When I think about authenticity, words like true and pure come to mind. I am reminded of things being in a natural state and coming from soil, not influenced or changed by external factors. So, in terms of a human being living authentically, I think about a person living from a state of honesty and purity, in accordance with their true desires and values no matter what anyone else thinks or says about them.
Witnessing an authentic moment
I was noticing a man the other day sitting on a restaurant patio eating breakfast. It was cloudy. He was wearing a light jacket and leather sneakers. He looked to be in his early 50’s with a slim build. He was alone, eating a plate of crepes with a side of chocolate sauce, berries, and whip cream. I watched him for a moment, taken by his soft smile, as he spread the sauce, berries, and whip cream on his crepes. I could feel his joy from across the street. This is what author Sarah Bran Breathnach calls “simple abundance”, which is to make time for your authentic self by enjoying simple pleasures.
Getting to know your authentic self
Walking the path to authenticity is a lesson in getting to know your true self. We do it by creating space for our souls to be heard through vulnerability, curiosity, and creativity. We are learning as we explore these topics together. It is also an unlearning of old thoughts and ideas that once played a role in how we perceived success and self-worth.
In today’s world, there is still a deep hunger for praise, acceptance, acknowledgment, and being liked and followed in real life and online. Authenticity requires you to pay attention to why you need to “fit in” and when you compromise your true self to “belong to the group”. What would you do if you only had to answer to you? The answers to these questions provide a clear distinction between living in your true (soul) self or false (ego) self.
Consider some of these questions as journal prompts:
Are you staying in a job because you like it (soul-affirming) or because others like you in it (ego-driven)? Are you staying in a marriage because it makes you happy (soul-affirming) or it suits your lifestyle (ego-driven)? Are you feeling loved and nurtured (soul-affirming) or are you feeling praised and pressured (ego-driven)?
The answers to such questions reveal your truth and being authentic is living from your place of (soul-affirming) truth.
Aligning your personality with your soul
After spending some time thinking about authenticity over the last couple of weeks, I came to the realization that there needs to be some “divine intervention” when we choose to live authentically from a place of truth. I say this because I believe that your true and natural (authentic) state of being comes from your soul, or spirit, and that your personality comes from your parents and your learning environment. To live authentically, you need to adjust your personality to meet your soul on the path.
For me, this happens when I shed feelings of shame and fear. I let go of feelings of inadequacy about my broken family or my job as a mother. I remove my mask, and I am exposed. I come out from behind the wall of insecurity that stands between my dreams and the outside world. I open my heart and allow my soul to speak.
I have learned from witnessing others who are living authentically that your soul is the voice of your true purpose. It speaks to you through joy and bliss. Some people describe this soulful, blissful experience as being in their happy place. So, what are you doing when you’re in your happy place? Skiing, dancing, drawing? Eating crepes with chocolate sauce, berries and cream? Whatever brings you pure joy, do more of it!
I didn’t start to understand the concept of living in my truth until I was in my 40’s. I wanted a greater purpose beyond caring for my family. After giving birth to my children, I knew that I was capable of so much more than I had given myself credit for. I began reading about women who found their voice – their calling – in mid-life. Their stories ignited a passion in me and set me on the path to discovering authenticity. Books like Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser gave me hope and courage.
I remind myself often that, like all good things, it takes time and practice to become better at being authentic. It requires work to uncover and pursue your true desires. It calls on your courage to dare to dream. You need focus and planning to follow your bliss, plus a friend group that supports your growth. I am deeply grateful for my friends who inspire me to take off my mask and be my authentic self. Together, in truth, we find strength and connection.
There will be obstacles along the way but the more we follow our truth, the more we rise. This is the journey to higher learning, deeper connection and well-being.
Thank you for being here. Next time, we’ll explore meditation.
Let’s journey together.