5 ways to move towards a more authentic existence
What does it mean to live your life authentically? The definition of ‘authentic’ is: ‘of undisputed origin and not a copy; genuine’. To live authentically means we are being real and true to ourselves – we are carrying out our daily lives in accordance with our own goals and values, walking to the beat of our own drum in all that we do.
Being authentic means we let our personality shine through, we do not dampen it, regardless of any pressure from society, family, friends, colleagues or ourselves to be a certain way and act otherwise. Living authentically is to live wholeheartedly, true to the core of who we are.
The causes and symptoms of living inauthentically can show up in lots of different ways, they might look or feel like:
- Walking around with a knot in your stomach or a lump in your throat, feeling that something isn’t ‘quite right’ but not being able to put your finger on exactly what it is that’s wrong.
- A feeling of being trapped, perhaps in work or in a relationship, which could lead to having low mood or intense frustration with a particular situation.
- Constantly saying ‘yes’ to things, when you really want to say ‘no’ – living as a ‘people pleaser’ and putting others needs before your own.
- A sense that you are unable to fully express who you are, this might be feeling unable to communicate your needs or even feeling unable to wear the clothes you want, for fear of judgement.
- A desire to be perfect and do things perfectly as well as a need to have everyone you know and meet like you.
For some, too much inauthenticity can accumulate into all sorts of mental and physical issues; frustration, low mood, a jaw that doesn’t seem to relax, tense shoulders or a bad back maybe – it’s all an individual experience that can have a significant impact on our sense of wellness.
When we are not living in congruence with our true selves, we can begin to feel worn down and lost about who we are and where we are going. Oftentimes, living our lives with a mask on means it can become difficult to peel it away for fear of letting down those around us that we have worked so hard to please.
On a scale of one to 10 (with one being inauthentic and 10 being completely authentic), how authentically do you feel you are living your life?
How can coaching help?
If you feel like you could do with a hand to step into your true self, working with a coach through the below five things will support you a long way on that journey:
Understanding what YOUR personal values are, an assessment of the things that are important to YOU. Oftentimes, it can be easy to drift away from the things that really matter to you and create a disconnect between what you’re doing and what you really want.
Working to define and attach motivation to goals that are YOURS. Ensuring your goals are in alignment with your aforementioned values will contribute massively to enabling you to live authentically.
Working on building your sense of courage and self-belief to enable you to do things to help you improve authenticity, such as:
- Communicating your needs to let people know how you feel.
- Speaking up when you are asked to do something that doesn’t align with your goals and values.
- Wearing the clothes and acting in the way that represents you and getting to a point of being able to fully express yourself.
- Making mistakes and being OK with it.
Defining your boundaries and working on putting them in place in a way that feels right and comfortable to you, allowing you to take back your power.
5. Acceptance of self and vulnerability
A big part of living authentically comes with being accepting of yourself, with being kind and self-compassionate towards yourself. Being vulnerable and an imperfectly perfect human and accepting your humanness, allows you to take a great big step into yourself.
Ask yourself, what one thing could I do now to live this day just 5% more authentically?
Authenticity is the courage to be yourself. The world and the people in it deserve to experience your true greatness. If you feel that you could be more authentic in your life, imagine the freedom available to you, if you choose to do this work.