Human beings should be born with a warning label that says “caution, if you trade in your authenticity for safety you may experience the following – anxiety, eating disorders, addiction, rage, blame, resentment and inexplicable grief”.
What does living authentically mean?
Authenticity, being true to your created self and not being led by your thoughts and feelings which belong to your reactive self.
Making the decision that the path you are on is not really your own. This is where authenticity begins. This is the beginning of a relationship that will require courage. You will need to go within, face the fears, shine through the shadows and reclaim the life that you have given away in lieu of being accepted, in lieu of the idea of belonging.
Authenticity is defined as not false or copied; genuine and real. Representing one’s true nature and one’s own beliefs.
Brene Brown states that to be authentic, we must cultivate the courage to be imperfect and vulnerable. We have to believe that we are fundamentally worthy of love and acceptance, just as we are. She further states that authenticity is something we choose. It is a habit. One we can strengthen each time we choose it.
Why live inauthentically?
Today we measure people by their level of public recognition, their fame and fortune. We are quick to dismiss quiet, ordinary, hardworking people. In many instances we equate ordinary with boring or even more dangerous, ordinary has become synonymous with meaningless.
People of all ages are subjected to increasing levels of peer pressure, and social media platforms are the perfect forum in which this type of pressure is experienced. We seem to have forgotten, however, that peer pressure only works, not because the majority are right, but rather because we fear being wrong. Our fear of being wrong, of not belonging, not being accepted results in so much of our anxiety.
Remember that the only way to avoid criticism is to do nothing, say nothing and be nothing.
Living inauthentically has become the new norm. Everyone seems to be doing it. How do we know this? They tell us.
We are surrounded by conversations that reflect the unhappiness so many people carry, either about their work, their partner, their children, their family, their friends, the country and last but not least, about themselves.
Guilt, shame and self-criticism are some of the most destructive forces in your life, which is why forgiving yourself is one of the most powerful. Spending time in that self-imposed prison where you punish yourself for never meeting the high standards you have set for yourself will certainly not lead you to authenticity.
Forgiveness is key in your journey to living a fully authentic life. Forgive your self judgement and replace it with a celebration of all the things you have done well, even if it is only owning the potential within. The potential to touch a life, to make someone smile, the potential to imagine a different future, to take different actions and create the life you were born to live.
What is your greater risk, letting go of what people think or letting go of how you feel, what you believe, or what you are?
Taking the step towards authenticity
We are all pieces of the earth’s story and we each have a unique contribution which enhances the story when we are living authentically.
Do not ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you alive and go and do that because what the world needs are people who have come alive. Sacrificing who you are for the sake of what other people think simply isn’t worth it.
In this world choosing authenticity is an absolute act of resistance. Choosing to live and love with your whole heart is an act of defiance and you are going to confuse and terrify a lot of people, including yourself. Often your dreams threaten the dreams that society has already woven for you; dreams that emanate from the mind and not the heart.
They are the kind of dreams that cast aside individual expression in favour of conformity. The kind that teach you to swim with the crowd without making too many waves. Instead of fostering and empowering our unique gifts, the societal system churns out loyalty-rule-following workers, laden with debt, who find their only motivation through the unconscious worshipping of money and the deep desire to be worthy.
In choosing to live an authentic life, you are the most important opponent you have to overcome. Your most critical battles will be fought and won within yourself. Challenge the person you think you are in order to become the person you are capable of becoming. The person you were born to be.
I believe that the greatest sin is that of an unlived life.
Do not take your song to the grave with you.
The authentic you is more than enough.
In closing, there here is one thing I want to urge you to do. Avoid comparison like the plague. Imagine if Led Zeppelin compared themselves with Mozart, thinking “that guy is huge and he does not even have a drummer so lets ditch ours and maybe add some harps”.
Can you imagine the songs the world would never have heard?
What makes your soul purr? Of all the questions in the world, this is the most important.