thoughts & ponderings
Authenticity has become a bit of a catchcry of late with businesses and marketing guru’s throwing it around willy-nilly. Sadly, it seems to have muddied the waters of what it means on a personal level to be truly authentic.
Let’s start with what it is to be inauthentic. You may be surprised by some of the difficulties we encounter due to living a life that is not really aligned with our higher purpose. Shame, guilt and anxiety can be experienced from suppressing our opinions and trading our values for the perceived security of acceptance and belonging.
Are you a people pleaser?
If you are wondering what I would like you to answer to this, then you probably are.
The problem with being a people pleaser is that you may be living small in order to be liked or to please (and therefore be accepted) by others. You don’t say what you think in case it offends other people, you don’t stand tall in fear of what others may think of you (which, by the way is none of your business but that’s a whole other subject). By trying to be what everybody else needs us to be, we forget how to be what we need ourselves to be. And let’s face it, at some point trying to be eleventy thousand different people is not going to work out. You are stifling all your gold and letting others write your story.
Would you say you are a perfectionist?
This can block you from being authentic because often perfectionists are unable or unwilling to push their boundaries in fear of making mistakes or appearing …insert gasp here… imperfect and less than in the eyes of others. Well, here’s something to consider; mistakes are perfect opportunities to learn and grow. One of things you will probably learn is that people are so busy trying to maintain their own mask of perfection or making their own mistakes to even notice yours.
Do you hide behind masks?
No, I don’t mean that literally, but more along the lines of adapting your behaviour to fit in with certain people or situations like a chameleon. We all have masks by the way, which is fine as long as we recognise them as just that. But we can get lost by wearing too many masks and lose touch with our authenticity.
So, now we will look at what it means to be authentic. Authenticity is to have integrity, know our own values and to live by them regardless of what is going on around us. Authenticity allows us to experience real love and acceptance because we have dropped our masks and shown ourselves warts and all to others and they say ‘yes, I love you.’ When we are authentic people will feel comfortable and safe around us because honestly, people can sense when we are not being authentic.
It may sound a little daunting and it will take conscious and consistent effort because it is natural to adapt ourselves to situations and people we are with but as I said earlier this is not to be confused with a complete change of character.
I would suggest the first step in living your authentic life is to do some deep reflective work on yourself. Let’s face it, you can’t be authentic if you don’t know who you are. Meditation and journaling are great ways to be still and do innerwork. Get in touch with your inner child and look at things in life through her eyes before all the external stuff like obligations and expectations got dumped on you.
Some other ways to become an authentic person is to connect with people on a sincere level. This means getting to know them authentically and listening to them. Make the effort to find the things that you have in common. Try to understand them and see things from their perspective while sharing yours. Connect on the plane of our shared humanness and discard the things skin colour, gender, sexuality, religion. They don’t matter.
Take notice of your gut feelings. Feeling uncomfortable about something can be because it isn’t aligned with your authentic values. The more you become aware of this, the easier it gets. You may notice that you get certain feelings in your body that indicate whether you are people pleasing or not. Once again, when you make the decision to be aware of these feelings and signs, the more you will recognise them and be guided by them.
You’re here now for a reason so show up and shine as you. Nobody else does it better.
© White Sage Wellbeing & contributors. 2017