“Be yourself. Above all, let Who you are, What you are, What you believe, shine through every sentence you write, every piece you finish.” ~ John Jakes
As kids, we live authentically, rarely afraid or embarrassed to seek out what we want or to speak our minds. As we age, we often put that authenticity aside while we chase our dreams, afraid that it might interfere with achieving success. But we never let that freedom go completely. We may (and I did) conform to society’s expectations while secretly nurturing our passions. And we may withhold opinions, though it doesn’t change the fact that we had or have them. Yet it’s that youthful audacity that, in part, frames who you become. The authentic you is your true self and, in living authentically, you live your truth, projecting who you really are.
Think about it… the easiest way to live your truth is to leave the expectations of others behind and live the way you feel most valuable. Yet why do many find doing this challenging?
Choosing to live an authentic life requires courage and inner strength. And most of us possess this. It takes being selfish in a healthy way by doing what you know is best for you, regardless of the opinions of others. It means getting completely honest with yourself and making a heart-strong commitment to be true to yourself. Each challenging yet doable, right?
If you value personal pursuits, don’t feel forced into a certain job just to make enough money to keep up with your neighbors. I did this. For decades. And there was little happiness in it. Conversely, if you prize success in business and all that comes with it, don’t let others’ perception of what’s right for you hold you back. Denying your unique truth can lead to feelings of failure or dissatisfaction because you aren’t acknowledging your true self. And many of us have experienced this.
To ponder, here is an action, an exercise, and a factoid associated with being authentic:
- Embrace your negative emotions. When you numb sadness and pain, you numb happiness and joy. Feeling the depths of your lows enables you to fully feel your highs. To be vulnerable is to be deeply seen. To be vulnerable is to be alive – to exist as your most authentic self.
- If you really knew me you’d know this: ________________. This is a prompt Tony Robbins gives to seminar participants. Not only does it prompt introspection and allow people to reveal essential aspects of themselves, it also builds trust, credibility and confidence with the person you are sharing it with. Authenticity does sometimes feel scary, but it builds intimacy.
- Authentic people sleep well. There is something highly diagnostic about peaceful sleep. Someone who sleeps unusually well is a person who is fundamentally in harmony with his or her world. If you consistently fail to sleep well, there can be any number of factors at play that are keeping you out of sync with you most inner central self. An inability to sleep soundly can signal a deficit in authenticity.
If you are unsure of who the authentic you really is, look inward and ask yourself what your purpose, values, and needs are. Honor your strengths and don’t give in to others’ expectations. Finding who you really are and then making the choice to embrace your dreams will take your life in a direction that is meaningful and fulfilling.
You can be your true self regardless of age. The rewards are yours to reap!
Why not choose to be the authentic you?