The pressure to follow trends, be an influencer or the creator of the latest fad is at a fever pitch. Everywhere and at all times, we are constantly led to believe we need to be and act a certain way, be seen in the trendiest places, and wearing the newest fashion. We are made to feel like we are failures or aren’t good enough if we aren’t keeping up.
If we were to ask the people who subscribe to this way of living, we’ll surely find that deep down they aren’t happy or satisfied, and that chasing after external gratification and possessions is an exhausting and unfulfilling way to live.
When we cave in to societal pressure, we forget how to be true to ourselves and we may not even know who we are. This alienation from the self causes distress and depression because in trying to realise others' ideas for our lives, we fail to fulfill our own goals.
Living an inauthentic life shifts us away from our beliefs and values, consequently our behavior, speech and actions are out of sync with our deepest self. This separation affects our ability to create meaningful connection with ourselves and others, so it can make our relationships tentative and uncertain.
Integrity or being true to ourselves means being honest about the things we value and desire, like having strong moral principles, honestly communicating our wishes to ourselves and others, being honorable by keeping our word, and most importantly believing we are good enough and not comparing and competing with others.
It requires courage to listen and respond to your own calling. The steps below will help you learn how to begin living an authentic life.
Awareness and Acceptance
Change begins with acceptance. First grow awareness of the areas of your life that you struggle with or from which you feel disconnected. Consciously acknowledge what needs re-working; you can even say it aloud to yourself to grow your acceptance of your humanity and your willingness to grow. If you struggle with identifying your likes, dislikes, beliefs, values and goals, consider completing an online authentic living questionnaire.
The ability to embrace all aspects of ourselves – the good and bad -- is being authentic. Intellectually we all know that no one is perfect, but most people believe that we must never show our weaknesses or faults and we strive diligently to be perfect anyway. This playacting is fake living. Ironically others feel empowered to share their own fears, and worries when we can acknowledge or own up to our growth areas. We can learn to celebrate ourselves and others for the willingness and courage to grow. Being vulnerable empowers us because we are no longer hiding or running away from ourselves, it helps us to stand up for ourselves, speak our truth, and live without pretense and falsity.
Self-Trust in Challenging Times
When you know and feel deeply connected to yourself, you know you can rely on and trust yourself when things get tough. So knowing your values, for e.g. not harming or being honest, you can fall back on them to guide you through a difficult time and especially in the heat of the moment.
Taking the time to connect to your deepest self and feeling strong enough to live from that self is a valuable investment for happiness and peace of mind.
May you connect with your truest potential.