The hot new buzzword is authentic (the very word is derived from the Greek word ‘authentikos’, meaning to ‘act in one’s own authority’). I rather like that. Have you led an authentic life? Have you been true to yourself, what your gut instinct is telling you, or have you been a people pleaser and said “yes” when you really meant “No”. Have you stood up for what you believe in? Have you become the rock star, actor, engineer, mountain climber, etc. you dreamed of? Or did you settle for that job?
Inauthenticity can come in many forms. Maybe you have not told someone that you love them as often as you should have done, or maybe you were feeling angry with someone, but you never told them, instead, allowing it to fester inside you for weeks on weeks or years on years. Have you not admitted to a mistake when you know, deep down, some of the blame could be laid at your feet?
Don’t worry, you’re only human and all of us have an inherent wish to keep the peace even if it goes against the grain.
I’ve always led an inauthentic life – I have to admit it or I wouldn’t be the authentic ‘me’. This caused me a lot of pain and trouble in my later life as past recriminations festered, and past wrongs have never been put right, either by mental or verbal forgiveness. So in order to offer some enlightenment to those of you who wish to know how to lead such an amazing life, I have been doing some research. The following text is taken from a brand new book “Authentic – How to be Yourself and Why it matters“ by Stephen Joseph, PhD. Here are his top tips to lead an authentic life and the formula for authentic living.
First off, authentic people know themselves and their motivations. They own their own decisions and take responsibility in such a way that they will stand up against social pressures and speak the truth as it seems to them, and, in their day to day life, they will come across to others as transparent, honest and genuine. These three things that authentic people do are a power trio in all walks of life. Crucially, however, we need to employ all three so that we know ourselves, then the decisions we take ownership of will be the right ones and worth putting into action. In short;
Know yourself + Own yourself + Be yourself = The Authentic Life
If any of these is missing, it is not authentic living.
There is a simple exercise to see if you are living a life that is true to yourself;
- Do you feel free to make your own choices?
- Do you feel free to express your opinion?
- Do you feel you can be yourself on a day to day basis?
The point at which I knew I could no longer be inauthentic was when someone I knew from a previous industry I worked in met me and said: “You’re the girl everyone wants to be”. I looked at her in horror. If she only knew how inauthentic my life was in an industry which did not suit my work or personal ethics, she would have been shocked. At this point, I knew that deep down my inauthenticity had made me ultimately unhappy, and I had to make amendments and put the wrongs right the wrongs and work hard to create a life I had always dreamed of living.
However, all this authentic talk does come with a disclaimer. Even though you may particularly dislike your boss it’s probably not a good idea to tell him/her what you think of him/her if you could lose your job. Keep your thoughts to yourself but truly, if you don’t like your job or your boss, then maybe you need to rethink your next career move.
In the last four years, I have been more authentic and truer than I have ever been, even the authentic ‘me’ has come with tears, wobbles, lots of prosecco and a need to go dancing until the early hours. However, it has been very empowering to be ‘just me’ – honest, true and sharing stories of my life with my dear friends – you know, the good and bad ones! I have come to realise that we spend most of our lives caring what others might think when in reality, all we should care about is how we feel about ourselves.
And I am a true believer that sharing is caring, so many people think they are alone, sharing with others your true life and beliefs will open the doors to an endless sea of possibilities. So hold this thought and start your authentic life now!
Tracey B x