One of the reasons that we find ourselves unhappy is our lack of authenticity. This sadness usually happens because we are unaware of being out of alignment.
For example, one of our values might be family and relationships. Nonetheless, our definition of success might be solely focused on our career and professional development. To be successful, we sacrifice our family and relationships, living up to our goals and dreams. Nonetheless, we feel that we are living a meaningless life.
Of course, this only happens because we are unaware of the disconnect between our values and our goals or purpose. To live a truly authentic life means to have certainty that our plans and goals align with what we want and need, truly aligning with our values and priorities.
#1 – Authenticity: What are your values?
At the start of this year, I redid the exercise of examining my values. What is essential to demonstrate in my way of being this year? I wrote about this is “Secrets of the heart: revealing my values”. In “Values & Priorities: why identify them?” I have a quick look at how to identify your values.
Of course, the values that you hold at this stage of your life are quite possibly not the values you were taught that you “should” have. Some of those might still be your values. Nonetheless, you could be surprised to discover they aren’t what others imposed on you.
If you took a list of 50 or 100 possible values, and you whittled them down to 5 values on which you could align and base your life and every decision you made, what would those core values be?
Those might be something like: “helping others,” “being creative,” “living a healthy lifestyle”, “financial security,” keeps promises, thriving, fearless, vigorous, motivated, productive…
Want to dive in and identify your values?
#2 – Your authenticity: how do you define success?
Only once you know what your values are, is it possible to define “success?” Values allow you to measure when you are in alignment. Are your goals significant and essential? Only then will you know what success could look and feel like for you.
Is the life that you are currently living on the path to your definition of success? Or are you on someone else’s path? Are you chasing someone else’s dream?
You might be feeling that the actions you are taking are merely “going through the motions”. You are acting grudgingly and half-heartedly. Part of you thinks this is a royal waste of your time because it’s not really what you want to do!
When you know who you are, what you value, and what your definition of success is, it’s much easier to think about question #3.
#3 – What is the purpose of your life?
When you are living your authentic life, there is also alignment with your purpose.
Put another way: What is your vision or mission? What are your passions? When is your life ideal? For some people – it’s a vocation, not a purpose or passion.
Maybe it’s not a “life vision” – maybe it’s a shorter term than that. The next five years. The following three years.
What is your roadmap of reality? Where are you headed over the next few years? When you are living according to your strength – when your best self is shining through – what are you doing? And Why?
Do you have a purpose or passions that guide you – an instant checkpoint for evaluating your choices and actions – if you will.
Are you daring to dream? Do you dare to have a BHAG – Big Hairy Audacious Goal? Does what I am doing align with my values? Does it serve my purpose or bring me closer to leading my ideal life?
As you look at your purpose, allow yourself to consider:
Do the relationships I have and the people that I am choosing to surround myself with help and support me on this path to living my purpose according to my strengths & weaknesses?
When we know our purpose or our passions, what our ideal life would look like – inner respect becomes easier to attain. Our actions become fruitful because they have clarity of purpose!
When you have clarity of purpose, it’s easier to let go of the things that you cannot control. Letting go allows you to focus your time and efforts on the things that will make a difference, within your control.
#4 – Authenticity:
Are you true to yourself?
When you look at the big picture:
- who you are,
- what your values are,
- your definition of success for your life, and
- your purpose or passions
Are you living with authenticity? Or have you become so focused on the external – chasing the achievements & appearances – that you lost touch with the inner you?
Bringing about change: living with authenticity
If you are not feeling good – don’t look to the past.
You can waste a lot of time studying past decisions and try to come up with a reason as to what is wrong. Nonetheless, you can’t fix or change the past. It only answers the question of why you are today where you are.
The past may have lessons on paths to be avoided – but it won’t hold the answer of where you want to go from here.
Your strength and power lie in today, the present.
- Where, in your life, today, are you out of alignment with that greater, inner you?
- In what areas are you failing to live authentically?
- Where are you lying to yourself or others about who you are?
What is that self-image that you have hidden behind a mask?
A poet, an artist, a writer, a politician, an activist, a helper, a gardener, a runner.
- When you have clarity of who you are;
- And you have clarity of what your values are;
- When you have identified your purpose and passions;
- Then speaking up for yourself and living authentically – standing your ground courageously on what you hold dear;
- That becomes easier:
- Because you know what you stand for;
- You know what you believe in;
- You know what it means to you.
And as you find this voice, as you live authentically, you will start to love your life once more.
You can choose how you get your lessons – with a sledgehammer or a feather. Ask yourself whether you are willing to learn.
Are you willing to face the choices? Once you accept the alternatives, realise you also agree with the consequences and results of those choices. Then, you choose & commit to moving forward on that new path of authenticity.
Your power lies within your respect for yourself. When you are true to yourself – you will respect that.
Others are compelled to respect that as well.
Have you discovered what is truly important to you? If not, what are you waiting for? When will you start to live authentically?