For many years I have defined the word authentic as someone who is honest with others. However, authenticity is much more than that. Authenticity is about being honest to yourself. Living authentically requires an understanding of who you are and what your values are. Lets not wait for a crisis to hit us in order to start thinking about what's truly important for us. When you make a choice to live your life according to your values, you will have less stress, more time and freedom. Below are the 3 steps to take to being more authentic:
1. Accept Change
Realize that change is natural and it happens to all of us. We can choose to make positive changes in ourselves that will improve our quality of life. Focus on the process of changing rather than the outcome of change. Change one thing at a time. Start by choosing and doing one characteristic you'd like to develop or perhaps eliminate.
Ask someone you trust to help you if you feel you need it. We are not alone even though we sometimes think we are. If you don't have someone, then create an imaginary mentor. This person can be someone you know or heard of or someone completely fictional. For me, I have Princess Diana and Wonder Woman as my role models.
Reclaim your power. You have a voice and you have a choice in most circumstances. When you let someone else make choices for you, you are giving up the power to make yourself happy. Stopping is an option and it is okay to say no. If you are unhappy, unfulfilled, or unsatisfied, give yourself permission to leave this thing behind and just move on.
2. Create a New Vision
Create your own world. Don't be afraid to let the world see who you really are. Start by developing a vision statement. Make a list of things that make you smile. Challenge yourself to come up with one idea a day.
If you believe that you are a capable, talented person, then you will become that person. Basically, what you believe, you receive. So start faking it until you make it! Develop affirmations to help you believe your new vision. A person who's sick could say, "I can feel myself growing healthier and stronger each day." Put good intentions to your affirmations and you will start believing in them faster. Eliminate the word Should and replace it with Choose to. If your value is integrity then make only promises you can and intend to keep. Live with no regrets and be gentle with yourself. If you find yourself slipping back into old patterns, congratulate yourself for recognizing that. Then reclaim your will and move on.
3. Question Everything
At one of my previous jobs, I asked the person training me why they chose to do things the way they were doing them and he said that he just never challenged it. As soon as my training was over, I looked at the process and found many ways to improve it. I cut down the time that it used to take to complete that task from more than 4 hours to only 30 minutes! My father once told me that the way to heaven is to ask questions. I make it my personal motto to Always Be Asking, ABA for short :-)
Life is a journey, not a destination. You are the artist of your life and you can choose what colors to paint your canvas with.
Bring balance to your life by focusing on your values and staying true to yourself. If you had a bad past, then rewrite it or repaint it. Identify what's important to you and not just the people around you like parents, friends, and others. Focus on one thing at a time. It's okay to stop and rest. Take it easy. If you work long hours or at a stressful job and you feel exhausted at the end of the day, make an effort to take it easier the next day or on the weekend. The key is to relax and recharge. The journey to true authenticity is long and hard but very rewarding. It involves having the courage to stand up for yourself and love yourself even when you make mistakes.
What steps have you taken or will you take to become more authentic? Share in the comments section.
With Love, Dania