What does the authentic self mean? It is who you are, including your innate wisdom, in your deepest place — in your core. What does it mean to live authentically? It means you must go inward and spend time defining who you are, what you want, how you will act. You must take You seriously.
You will change definitions of what success means, what beauty means, what power means. You must be aware — as often as possible — of the choices you make, the actions you take, your impact on others, and your responses to others and the world around you. You must go from reaction to action. You must become grateful for all you have instead of miserable about what you’ve lost or not acquired. You will ask questions about your spiritual beliefs and connections.
All this must be done to navigate the steps from a non-authentic life to an authentic life.
Why should we look within? For many of us, we yearn for a deeper peace in life that we haven’t been able to achieve — the feeling that life lacks something. Maybe we’re downright miserable. We want mastery with our life, choosing our way instead of running in the dust that life’s race has a way of making us run. Perhaps we want a spiritual connection or a stronger connection.
Here is a secret: you can’t have everything figured out before you take the first step. And, all you need is the desire to take the first step. In fact, desire is the first step. You’ve already discovered that you’re not as happy as you’d like, whether it’s meeting goals or having honest relationships. You’ve already started to go within. You’ve started to search your soul and have emotional reckoning time. Acknowledge this and feel good about this!
Taking that first step isn’t easy. You may also have discovered that it takes courage to continue down this path. But from this courage you will develop strong emotional and psychological muscles.
How do we continue taking steps? Just keep doing it. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then take a break. We all need rest stops along the way. Resting is as important as working. Rest stops are good places to learn how to be gentle, to lessen the pressure we are so good at placing on ourselves.
The workout is worth looking at every fear, worth every tear, every stumble and fall that comes from restructuring our lives into the direction of finding our authentic self.
The path of becoming and maintaining our authentic self requires us to discipline our ego, listen to our self, and slow down. Remember, any skill takes time and maintenance. Learning to live from our authentic selves is a skill learned through consistent attention. Once we start getting the hang of it, the amount of work goes down and the amount of enjoyment and competency goes up.
Wisdom comes in bits and spurts; it doesn’t come all at once at the end of the journey. First off, there is no end to this journey. There is no end to our depth. Secondly, we become more authentic the stronger we become. The more authentic we become, the wiser we are.
The wise person living an authentic life will always be presented with choices and will understand this. The wise person living an authentic life will know that the outcome of a choice — an action we make — will depend on all the strength and awareness we have at that very moment in life. There are times when we’re not our best. We all slip sometimes. Being authentic in that moment allows us to be easy on ourselves and find our center again.
What do we get from living an authentic life? Self-awareness, self-knowledge and trusting your intuition — knowing your true self. You will act deliberately according to your values and desires, you will respond from your genuine self. These facets of authenticity create a vulnerability to life that is your choice, not your reaction. Decisions are easier because you respond from your honest self. And when you’re in touch with this part of you, your values are front and center. You are living an authentic life.