“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart.” ~Carl Jung
What does it mean to live authentically , and why is it important to do so? To be authentic is to be real; our words and actions reflect who we truly are inside. When this kind of congruence exists, we feel comfortable, natural and unstressed.
The opposite state is when we are either trying to project an image or to please others. We project an image when we want others to see us in a certain light or to think of us in a certain way. We may want to impress them so they think more highly of us.
The projected image is not always positive. Some individuals wish to appear helpless, or weaker than they really are, so others will take care of them. A student may “play dumb” so as not to be teased by others for being intelligent. Another may act “tough” on order to compensate for a sense of vulnerability.
We are also inauthentic when we adjust our words or behavior in order to please others. Children often begin at an early age to say what they think others want to hear. This pattern carries on into adulthood, based in part on a fear of rejection; if we disagree, perhaps we will not be liked or accepted.
It is clear that if we possess these patterns we are not really being ourselves. This sets the stage for inner conflict which may even turn into resentment. If we cannot be our true selves it is impossible to have a real connection or intimacy with another.
The first step to living a more authentic life is to acknowledge our true thoughts and feelings. Maybe we do not really enjoy spending time with a particular friend, or actually hate going to the bar and watching everyone get drunk. Perhaps we always go to the in-laws for Sunday dinner, but would really like to do that at home with just the family. Maybe we do not feel comfortable listening to gossip, and wish to be more positive.
The next step is to begin speaking our truth, and acting in accordance with it. Yes, there is a risk in doing so, but it is worth it. People will either respect you for being honest, or get upset with you. If they get upset, that means they do not want you to be who you really are, but rather, they want you to be who they want you to be. You cannot live your life according to another’s agenda.
What you will find is that those who respect who you truly are will be drawn to you , and the others will distance. The end result is that you can now be your real self most of the time. You will feel more relaxed, happy and at peace. You will be free to honor your soul’s true path, which, after all, is the purpose of our journey through this lifetime.
Copyright © Gwen Randall-Young, All Rights Reserved. Contact us if you would like permission to reprint.
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