I always feel like I walk a thin line between being “nice” and being truly kind. Old me is a burnt-out people pleaser. To be authentic in relationships with people that used to know me before I started this journey is an ongoing lesson! See, with new acquaintances, it’s easier: they have no expectations of what I will be like or how I will express myself. But in older relationships, I still have to catch myself.
Be authentic! Stop acting and pretending, stop fawning and being “nice and polite” in socially acceptable ways. Instead, remember to show up as the kinder version of you.
Professional and personal communication is one of my biggest challenges. As an INTJ, I can be brutally honest, speaking my mind without sensing the effect my words and tone have on others. I just blurt out what I want to communicate without considering whether it’s the right time or place to do so.
I’ve found I have better skills when I write it all out in an email or written correspondence. But this misses many nuances and can be misunderstood.
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.
It came on the heels of burnout. I recognised that recovery required a new set of standards and values by which to lead my life!
Have you stopped loving your life?
Maybe some of the following words or phrases resonate with you:
Going through the motions
Living up to old dreams
Living up to other people’s expectations
I forgot what the question was while pursuing the answer
Life just got in the way and took over
And then, one day, you wake up, finding you lost all respect for yourself and others and you ceased loving.
“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him or around him, and so loses respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.”
The Power of Authenticity
There is an extraordinary power that is held in YOU being You. When I suggest you need help finding your voice, I am not referring to a writer or a speaker. Instead, I want you to find the power of the small, still voice – somewhere deep inside – that dares to stand up for you.
It’s finding that voice that dares to think your thoughts.
That dares to speak your mind.
That dares to make decisions for that are right for you – because they are right for you.
The voice that truly represents who you are – or perhaps, at this moment in time, who you wish to be.
I invite you to search for the best, authentic, true version of you.
The you that keeps your word – especially to yourself – that wakes up when the alarm goes off the first time. When you know the value of starting the day early, you keep the smallest promises to yourself. “I will get up at this time.” When you finally recognise that if you lied to yourself about something this insignificant, you couldn’t trust yourself for the more essential things in life.
I want you to find YOU – the you that keeps your word about how much exercise you want to do and how you want to feel in your body – because you care about you.
You keep your word about what you will do and get finished today because what you say to yourself matters.
Because how you do anything is how you do everything.
Finding your voice is discovering the You that has investigated, for yourself:
What you really think
What you truly desire
And who you most deeply are: the deep inner you.
You are, in your own, unique way, really creative, truly compassionate and fiercely courageous.
They say that we come into this world as living souls of infinite potentiality to be discovered and released – when we dare to live life from the inside out.
A story is told of a man who sits brooding at his desk in the evening.
Earlier that day, he received his dismissal notice from a company that he had served for more than 20 years.
He’s busy despairing on the difficulty of getting a new job – at his age – the impossibilities of living on his income – the shock of finding himself dispensable in the world!
A little spider was walking across his desk at that moment, and he unconsciously brushed it off.
Immediately he found himself watching, in awe, as this tiny creature took this disaster – of being swept into the air and off its path, and spun a tiny strand to bear its weight and gracefully swung down to the floor.
If that spider – a tiny creature – can get into the flow of using all its talents and natural resources and deal so creatively and gracefully with a crisis – why can we not do the same?
Your innate power lies within:
Could you invest a little of your time discovering your inherent ability? This power comes from knowing who you are and what your strengths are and the resources that you have at your disposal.
The power of a person that owns what they say – that can compassionately, and yet clearly, say what they mean. Can you permit yourself to be you – warts & all?
– Jay Acunzo
“If you just stopped trying to be a better version of everyone else, you might find way more success using your creativity to be the only one who does what you do.”
Finding your inner voice: WHO AM I?
When you are alone, taking off the labels of relationships, religion, profession, nationality, and all the rest of the tags that society or even you have placed on yourself – WHO are you?
-Lao Tzu, Chinese Taoist Philosopher.
“Mastering others is strength; Mastering yourself is true power.”
Know thyself now. It does you little good to know the person you were ten years ago. Even the person you were last year is not going to help you out today. Who are you now?
Are you in touch with your feelings and needs?
We are human beings: who are you now? And I would even go further. We are human becomings: who are you becoming?
Most importantly, who do you want to become? Understand “this is me here and now” even as I grow and change.
‘A caterpillar who seeks to know himself would never become a butterfly.’
I started off asking if you were stuck, unhappy, disengaged. One of the issues with forgetting who you are – really, truly, deeply – is that you can’t express who you are because you don’t know any more. You’ve become trapped in the definition of self that you made up some time ago. Or worse yet, you failed to define “who am I?” and so someone else told you!
Finding your voice and identity:
As you get to know yourself, you find happiness: I like this, but I don’t like that. Then you can say I want to do this and I don’t want to do that.
When you know yourself – you feel less conflicted. Your actions will align with your inner feelings & values.
When you know the answer to “who am I?”, it’s easier to make better choices for yourself.
Do I like this sweater?
What would I like to eat?
What do I want to invest the rest of my life building?
Knowing who you are, and finding your inner voice, allows you to slow down. Do you feel that you are busy living your life with other peoples’ choices? Or, are you choosing what you would like to eat? Do you love your body? How does this influence your wardrobe? Who decided your lifestyle?
What are your limits & boundaries?
Here are some great questions to ask yourself:
How good am I at X?
How well do I do what I do?
What are my strengths & weaknesses? What are the limits of my strengths? Strengths might be your abilities, skills & talents – but don’t forget your character strengths –
Respect for others
Encouraging others or a great listener
Do you know your “superpowers”- because knowing these strengths also gives you self-confidence!
Knowing and acknowledging your weaknesses allows you to hold back from accepting responsibilities or roles that you are not cut out for.
And one of the best things about knowing yourself, of really understanding your likes and dislikes – is having the power to say “no” when you mean “no”. How many times do you say yes – to social obligations, to invitations, to responsibilities & commitments, when you wanted to say “no” because you weren’t standing in your power?