“The privilege of a lifetime is to be who you really are.” ~C. G. Jung
It is joyous to live life authentically, but many in our world probably do not. It’s not for lack of desire; it’s just that they aren’t sure what it means and how to do this.
There are lots of ways to know thyself. If you’re open to giving this more thought and some effort, here are seven simple actions you can tap into and strengthen your authenticity.
Meditate. I know, jump on the bandwagon. Everyone is recommending mediation. But think about it, before we can listen to the inner core of our authentic selves, we need to learn how to quiet the “noise” that hinders our thoughts by meditating regularly. Did you know you can effectively meditate for 5-10 minutes?
- Drop the defenses. If we live so we can be honest about our lives, we don’t need to hide behind a wall of pretense that we often end up believing ourselves. When we bring down the wall, we get to see the world outside, and better understand our place in it. The new view can be quite refreshing!
- Stop justifying what you do. You don’t need to explain every action. The goal is to know yourself well enough that you know your actions are justified.
- Exit “the same old” mentality. Be willing to do something different. Expose yourself to different ways of thinking, mingle with people who have different ideas and opinions than you. Listen to them and think about what they say. You don’t have to agree with them.
- Push your limits, safely. Think of something you’ve always wanted to do but did not dare. Find a way to do it now. Take a hike in the wilderness, in silence. Maybe a Vision Quest. Listen to your heart.
- Listen to yourself. How many characters speak through your mouth? Do they truly speak for you and your core values? Or are you parroting someone else’s thoughts without benefit of your own?
- Ask for honest feedback. Then be open to what you hear. We can never know ourselves as others see us if they will not tell us what they observe. Ask two groups of people: those who care for you so much they are willing to risk our anger to help us, and those who know you well but don’t care if we are angry with them or not.
The American psychologist Abraham Maslow said,
“Instead of spending our lives trying to satisfy our deficiency needs, we can become more self-actualizing by creating and pursuing meaningful life purposes. We are self-actualizing if we pursue meanings and values beyond ourselves and our families. We transcend our earlier concern for what other people think and focus instead on being the persons we choose to be. In short, we grow away from conformity toward autonomy.”
Which way are you growing?