Is authenticity the fast track to happiness? What does it even mean to be your authentic self? To me, it is that your outward actions and how you show up in the world are aligned with who you are on the inside. And by the inside, I mean your inner essence, your true nature, who you were born to be. One of my favorite quotes is “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” Mahatma Gandhi.
Yes, it’s a tall order, especially with so much conditioning we’re not even fully aware of , from the expectations of others in our younger years to all the disempowering stuff we are fed through social media – the stuff that triggers comparison, and aspirations that are not our own. This is also about being comfortable in our own skin. So today we’ll explore 7 ways to be our authentic self.
Have YOU ever felt that you wanted to live more authentically? What thoughts have gotten in your way? I, myself am a private person, so it is hard for me sometimes to straddle both sides of the fence. For me, what has helped the most, is a deep desire to have even a small part of this be of service. It takes you out of your mind and into action. See if that resonates with you too… The thing is most people have parts they love about themselves and parts that are more difficult to welcome in. But there’s great freedom in being at peace with all of our sides. (And just before we go deeper, I want to invite you to like, share and above all subscribe. We have so much good stuff coming for you, I don’t want you to miss a thing.)
And now… let’s jump into the fears that can get in our way. For many people there’s a nagging fear of being fully authentic. Would people like me if they knew what I was really like? For that worry, it’s important to challenge the negative beliefs. Instead of telling yourself, “I can’t be myself because people will judge me” flip that to say “I owe it to myself to BE myself. I don’t need anyone’s validation but my own.”
And, if you’re used to people -pleasing and avoiding conflict, remind yourself “I don’t need anyone else’s permission to be my authentic self. That’s a decision that I, alone, can make.” I used to have red hair, for years and years. When my hairdresser started introducing blog highlights and then more and more, my friend who’s a redhead was SO upset that I was changing that she made very blatant comments that she wanted me to go back to my old look. But, I liked the changes so I had to remind myself that’s my decision, and she may always feel that way, and that’s OK!
And yes, there is some vulnerability involved. Sharing how we really feel can be uncomfortable especially if we don’t know how the other person will respond. And in all matters, especially relating to your values, views or passions, it can be scary to put yourself out on a limb and risk rejection or failure. But if we share our so called “flaws” instead of hiding them, that in itself is a sign of strength. Let me give you an example, my neck sometimes bothers me. It now has creases and lines and I wonder when did that even happen?
But when I mention it to you, this so-called “flaw” of mine, I almost feel a sigh of relief; it’s almost funny. In fact, it stops fear in its tracks. I’ve met so many women who are thinking the same things – it becomes a crazy bond that brings us together.
What challenges or scares us forces us to face things head on and draw on our inner strengths. Here’s another example: If you feel like the group around you is not supportive of you showing up authentically, that’s a real sign, that you are outgrowing that group. They’re used to seeing you as you were before. And how’s that working? It’s clearly time to make some new friends, people who share your values, vision, and interests. What I want you to remember is that people can say anything they want – it’s not personal! It reflects where THEY are. It’s our job to recognize that it’s coming from where they are at, and instead of criticizing ourselves, remember to honor ourselves and celebrate our good intentions, willingness to put ourselves out there, and willingness to grow past fear. Action is the antidote to fear, every time.
Now, here are some practical things to remember:
The more we can be aligned with who we are, the more we can do and BE who we are here to be in this lifetime. The invitation I want to leave you with is have more fun with it – welcome in more joy. That will ripple out wherever you go.
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