“Being sincere and true to yourself defines your authenticity.” –Arsenio V. Manalo Jr.

In the 1500s, William Shakespeare said, “To thine own self be true.” It’s a truth that still resonates with us today. Being true to yourself defines your own authenticity. The problem is, individually and collectively, we have not always felt freedom to be our truest selves. Freedoms worldwide have been hard fought for—and, unfortunately, too many freedoms are still having to be fought for. Also, we don’t always feel safe (for many reasons) to be who we truly are without fear of repercussion(s) of some kind. It’s true of all people in some form, but today, this is a shout out in celebration of Pride Month and the LGBTQ+ population.

Every person’s own heart knows what “to thine own self be true” means for them. Truly, no one else can define or dictate that. Yet, there’s always the naysayers, haters, and those who for numerous reasons (familial, societal, religious—you name it) condemn others for attempting to be their most authentic selves. My own heart aches for all the injustices in the world, and those treated cruelly for any reason. How much could we change our world if everyone chose understanding instead of harsh judgement?

Let these lyrics speak: (“People Got To Be Free” by The Rascals)
All the world over, so easy to see
People everywhere just wanna be free
You should see what a lovely, lovely world this’d be
Everyone learned to live together, ah hah
Seems to me such an itty-bitty thing should be
Why can’t you and me learn to love one another

We are a world full of unique individuals all who deserve an opportunity to be their most authentic self, and to be comfortable in, and with, their own body. If one can’t find their way to understanding another—then, at a minimum, please show love by being tolerant and non-violent. Differences are not a reason to withhold love from anyone!

Cheri Thomas

Cheri works as a Peer Support Specialist for RI in Arizona. She has experienced loss and grief which has led her to write for the masses to bring voice to those in similar situations. Cheri possesses a deep passion to share with, encourage, and inspire others on what she calls the Journey of the Heart.