From time to time, or even every day, many of us can feel as though we are not being true to ourselves.
More to the point, we can feel as though we are following the path of someone else, some external expectation, while feeling further and further away from revealing and becoming our authentic selves.
Becoming your authentic self involves living a life that is directed by your own purpose and values, where thoughts and actions feel aligned and true to your whole sense of self.
I think we have all probably felt that strange and unnerving pang in our stomach when something just doesn’t feel right, yet we go along with a particular idea or behaviour due to the pressure of trying to please someone else.
Yet, living out of alignment with our authentic selves, over time, can become incredibly draining, stressful and both physically and psychologically detrimental to our sense of wellness
So, with the idea of becoming your authentic self being important on our life’s 'to do’ list, how can I help you to understand this in a more tangible format?
Well, oddly, after doing quite a lot of baking (and eating a fair amount of it !) recently, I personally came across a few similarities between one of my all time favourite cakes and the art of becoming your authentic self.
Sounds a little odd right? Well it probably is, but i’m going to share it with you anyway because it really helped me (when sitting down with my favourite cup of earl grey tea) to think about this topic in a much more fun and ‘to the point’ kinda way.
To begin with, let me just verify that the cake I am going to specifically refer to is a Victoria sponge cake - a timeless classic made out of golden vanilla sponge, which together nurture two spectacularly sweet layers of jam and cream.
Despite not being covered in icing like most typical cakes, the Victoria sponge cake is perfect for almost any occasion, and is especially held in high regard among us Brits who take care to enjoy it with a good old cuppa tea if the opportunity (hopefully) arises
So, how on earth is making or being a Victoria sponge anything alike to the art of becoming your authentic self?
Well, to make a list, a Victoria (aka Vicky) sponge:
- Doesn’t need any kind of raz-mataz decorations, multicoloured sprinkles, exotic flavourings, or show stopper garnishing to catch the eyes or the hearts and stomach of those who see and go on to taste it.
- Doesn’t try to be like any other cake on display, whether that be a cake standing right next to it, within a nearby area, or even a completely different shop or kitchen. Instead, it stands proudly, aware of its own unique simplicity and beauty, that captivates the tastebuds of a wide audience
- Doesn’t wear a mask or try to disguise itself. Unlike many other cakes that are either dark in colour or have multiple iced compartments, all of the outer layers of a Vicky sponge are exposed, so there is no chance of being able to hide any baking accidents (e.g. some slight burning, crumbling edges, or a sunken top).
Cutting into the cake also starkly reveals its creamy insides, which dramatically contrast the golden colour of the sponge - there’s no hiding any inconsistencies or flaws here, but even if they do exist, that is viewed as part of the beauty of each unique bake
- Has a compilation of ingredients that stay roughly the same, or at least very similar, from each recipe to the next - being passed down through multiple generations. Most bakers know that changing this recipe would risk the Vicky sponge becoming something completely different (whether that be another type of cake or an icky sponge !)
- ‘Knows' that its jam and cream filling, as well as its fluffy layers, will not be everyone’s cup of tea. However, it does have the confidence to realise that there are just as many or even more people who absolutely love jam and cream - especially when residing inside the heart of a classic Vicky sponge.
- ‘Knows' that it is one of the most well loved cakes within British culture, yet it does not feel egocentric, sad, jealous or angry when a person chooses another slice of cake to devour.
- Has no standard size or number of layers. There are Vicky sponges that appear thick or thin, with slightly different coloured sponges and densities of creaminess. However, when blind-folded, tasters who bite into its layers will almost instantly recognise its true identity.
- Has multiple rather than one singular purpose, and brings joy to the hearts and lives of many. Whether that be at a birthday party, a family get together, a cafe outing with friends, or time spent by oneself after a busy week, the Vicky sponge has a part to play in multiple lives, times and places.
Ok, I think I may have made a bit of a long (if not slightly bewildering) list, but to me these points symbolise how we can learn to step into the suit of our authentic selves.
Like a Victoria sponge cake, you too are a uniquely timeless classic with multiple purposes in this world. No one can ever be like you, and you have the potential to live a life where you can confidently show the world exactly who you are what you can bring to the great table of the universe.
You don’t need to be like any other person, wear a mask, disguise any of your flaws, hide your many layers and inner feelings, or feel useless when someone doesn’t choose, take preference or believe in you. You also don’t need to meticulously copy, learn or follow the recipe of someone else’s life.
Just like the Victoria Sponge cake, if you devote yourself to embracing your own classic recipe, which is what the universe used to make the one and only you, you can learn to nurture and cherish the show stopping beauty of your own life and purpose.
So, together, let’s rise like a fluffy sponge to the great occasion of life and whatever it has in store for us.
Let’s also get set to bake the masterpiece of our own life, so it can have the potential to taste as authentically sweet and filling within the compassionate belly of the whole universe - it is hungry to see what your deepest manifestations taste like …