Becoming your most authentic self, unexpectedly, can take a fair bit of work. Feeling aligned at your core means you need to understand and embrace exactly who you are and this doesn’t always come naturally when we are conditioned to show up in ways that are required for a way of life that, maybe, we didn’t choose. It starts with accepting yourself - the good, the bad, and everything in between. Get comfy… we’re going to dive into the process of fostering authenticity in an increasingly inauthentic world.
All around us, there is pressure to be ‘authentic’. But, what does this mean, really? Carl Jung once said that it’s a privilege to become who you truly are. So, genuine authenticity is the goal. We know that much. First, though, we need to understand, accept and embrace who we are at our core.
From a psychological standpoint, authenticity can be broken down into 4 components:
Understanding one's feelings, values, qualities, strengths as well as one’s weaknesses.
Remaining motivated to learn about the different aspects of the self and continuing to deepen, expand and explore what you discover.
Recognising and accepting both the positive and negative aspects of the self.
The ability to stay open to all kinds of information about the self without being selective (and without judgment).
Genuine self-assessment free of bias such as denying one's flaws, rationalising unhealthy patterns, belittling one's successes.
Showing up in relationships in a real, open and honest way which enables others to see all sides to your personality.
The ability to engage in genuine conversations and confessions with the loved ones that, in turn, can foster trust and intimacy.
Making a conscious choice of staying true to one's core values, preferences and priorities rather than trying to please others, fulfil external expectations or fit into the social norms
"There is no "should" in authentic." - Diane Motti
Many studies have shown that living an authentic life fosters greater physical and emotional wellbeing, the ability to make well-informed choices, achieve goals and enjoy close relationships with others. I know that points above may seem a bit cerebral and full of psychological jargon. But, don’t panic. I wouldn’t leave you high and dry with all that theory without balancing it out with some practicality.
So, how exactly do you apply these principles and cultivate an authentic life? I suggest starting right here. Brew yourself a cup of herbal tea and get comfortable. Grab your journal and let’s get started.
Return To The Basics
In your journal, answer these questions:
What are my values, dreams and core beliefs in life?
Where did they come from?
Are they genuinely mine, or were they instilled in my childhood by external sources?
The first thing to know about authenticity is that it will require you to challenge your beliefs and entrenched thinking patterns. It helps to remember that thoughts are just thoughts. They are not YOU. Recognise what resonates - write it down - and simply let go of everything else.
A Ritual For Remembering Your Essence
Rituals sprinkle our lives with a pinch of magic. We really love them. Nourish your mind, body and soul by practising stillness and groundedness with this new ritual:
Light your favourite, stimulating, incense. We suggest Home for this exercise. Sit in a comfortable seat, with your eyes closed. Try to silence your mind and feel a spaciousness within. As the incense burns and the scent becomes palpable within the space, let it enliven your senses. Remember to keep breathing and focus on your breath and the aroma surrounding you. If you are new to meditation, thoughts might arise. If it helps you, try emptying all of these thoughts into a journal as soon as you finish (or, even better, try and empty your thoughts before you start your meditation).
You can even try The Daily Ritual of Morning Pages. This activity, among other things, unleashes your innate creativity, brings all your values and desires into focus and helps you to stay connected to yourself.
Explore Uncharted Territory:
It's essential to expose yourself to new ideas, new hobbies, different walks of life and get out of your comfort zone as often as possible. By exploring uncharted territory, you can discover new facets or who you are or establish a deeper sense of self.
Try out a new recipe, ask your friends about their favourite books and read them with fervor, experiment with different breathing techniques or exercises. Most importantly, cultivate a curiosity towards life.
The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are. - Carl Jung
Becoming who you are at your very core is a lifelong process. There is no final destination. Think of it like yoga - it is an ongoing practice. An authentic life will always be in motion, constantly taking on new forms, colours and textures. To remain authentic, you need to be aware and open to changes within yourself. Authentic evolution is the goal.
Are you ready? Let us know your thoughts!