What does 'Living Authentic' Mean?
Living authentic is the core of our existence. It is what makes us 'us'. When we are not living authenticity we can feel like even if life is all we wanted it to be that there is just this giant misstep. Like there is a hole that needs patched up.
Living authentically is the Self Awareness plus the Courage to Act from our Heart
When we are living authentically we can feel at peace with love for our self free from the anxiety of worry for the future, and without the depression from our past decisions. We are living honoring what serves our body and our mind wholeheartedly.
Recently I had a chance to talk on this concept with a few close friends. What I found really surprised me. Not because of what they said, but because I had forgot about my journey to where I am with understanding Authenticity. It surprised me because it made me remember just how lost I had once felt about where I was going. Here I am, encouraging others to live authentically, when I forgot what it meant to not know what that really means. One of the women I talked to is an accomplished business women. She is amazing in her career leading a team of sales individuals that rivals any in the country. She is getting close to retirement and is worried about what this will mean for her. She is struggling with what her purpose will be and is anxious about it. When I was talking to her about inspiring others to live authentically, she automatically said, "yes, that is easy for you. You are an artists and you know what love. I am not an artist, so what am I going to fill my days with? What is my purpose?" The other women I had a chance to speak with is dealing with a very different time in her life. She is an amazing girl, with a great family, and all the opportunities in the world right in from of her, but she feels like she has no idea what will make her happy to do. She is feeling trapped in a place of doing what all her family is expecting her to do and not understanding her own potential. These women are in very different places in there life, but both are suffering from a sense of fulfillment that stems from not knowing their true authentic self.
The first step is understanding difference between authenticity and purpose...
Both women I talked with are going through a time of self reflection and understanding themselves better. The key is to understanding that purpose and authenticity, while they work hand-in-hand, are two different entities.
Purpose: the reason for which something is done or created or which something is done or exists; have as one's intention or objective.
Authentic: of undisputed origin; genuine.
I think this can be summed up as to be authentic means to be our self and to know one's self. Our purpose is how we project our authenticity in a way that benefits our self and the world.
Finding our Authenticity has to come first-
To live authentically means to know what is right for us at our most basic core. Throw everyone, every social pressure, every obligation, everything out the window and just listen to what your own body and mind is telling you is right for your body and your mind. If you really listen to this with everything you have, your purpose, the way in which to manifest your authenticity will come. This is not easier for one person or another because they may have certain interests or talents that are different than your own. This is a journey for every individual that encompasses true self reflection and listening to our self, body and mind with all we have.
5 Ways to Move Closer to a More Authentic Life
So where do we start? The key to finding our authentic self is not just saying, "okay, now I will pay attention to what I want in life." No- it is finding ourselves in the quiet. For many of us our genuine self has been berried under years and years of social muck. For others it is simply that life is changing and a new season will bring to light a new piece of one's self. No matter where you are at the best place to start is with these four basic steps...
1. Be strong enough to say, "I matter, and need time for reflection"
2. Meditate, Journal, Pray
3. Listen to your heart- even if it's really quiet, really listen
4. Be strong enough to live your authentic life
5. Surround yourself with a reflection of your authentic self
I recently read The Magnolia Story (which, by the way I absolutely loved!). It is the autobiography of Chip and Joanna Gaines from the hit show, Fixer Upper. I just adore them. Not because of their outward success of their show, but because of their authenticity that is so evident in how they live their life from their heart. I could talk about them all day, but I wanted to share one particular part of their story that really hit home for me. In this particular part she talks about a time when she needed some time to think. She asked Chip to drop her off at a park for some quiet time where she had a few moments of quiet self reflection. At the end of this time she talks of this voice in her heart and her gut that so quietly, but definitively gave her, her next steps for her life. I loved this, for 5 reasons- 1) she was strong enough to tell the people she loved around her she needed time to connect with herself; 2) she took that quiet time of self reflection to connect with her authentic self. I like to think she did a little meditating or praying, although she doesn't say; 3) she listened; 4) she was strong enough to tell the people she loved, even though it was going to be a big change for their life, that she needed to listen to her heart; 5) she surrounded herself with things, people, encouragement to make that small voice a reality.
My challenge to you this week is to schedule a time for self reflection. It is so easy to say we don't have time, but that is step 1- Be strong enough to say, "I matter, and need time for reflection". Find a quiet place that represents you and only you and just be. Then, the hard part, really listen to only you. Not the influences of life, but just you. You are not looking for purpose here, just what you mind and body wants to tell you. Get to know your authentic self. Then don't be afraid to carry that authenticity with you. You don't have to do some big thing, just keep listening to that authentic piece of you. It may just feel like a little peace in your heart to start, and not a big proclamation. regardless of what is going on around you, keep that authentic piece of you in your pocket. Make an effort to bring a representation of this little piece of authenticity around you in a physical form- this may be a book, a painting, a podcast, anything that will physically remind you of this little piece of you that you found.
This is a Start to Living An Authentic Life you Love.
As always, I must recommend "You are a Badass", by Jen Sincero. Love this book for always gearing me back toward my authenticity.