voice it. 
  • It’s okay to be a version of yourself today… that you weren’t yesterday. 
  • Surround yourself with people who appreciate you for who you are. These connections can reinforce authenticity.
  • Every time you make a choice that feels right to you, acknowledge it. It can be as simple as choosing a drink you genuinely enjoy over a trendy one.

Remember, your “true self” is only who you choose to be. And you are the only one who gets a voice in that decision. 

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