We all experience periods where it feels like we’re just going through the motions, or being forced to live a life we didn’t ask for. This is a sure sign that we’re not living authentically. After all, to live authentically is to live in a manner that aligns with our purpose, beliefs, or desires.
What’s holding you back from your most authentic life? You might have fallen into one of these three anti-authenticity traps.
The notion that acting appropriately in a certain situation means you’re being “fake”.
There’s a common misconception that behaving in a way that fits the scenario at hand is inauthentic. For instance, we have to maintain certain levels of decorum in business settings, as well as at events like weddings and funerals.
For the person interested in more authenticity, they may wonder if this means they’re not being themselves. But the truth is, an authentic and well-rounded person possesses awareness. They know why it’s important to present themselves in certain ways at certain times, and they know how to achieve this.
But if you’re still worried that your adherence to social mores signals inauthenticity, consider this. Are you accepting a ton of invites to events you don’t actually want to attend? Do you dread showing up to that office job? If so, your authenticity issue may lie with your choice to be there, not your behavior.
The idea that you can THINK your way into a more authentic life.
“Who am I?” you wonder, and so naturally, you start to think about this. Your goals, your past, your preferences. You even inventory material parts of the “identity” such as clothes, car, and career.
Thinking about all of this on a loop, going deeper each go-round, will never help you unearth your authenticity. In fact, we must quiet the mind altogether.
Authentic people exercise their intuition. They know that feeling over thinking is, at times, most useful for living the life they truly want. When the mind is constantly active and relied upon, the ego has many opportunities to suppress our authentic desires.
This is why we meditate, this is why we play the singing bowl, and this is why we look for mindful moments everywhere. The ego has less of a foothold during these practices, and it’s precisely where we go to check in with our true selves.
Your willingness to be influenced.
It’s time to let go of things that don’t make us feel good about ourselves. Does it mean we should up and quit our jobs, eat whatever we crave, and say whatever we want? No, as doing this usually breeds more emotional discontent after the fact, like shame or regret.
Instead, we should be conscious of what we let in that pollutes or drains our energy. Too much time spent on social media, for example, is a negative influence that distorts how we see ourselves and the world. It also hampers our ability to feel grateful for what we already have.
It might also mean that we have to let go or change some relationships we have in real life, too. If certain people make you feel anxious, it’s a good sign that they pull you away from your authentic self.
What does authenticity mean to you? What part of your life has been most challenging with respect to living authentically? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll see you again very soon.