I'd say embracing this has been one of my biggest learning experiences; I believe we’re strongest when practising what Brene Brown calls 'letting go of who we THINK we're supposed to be and embracing who we are'.
So how do we become (and remain!) authentic in a modern world that is all about the external stimuli? A world where we spend our time looking into the window of everyone else’s life; comparing ourselves to celebrities, spending our time scrolling through ‘perfect lives’ on instagram and facebook, judging our lives based on what we see around us.
The answer is by connecting back to our self. Spending time to really get to know ourselves without any distractions; Learning how we like to live; what makes us tick, what we enjoy, what we don’t enjoy, who makes us smile, how we want to spend our time, what our values are, what our boundaries are, what our limiting beliefs are, what we believe about the world……….when we are true to ourselves and honour this, we are being the best version of ourselves.
To honour ourselves fully we must recognise that we actually have the answers to our own questions within us. We simply need to take the time to sit with the questions or issues and give ourselves the space to find within us what we need to know. When we come to our own conclusions by listening to what we need we are in the driving seat of our lives. Our decision is based on us feeling 100% happy with the outcome and not allowing external comments to derail us. This puts us in a powerful position because others cannot tell us how to life our lives, only WE know what makes US tick. Just concentrate on doing YOU and notice the difference it makes.
Living authentically means listening to ourselves, how we want to spend our time, how we want to move forwards. This does not mean that we start to bulldoze those around us; it’s ok to say no to things we do not wish to do, its how we say it that is important. Practising kindness and empathy towards others is a good start; treating those around you how you wish to be treated yourself. Showing respect. By being honest you are also respecting yourself; your choices matter too. Once we start to notice how being honest graciously is acknowledged by the people in our lives, we realise that we will still be accepted even for saying no.
The alternative option to practicing authenticity is to deflect the responsibility of how we live our life by leaving it to ‘fate’ or by using others as the excuse as to why we aren’t where we’d like to be (“I can’t do that, my husband wouldn’t allow it”/ “But what would so-and-so think?’ /”How would I even get there….?”)
By living life this way we relinquish our control. Not meeting our goals becomes everyone else’s fault, not our own. There is a high likelihood of ending up miserable because we are never achieving. Deflecting and blaming others for our shortfall can also lead to increased anxiety. All the time we are living for others and not practising authenticity we are striving to fit a mould that doesn’t suit us. Ironically, the likelihood is it won’t end up suiting them either!! This is ESPECIALLY true within relationships. When there are others to consider it can be easy to slip back into old patterns of who we think we're supposed to be to that person. It can actually cause the end of a relationship. Have you ever had someone say to you 'you're not the person I fell in love with'? There is every likelihood that at some point within that relationship you unconsciously moulded yourself into what you thought the other person wanted.
It takes effort to remain authentic and not get swept along into other peoples model of the world, what THEY believe is a correct way to be and live; whether that person is a boss, spouse, partner, best friend or child. Authenticity is something we have to consciously practice until it becomes an unconscious way of being.
We need to recognise our boundaries and how much we're prepared to give of ourselves, without losing ourselves in the process. Once we do this, life becomes easier. We are coming from the point of us, using our internal compass to direct us. We are in control of our thoughts and feelings. There is less fear because we are being true to ourselves and honest to those around us. People in our lives will respect our truth and honesty because they know where they stand with us. Living authentically means we are truly practising living as the kind of person we want to be.
Helen is a London based Cognitive Hypnotherapist, NLP practitioner & Coach. Graduating from The Quest Institute in February 2018 with a Hypnotherapy Practitioner Diploma and NLP practitioner certificate, she has a passion to inspire and empower people with the knowledge that they can change the way they experience life by reframing outdated thoughts, feelings and beliefs. Helen is currently completing a Master Practitioner course in Cognitive Hypnotherapy and has studied parts integration therapy with Brian Roet. You can find out more about Helen on her website or connect with her on Instagram