What does it mean to be Authentic? Why do many, myself included, find it so difficult to be authentic? You know the authentic ones, the ones that seem to have no problem expressing their discontent with bad service at a restaurant or speaking their minds with abandon. Many times they are the very ones, we wished would just be quiet and avoid like the plague. However, these individuals also intrigue us as well, since even though we hate to admit it, we are a tad bit envious of these individuals being able to express their true selves without any compromise. We tend to use justifications as, I am not that rude or I am not that inconsiderate. However, if we look deep within ourselves, I bet there are moments we have done what these individuals did, but got reprimanded or judged, possibly shunned, for our lack of proper judgment. Hence we learned to shine our light and opinions a little less to avoid the negative consequences.
So how can you become authentic, not sacrifice elements of who you are, and truly be yourself? This is where knowing and understanding your feelings, and knowing how your body responds to stress, help tremendously. Your body is constantly giving you feedback, letting you know when something feels right or wrong, such as increased blood pressure, respiratory distress, pain, and stiffness. Learn how to tune into these messages, decipher, and listen to them at the appropriate time, in order to make a choice and take action. Understanding that your body, and the symptoms or health challenges it creates, is a strategy to get you to pay attention when you are not being congruent. The first step towards connecting with your body is to honor your body and to make sure there is communication between the mind and body.
I know in the first paragraph, I painted a negative impression of authentic individuals, but there are also positive aspects expressed by authentic individuals. Authentic individuals have the ability to inspire others, help others rise above their current situation, and are admired for qualities of integrity, wisdom, and keen discernment. The reason they are able to be an inspiration for others, is a strong sense of self-worth and inner-knowing. When you know your true worth, and don’t base it on external opinions or higher authoritative figures, it allows you to stand firm and walk in your truth.
Take this time to make a list of all your successes in your life. Things that could be deemed a success that may be overlooked are, being dependable at work or in relationships, graduating from high school, raising healthy and happy children, accomplishing any goals that you have set. The importance of listing out your successes, are to let you see you all the times in your life that you have succeeded. We tend to deflect and not accept when someone approves of something we have done or accomplished. Call it being humble, but not truly embracing what you have achieved prevents you from accepting your authenticity. Take this moment and acknowledge your achievements and successes.
In closing, remember that we are given one life to live. Ask yourself, “Do you want to live a life someone else chooses for you, or a life you choose for yourself?” Hopefully your answer involves the second choice, and that you live the life that you can proudly exclaim is yours. Take this time to claim your life, decide what makes you happy, and take baby steps to achieve this. Connect with your body and recognize your body when it is at ease; allow that to be your barometer in the choices that you make. Embrace your body through the mind-body connection, embrace the authentic “you”, and create the life you want.