My 2 1/2 year old nephew Patrick and 20 month old niece Orla, reminded me yesterday, of the true value of being authentic.

Orla, the younger of the 2 cousins is a very sociable, confident and happy child. Patrick also a very happy and bright child, has a more gentler funny and playful side, who often demonstrates a straight forward, matter fact perspective on things.

After a bit of participation in an hour’s role play with a belt, off a terry towelling bath robe from the washing line. Used as a snake, spiders man web, a cowboy’s lasoo, skipping ropes and belt to tie him to the whirligig. Patrick totally being his natural self, having fun decided it was time for a game of football.

His dad had just came home, so as I and my sister, sat in the garden clearly expecting him to ask dad to play with him, to the amusement of my sister and brother n law. No he wanted right reason or not, his Auntie Eileen, as according to him, I was great at kicking a ball. Now to give you a clearer picture, I am anything BUT fit, athletic or energetic. I am not even 4ft 10, about a size 14 and as someone recovering from M.E. of 25 years, my maximum form of exercise in the last 20 years is a few lengths in a local pool. I was already wiped out being a pretend horse for the cowboy, holding the belt as a skipping rope and having to untangle him from the whirligig. Plus well there was me, wearing a rather high pair of peep toe sandals.

I  rather sheepishly admit,  I wasn’t exactly as enthusiastic, so I gave the ball a rather feeble kick. I simply didn’t fancy feeling absolutely burn out after running around the garden like a loony.

But instantly, as Patrick looked at me a tad disappointed. Was it, that I wasn’t a very good kicker after all, or maybe what he saw, was a complete lack of enthusiasm, lack of honesty.  Don’t get me wrong after the initial expression, he had a little giggle of acceptance. But you know what, he didn’t see me, as my conditioning, the story I had told myself..he never saw me as a woman in her mid 40’s a bit over weight, lacking energy with MY perceived limitations. But as someone who in his mind had that ability to be kick that ball around their large garden.

I then witnessed Orla, all 20 months of her rather sociable self, walk very confidently and firmly over to the neighbours wall,  talk very directly to this stranger, in only her vest and nappy, may I add ( well lets say she has a habit of arriving in a rather pretty dress and leaving with something quite unrecognisable) Patrick a little bit more reserved, giggled at the bolshiness of his younger cousin. The innocence of babes, but so much more, they weren’t yet entrenched up in the minefield of conditioning, beliefs or values that so often curbs our true nature.

Reminding me how much when we are being ourself’s, being the natural us, we shine out as something magical, we are in the zone, we are simply being our authentic self. And yes we are so much more, than the perspective we have of ourselves. And the beauty of when children are allowed to express themselves freely, they shine their unique abilities, their potential, they can grow and shine even more powerful MAGIC.

In my work as a stress management coach, I regularly encourage adults to take up a hobby or an activity again, one they loved as a child. So many people give up passions or hobbies because someone said they weren’t that great at it or that they viewed it as a complete waste of time. The simple things we love to do, can be so therapeutic, but they also can bring and nurture so much joy and passion back into our lives. But equally this is also one of the easiest and healthiest ways to connect to our core Authentic Self. It reminds us of what we naturally are…

If you would like to get closer to your more authentic self, nurture your unique abilities, your purpose or passion. I offer various sessions and programmes that can help you do that. Help you live a more happier and healthier life, by simply being the natural you. Check out our new programmes at


Eileen Burns