Living an authentic life is key to your success and overall emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being, but not everyone knows what it takes to live authentically or where to begin. This post provides readers with 10 ways to start living an authentic life now.
If you’re not sure about whether or not you’re living an authentic life, take a moment to answer the following questions:
Do you ever feel restless, like there’s something you’re supposed to be doing, but you can’t figure out what it is?
Do you ever feel like pieces of you somehow got lost in the shuffle and no matter how much you try, you can’t seem to find them, or where to begin?
If you answered “yes” to one or both of these questions, you haven’t been living an authentic life.
The words “Authentic Life” have been thrown around a lot in the last few years, yet not very many people know what the term means.
So, what is an authentic life, and why is it so important that we live one?
To answer this question, let’s take a little detour into my life journey.
I had one hell-of-a midlife crisis.
It started with a simple question self-help expert, author and motivational speaker, Tony Robbins, asked on one his CDs:
“Who are you?”
My reaction to the question was quite dramatic. I even blurted out the word “Shit!”
For conservative, churchgoing, people-pleasing me, that was a major taboo. But what I realized about myself that day was worse than my excited utterance.
I was a mom, a wife, a career woman, a great friend, and I was and still am very proud of fulfilling those roles.
But living authentically is not about the roles we fulfill. It’s about who we are at the core and about being true to oneself, and in those two areas I was batting zero.
Like many of you, I was molded and shaped into someone else’s idea of who and what I should be, and because I was programmed to make others happy, I took on the false identity and denied myself to the point of completely disregarding my own happiness.
As a result, I was sad, unhappy, depressed and felt lost for most of my life.
An unauthentic life is no life at all.
That’s why it’s important to know what it takes to live authentically, and to love ourselves enough to step out and into an authentic life.
How to Start Living an Authentic Life Right Now
I had to find and redefine myself so that I could live the life I was meant to live and be who I was meant to be. Two words stood out and stand out during the process–Practice and Repetition.
Living an authentic life is a process, not an event, so don’t be hard on yourself if you revert to old behavior patterns that don’t serve you well.
I do from time to time.
When it happens, I remind myself that just like with a child taking her first steps, practice and repetition will make my self-love muscle stronger.
If you fall do like I do:
Be patient with yourself, get up and keep walking.
Here are 10 ways that you can begin right this minute to live an authentic life.
1. Listen to your inner voice. It’s your internal compass. It’ll always let you know what’s acceptable and what isn’t.
2. Don’t let anyone put out the fire burning inside of you. That fire is your authentic self pointing the way to what inspires you, makes you feel alive, and motivates you to reach higher.
3. Pay attention to what doesn’t feel congruent. If it confuses you and doesn’t bring you peace, chances are great it’s not for you. Don’t second guess yourself. Just because someone else thinks its right for you doesn’t make it so.
4. Establish clear boundaries. If something or someone doesn’t serve you well, remove it or them from your life, or establish clear parameters if you’ve no choice but to interact with it or them.
5. Give yourself permission to be vulnerable. Cry if and when you need to. Don’t ever allow anyone to tell you how you should or shouldn’t feel about an issue. Your emotions are yours. No one has a right to to regulate them for you.
6. Nurture and care for yourself. If you’re happy and healthy mentally, spiritually and physically, you’ll be better equipped to interact with, and take care of family and friends.
7. Don’t be afraid to go against the flow. Be willing to compromise, but not to sacrifice your values or beliefs to please or appease others.
8. Be comfortable in your own skin. Hold your ground. Say what you mean without saying it mean.
9. Keep a journal. Make it a habit to write something in it daily. You’ll be surprised how much direction you can derive from your writing, and how much you’ll say, “Who the hell is this person?” a year after you start journaling.
Last but not least…
10. Practice Self-love and Honor yourself. You are unique, special, talented, intelligent, beautiful and so deserving of good things in life, first of which is giving yourself a chance to live your most authentic life.