The Key to Keeping It Real
It’s not easy to live an authentic life.
Despite our best efforts to be honest and real with those around us, women often find themselves going against their beliefs and values in friendships, relationships, professional situations and others for a variety of reasons. As examples:
- We put on a front to hide our insecurities and pains.
- We base our self-worth on the way others perceive us and adapt accordingly.
- We get scared about opening up and expressing the truth about how we really feel.
- We spend more time trying to please others than trying to please ourselves.
- We sacrifice our dreams in favor of the dreams of others.
It is only when we become aware of what we are doing, that realize we haven’t been living an authentic life. Instead of living a life that is based around our core values, belief systems, and natural instincts, we come to understand that we have been play-acting as somebody quite alien to who we actually are.
Experiencing a departure from your personal life purpose is distressing for many women. If you’ve had this experience, you might find yourself asking the following question.
Is it really possible to stay true to myself?
It’s a good question, and a challenging one, but the answer is ‘yes.’ Women don’t have to live lives that are based around others and not their own. We shouldn’t have to remove ourselves from the the paths in live that we desire. While there are times in life when we have to care for others (and we often want to), it’s still important to be able to stay true to our authentic selves and live a life that brings us joy.
The following are tips for living your most authentic lives.
Remember the person you were
Be it in your bedroom, your garden, or on a silent retreat, think back to the person you once were. Think back to the beliefs and values that you had. Bring to mind those memories when you were confident to be yourself around others. Reflect on any spiritual experience that was core to the faith you held. Then make a note of what you remember, and consider whether those parts of you should still be relevant to the person you are today. If so, make a concerted effort to be that person you used to be; that person who was truly you, and not that unfamiliar persona that you might now be living behind.
Start to speak out
The next time you’re tempted to rein in your thoughts and feelings, don’t! While some tact might be needed, you will start to feel truly yourself when you let other people know what you really think. They will then get more of an idea of who you are, and once revealed, you will have less excuse to be that ‘other’ person who isn’t representative of who you want to be.
Say ‘no’ when you need to
Don’t disempower yourself by going against your values. When somebody tries to push you into something you don’t agree with, or if they encourage you to think a certain way, tell them to stop. Tell them that you don’t agree. And draw boundaries around yourself to protect your identity from whatever it is they are trying to impose upon you. Being a ‘yes’ person is never going to make you happy, especially if you start doing and saying things that go against your intrinsic self. So, stand up for yourself, and simply say ‘no,’ in as kind and respectful way as possible.
Do what makes you happy
Yes, sometimes it is right to compromise yourself to make other people feel happy. There are times when a little self-sacrifice is needed. But there are limits, and if you find yourself pleasing others more times than you please yourself, you need to put a stop to it. Empower yourself by doing whatever makes you feel happy and fulfilled in life for a change. Let other people know that you need and deserve me-time, and then schedule it into your weekly timetable. The moment you embrace your need for personal happiness is the moment you start to feel truly yourself, so care for yourself by doing whatever makes you feel good inside.
Make changes in your life
If your job makes you unhappy, and especially if it requires you to live a life outside of your values, then perhaps now is the time to make a career change. You will be trapped in a bubble of discontent for years to come if you don’t, and you might struggle to stay true to your needs and dreams.
If your friends are a toxic influence upon your life, and if they do and say things that make you feel distant from who you really are, then ditch them. You need people in your life who are supportive of you, who care about your feelings, and who will help you fulfill your goals. So, find your tribe, and spend less time with those ‘others’ who do little to serve your inner needs.
And think about any other changes that you might need to make in order to live an authentic life. If there any obstacles in your way that prevent you from truly being yourself, be they people, situations, or even mindsets that you possess, try to find ways to overcome them. It’s easier said than done, we know, but even small steps in the right direction are better than taking none at all.
Find time to reconnect with yourself each day
Life can be busy, we know. With a family to care for, friends to spend time with, and work and other pursuits making up your daily schedule, it can be hard to find time to sit down with yourself to reconnect with your thoughts. But make the time you must, as you will then have the opportunity to assess how your life is going. You can then reflect on your personal successes each day; those moments when you lived the life you always wanted. And you can reflect on any mistakes you made; those moments when you started to live a lie again, for whatever reason. Take time to meditate on such things, or write them in a journal. Then consider how you want to live your life the following day, perhaps by writing down a list of things you should and shouldn’t be doing. Yes, we know this sounds a bit regimented, but by getting into the habit of doing so, you will one day live the life you want on a subconscious level.
When you start to accept yourself, you will have no need to pretend to be somebody else in order to please another. You won’t have to please them by saying and doing things that you think will suit them. In fact, you will have no need to be a people-pleaser at all. Your sense of worth will come from within and not from the way others see you, as you will have the courage to accept yourself, even with your imperfections. So, show yourself love and kindness. Forgive yourself of your mistakes. And be accepting of who you are as a person. Yes, there might be things you need to change, but do so to be true to yourself and not to please and satisfy any others.
Remember the proverb: The truth will set you free!
When you are true to yourself, you will feel that freedom! So, throw off the constraints that others have imposed upon you or that you have imposed upon yourself, and live an authentic life that is in line with your core self. It won’t always be easy, but making that effort on a daily basis will make the process easier.