I found different definitions of authenticity, given by thinkers, philosophers, coaches and psychologists. I share with you a few that I see as being complementary. If you read them with an awakened feeling, they are in themselves agents of reflection and change of perception.
"Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we should be and embracing who we are". Brené Brown
"As you become more aligned with the truth of who you are, the question of liking yourself disappears. It is a natural state of being". Rachel Archelaus
"The most important gift we can give ourselves is the commitment to live our authentic life. (...) Every decision we make, every step we take, must be informed by our commitment to live a life that is true, honest and authentic to ourselves and ourselves alone. And as we go forward, we are sure to experience a fortune far greater than we can imagine". Robin Sharma
"I would rather prefer you hate me for what I am than love me for what I am not." Wayne Dyer
What I did NOT learn as a child,
I did not learn to express my opinions, especially those most contrary to the status quo,
I didn't learn that I was enough,
I didn't learn that it's okay for me to be wrong,
I didn't learn to say no,
I didn't learn that following my heart was okay,
I didn't learn to be authentic.
What I did learn,
To run away from conflict,
To keep quiet,
That what I did was never enough,
That I had to lie to survive,
To ask questions and get permission for everything,
To be loved only if I do what they want me to do, otherwise I suffer,
To judge from behind and laugh in front,
That being authentic means being rejected and not loved.
Buf, how difficult to write the above; it makes me uncomfortable and liberating at the same time because it strengthens and sustains the personal commitment I spoke of at the beginning; to live my truth, to be real, to choose authenticity.
I agree with Brené Brown when she says that "choosing authenticity means cultivating the courage to be imperfect, to set boundaries and allow myself to be vulnerable (...) and to love wholeheartedly, even when it is hard, even when I struggle with shame and fear of not being good enough, and especially when the joy is so intense that I am afraid to allow myself to feel it". And only by practising authenticity do we "invite grace, joy and gratitude into our lives".
I know it is not always easy to choose authenticity... but to do it, to practice it is to honour and savour the life I have been given. To do so is to love me, to respect me and to walk lightly.
Strengthening your positive intelligence quotient (PQ) muscles is critical for you to quickly identify the harmful work of the sabotaging accomplices, weaken them and more quickly connect with the SAGE within.
The key is to bring your attention to the present moment. Because your judge and his accomplices are never in the present, these "little buggers" live in the past when they tell you things like "what a fool for not doing it the right way - you are a failure!" or in the future - "you can never do it, don't even try".
Key concept number 1 - PQ is strengthened by the daily practice of mindfulness of the present moment.
Key concept number 2 - this practice involves the use of the fantastic tool that is our body and directed attention to our 5 senses.
Practical exercises - Start with 10 seconds every hour:
1 - Close your eyes and with each breath cycle bring your attention to the temperature of the air coming in and out of your nose. Become aware of how your shoulders, chest, belly move as you breathe. Let go of your thoughts whenever they arise and turn your attention to how your body reacts as you breathe.
2 - In front of your plate look carefully at your food; the quantity, the colours, the shapes, the ingredients. Observe how your hand holds the cutlery and moves from the plate to your mouth. Be aware of how you open your mouth, place the food, close your mouth and start chewing. Chew very aware of what you are doing, how your jaw moves, your tongue moves... what flavours you can identify. Close your eyes and let go of any thoughts - focus your attention very carefully, maybe the food will taste even more delicious.
3 - Put your index finger and thumb together and bring your attention to your fingerprints riges - can you feel them?
4 - Close your eyes and listen, first the distant sounds and then the closer ones, listen the sound of your own breathing.
This will weaken the judge and his accomplices and strengthen the inner sage muscles and your Positive Intelligence Quotient (PQ).
If you identify yourself with the archetype of the pilgrim (or explorer), then you practice healthy empathy, you are a free soul, independent, self-sufficient, courageous, adventure appeals to you, and you are open-minded. And you want to share your path and your being with others.
