“We need to find the courage to say NO to the things and people that are not serving us if we want to rediscover ourselves and live our lives with authenticity.” ~ Barbara de Angelis
Authenticity means being your true self and honoring yourself. It means finding the answers within, rather than searching for them outside of yourself. Our society teaches us to look outside ourselves in order to figure life out. We go to school, church, read, watch, listen and do, do, do… until we feel completely out of alignment and wonder, who am I? Buried beneath the layers of collected data and emotions is our authentic self and it only takes some light awareness to begin to lean on our inner truth, rather than the opinions of the media, ego and wider society.
In my own search for authenticity, I have created this list of 15 ways to begin the process of connecting within.
You are not perfect, as no one on this planet is. Where can you let go of the things that have happened and forgive yourself for being human? Being human means learning through experience.
Take all the love, attention, affection and compliments that you share with your loved ones and turn it inwards. Say out loud, “I love you; you are amazing, beautiful, unique, fun!” Wink at yourself in the mirror!
3. Have your own back!
Having your own back means the same as having your friend’s back. Be there for yourself, stand up for what’s right for you and do whatever feels right for you. When things get scary or overwhelming, remind yourself that you are there for you and you are not going anywhere!
Before you make any decisions, ask yourself “is this really what I want”? If the answer is no, or no but I should do it, think again! You are the number one person in your life and when you start listening to what is best for you, you begin to honor your true self.
5. Listen to your body.
Our bodies can guide us to find the answers that we have been searching for. Notice when your body begins to feel fatigued, tense or hyper. Close your eyes and breathe into the feeling. What is the feeling trying to convey? Is it asking you to slow down and rest, stay away from someone, or release your energy?
6. Do something you’ve always dreamed of.
Is there something you have always wanted to try but felt like it’s not possible at the moment? Excuses like, it’s too expensive, too far, too hard stop you– well here is your opportunity to shake things up and actually do it. Make a list of 5 things and choose one option to commit to. Take one small step today in order to make it happen (Googling it counts). Put it out there and tell all your friends that you are doing it.
7. Say what you need to say.
More than just another John Mayer song – saying what you need to say means acknowledging your inner voice instead of silencing it. This can be scary if you are avoiding conflict, are worried about how it will affect others, and want to be seen in a certain way. The key is to honestly share what you feel while acknowledging the entirety of the other person. Ask yourself – am I blaming them, putting pressure on them or am I simply sharing my own truth?
Schedule a “me” date to do exactly what you want to do. Whether it is a Sex and The City marathon, rollerblading, or sleeping in on a week day. Allow yourself to just do it!
9. Make a list of all your unique qualities.
Start with “I am” and tape the list to your bathroom mirror or next to your bed where you’ll see it. Begin to cultivate an awareness around who you are and why you are special. There are no wrong answers here, so you should give yourself the credit you deserve!
10. Receive love and support from others.
It’s easier than it sounds, but we often put more power into “giving” and “doing” rather than “receiving” and “being.” The next time someone offers to give you a hand, whether it’s a friend paying for coffee or the bagger at the super market offering to help you out to your car – say YES! And you don’t have to stop there, if you want something and someone may be able to help you get it, take the step to ask them!
Make plans to go hiking, swim in the ocean, or have a picnic at the park. Nature is a powerful teacher of presence. Notice the natural flow and the peaceful environment. Notice how everything is as it should be without force.
Acknowledge your emotions instead of avoiding or pushing them down. Allow them to come to surface and release them through crying, screaming into a pillow, or moving your body.
13. When you get the opportunity to laugh – let it all out.
When was the last time you laughed so hard your stomach hurt? Begin to notice all the funny scenarios that surround you and just laugh. The world won’t fall apart if you act silly for a while. Spend some time with young kids or watch stand up comedy to get you going.
14. Imagine connecting with your younger self.
Find an old picture of yourself or visualize yourself when you were young. Imagine hugging yourself and holding your own hand. Ask your younger self if she/he needs or wants anything from you. Remember, your inner child is available at any time.
Was there a time in your life when you felt truly at peace? Perhaps things still weren’t perfect but you had a good feeling about the way things were going? Journal around what you were doing, who you were with, and what thoughts were you thinking at the time. These are clues to finding yourself.
Can you visualize what it would feel like if for one full day, what you think and say are in perfect alignment with what you feel? Who would you be and how would you feel if you felt connected and safe enough to be YOU? With awareness, love, and an open mind you can feel authentic and free! Begin by trying one item in the list above.