How do we create a life we love? And how do we know what that life will look like?
Like everything the quest for authenticity has become muddied by overuse of the latest ‘buzz’ word. It’s unfortunate because I love authenticity as a word and concept, but I’m becoming more and more wary of using it because, well, everyone else is and it’s left me questioning with what intent? Do they even know what it means? And are they really being authentic?
I’m no expert, but I see ‘living authentically’ as removing the mask so many of us hide behind in an attempt to fit in, fly under the radar or to stand out from the pack. It’s about being our true self – not the self that others want us to be, or who we think they want us to be. It’s being comfortable in our own skin.
I think authenticity is also about being ‘true’ to ourselves. In a nutshell, it’s paying our self some respect, cutting out the bullshit, saying what we mean, meaning what we say, and fronting up as OUR SELF, warts and all. It is when we start doing this we will FINALLY start creating the live we love!
I’ll stick my hand up and admit that I’m a reformed people pleaser.
I’ve spent a large majority of my life trying to be someone else – either the person I thought others wanted me to be or the person they wanted me to be. Be it bosses, friends, family, men…it was all the same. I was so desperate for approval, to be liked, to be told I’d done a good job. Yes, I was a success but deep down I was a mess. Depression, chronic anxiety, and fatigue. I was living in a constant state of turmoil, swimming against the tide and in total conflict with myself.
As soon as I sat down and analysed my own values system (admittedly after a number of burnouts), I recognised the people pleasing rut I was stuck in, and I’ll be completely honest with you, it was a bloody hard habit to break! At the crux of the issue was deep-seated self-esteem issues stemming from childhood bullying and a trauma, as well as the fact that I associated my own self-worth with work, hard work. I mean, if I wasn’t good at my work then who was I?
And there you have it. THE question…Who was I?
The last three years have been an intense period of self-exploration and discovery whereby I have rediscovered who I am, what my passions are, and most importantly, what my values are. I am happy to say that I now know who I am and I actually like myself, warts and all.
It has worked wonders for me since embracing it earlier this year. Since I’ve endeavored to be more authentic in my life and career I’ve been a whole lot less stressed, healthier and – shock horror – HAPPIER!
Finding my why wasn’t easy. It was actually really hard, but in taking the step to finally focus on me and what I wanted rather than what everyone else either wanted from me or for me… to finally look within rather than outside of myself, well, that was the start I needed.
Here’s a little exercise you can try in a free workbook you can download.
Now grab yourself an old school notebook or some paper (A3 is a perfect size), pick up some swanky coloured pens, grab yourself a bevy of your choosing, UNPLUG, and go somewhere comfortable where you can spend some time pondering HOW you are living your life and whether you are being true to you!
Oh, and before you get started, I want you to make a promise to me to dedicate some YOU-time to this exercise, even if it’s only 15 minutes, and by YOU I mean only YOU!
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