A few years ago I accompanied a coaching client on the Camino de Santiago. And I witnessed her process of stripping off the masks, the disguises, the outfits of an existence based on pleasing, and searching for approval. As always, the Camino provided the necessary conditions for this difficult awakening. This was her "hero's journey" until she connected with her authenticity:
Enthusiasm and expectation - the excitement of a new adventure,
Uncertainty, discomfort and some pain - from the physical demands of the walk, from the arduous expansion of her comfort zone,
Frustration - from the non-acceptance of her conditions and difficulties,
Adaptation, vulnerability and self-compassion - she left behind what she didn't need - she emptied her backpack, walked at a different pace - her own, the one that best suited her capacity, she expressed her needs,
Surrender - to the experience of the Camino. Making the best of every moment,
Opening - up to this point a hard, internal, deep process, and from here her body, now stronger, sustained a bright, horizon-directed gaze and a calm smile...
Authenticity and authentic communication with the world - there was no longer anything to hide, so we spoke and spoke in a very fluid, easy, non-judgmental, transparent, constructive and meaningful way. This is where the real growth took shape, where the inner sage was heard, where she really listened (also to her inner voice) and expressed herself in the world in a more coherent way. It felt more authentic than ever and that allowed me to be authentic too.
I think we all go through this process in different areas and moments of our lives. As you can see it is a process, a path to walk knowing that there is a goal - in this case, authenticity. It is up to us to decide, with determination, to go through all the stages, to learn from all of them and to accept the change and growth given by this journey. In addition to authenticity we will certainly experience inner peace and self-love.
In addition to what I have already outlined above, I sought a roadmap to share with you that is simple for you to follow. This is not meant to be a magic pill, you will see that it takes intention and action towards the goal of being authentic, the road ahead is fascinating and ensures deep personal transformation. I have based and adapted a fantastic article by Tchiki Davis and Starr Sites that summarises the above and leaves us with 20 ways to become more authentic:
1. Observe yourself objectively and without judgement,
2. Examine and reflect on your belief systems and family values,
3. Observe the dialogue between the adaptive self and the authentic self and notice the differences and how each of the "I's" serve you,
4. Identify in yourself the discrepancies and inconsistencies in your behaviours,
5. Examine your doubts, do they come from your adaptive self or your authentic self?
6. Practice the courage to face your fears and all the emotions that make you suffer, often these are signs that your authentic self wants to come out and show itself,
7. Explore your values. Are you living by them?
8. Obvious - Love yourself and have compassion for others,
9. Enjoy the journey and recognise that perhaps developing authenticity takes time,
10. Let go of patterns and beliefs that no longer serve you,
11. Ask yourself what you really believe and realise those beliefs that limit you and create new beliefs that will empower you,
12. Take your time to adapt to this new reality, forgive yourself and remain authentic,
13. Make telling the truth a habit,
14. Make decisions consciously and supported by your authentic self,
15. Speak your truth,
16. Develop authentically, follow only the advice that is given to you by your authentic self or in agreement with your authentic self,
17. Develop the ability to monitor yourself continuously so that you can keep yourself influenced by your authentic self,
18. Focus on improvement - learn from every opportunity that life gives you,
19. Listen to your inner guidance, your intuition, your sage, your higher self or whatever you want to call it...but listen to it because it is your authentic self speaking,
20. Find your life's purpose, by aligning with your purpose you live authentically.
Questions to reflect on authenticity:
1. What do authenticity and being authentic mean to you?
2. What parts of your personality do you consider authentic?
3. Are these authentic parts constant for you, or do they seem to change?
4. Has there been a time or situation where you found it difficult to be authentic or where your actions did not match your values? What prevented you from acting in a way that matched your deepest values?
5. Are there ways in which you are affected by whether or not other people are authentic?
6. In what areas of your life can you introduce more authenticity? What will you gain from it? When do you start?
7. They say the Camino is a metaphor for life, and I believe so. I wonder if we were able to be as authentic in our lives as we are on the Camino de Santiago or in a similar experience, what would really change?
I wish you all the best,
For an open, honest conversation about authenticity and how you can bring more of this wonderful "thing" into your life:
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