The Reflection Series Part 2: What Does it Mean to Live an Authentic Life?

A 3-Minute Reflection on Being Your Authentic Self, and Living an Authentic Life

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When was the last time someone said something to you about being authentic? About living your life authentically, or about being your authentic self? Hm.

I’m actually not even sure how common these questions are, yet, I do know that inquiring into authenticity and our authentic-self is important. Yep.

Right, as this is the 3-minute series, let’s get right into the discussion, shall we? Good. Here we go.

What in the world does authentic even mean?

authentic

Pronunciation /ôˈTHen(t)ik/ /ɔˈθɛn(t)ɪk/ 

Translate authentic into Spanish

ADJECTIVE

Of undisputed origin; genuine.

Lexico

Very well, that’s pretty straightforward. Now, let’s have a quote or two. Here we go.

“To find yourself, think for yourself.” – Socrates

Everyday Power

And.

“Be yourself – not your idea of what you think somebody else’s idea of yourself should be.” – Henry David Thoreau

Everyday Power

Last one. Promise.

“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”
― Brené Brown

Good Reads

Alright, now, let’s take each of these quotes, one at a time, and work through why authenticity is so important to all of our lives, your life. Ready? Good. Here we go.

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Think for Yourself

Right, so what is good old, well, not old anymore, Socrates talking about here? You may ask yourself, I think for myself every day, that’s self-evident, so? Yet, do you?

What Socrates is pointing to in this quote is the awareness of the realization that oftentimes we think, and make decisions, about our life predicated on something that someone else taught us. Yep. Truth.

Meaning, that in order to live an authentic life, and to be who we really are, we must let go of all of the ideas, concepts, and notions of who we think we are, and create ourselves as we want to be.

What does this mean? Good question.

It means learning to let go of outdated ideas and concepts about ourselves, which were handed to us during our childhood. Yep.

Socialization is powerful. And, unless we do the internal work necessary to let go of these concepts, we will continue to make decisions about our life from these standpoints. And?

We will continue to live a life that someone else has created for us. Yet, it need not be that way. Nope. Being you, the you that you know yourself to be is most important.

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Being You

In sociology, there is a theory that basically states that part of how we know who we are is by the confirmations we get from others about how we present ourselves (Goffman, 1959). The issue?

When we present ourselves as others would like us to, we are not being authentic. We are being a version of ourselves that other people would like us to be. Not authentic.

What Thoreau is saying is to let go of the need we have, a compulsion if you will, to please others, to be as they would like us to be. Instead, Thoreau is tasking us with being true to the person we know ourselves to be.

Further, to create ourselves again and again, as we want to be, not as someone else expects us to be. That is authentic; and, that is being you.

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Showing Up

Alright, so what is Brené talking about here? What does it mean to show up and be real? Right. Here we go.

When we are authentic, we are authentic in all aspects of ourselves. We own and stand in our strengths and weaknesses. Both. We show up just as we are. Important. Why?

Well, to do otherwise is not being authentic. When we are being inauthentic, we are trying to conform to an idea. An idea of what or whom we are supposed to be. And, that is, well, painful. Really.

It is painful to deny aspects of ourselves under the guise that they don’t exist. Whether that is a strength we are hiding or a weakness we are hiding. Either way.

When we hide aspects of ourselves, we limit ourselves, and we limit the context we are in. Why?

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Because we are human. We are supposed to have strengths and weaknesses. That’s part of being human.

However, if we perform, for instance, as if we don’t have a weakness, or an opportunity to develop, we are, at that moment, literally limiting our developmental potential. And, guess what?

It’s totally avoidable. We can choose to be the authentic-self we know ourselves to be. Full of strengths and weaknesses. Both fantastic and boring. Both. And, that is perfectly okay. Why?

Because we are human, and being both fantastic and boring, for instance, is a part of our shared humanity. Better to embrace it and be the authentic-self you know yourself to be. And?

Simple.

When you are true to your authentic self, and you embrace all aspects of yourself, you get to choose how you create yourself next. In each moment, every day. And, guess what else?

When you live your life that way, you are now living the authentic-life you’ve always dreamed about.

Live well. Live authentically.

Citation: Goffman, E. (1959). The presentation of self in everyday life. Doubleday.

#authentic-life, #authentic-self, #authenticity, #beingyou, #brene-brown, #livinganauthenticlife, #reflection-series, #showingup, #socrates, #thinkforyourself, #thoreau

3 Things You Can Do To Start Coloring Your Life Outside The Lines

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I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase color inside the lines. Maybe you were even told to do so. Well, consider that all socialization is about living inside the lines. The issue? Well, being socialized to live inside the lines means that living outside the lines, while possible, is hard to create.

Yet, it is possible. Yep. Let’s take a look at 3 things you can do to start coloring your life outside the lines.

3 Things You Can Do To Start Coloring Your Life Outside The Lines

Before we get too deep into our discussion, let’s define socialization. It’s topical to this conversation, and important.

socialization

noun /ˌsəʊʃəlaɪˈzeɪʃn/ /ˌsəʊʃələˈzeɪʃn/(British English also socialisation)[uncountable] (formal)

the process by which somebody, especially a child, learns to behave in a way that is acceptable in their society.

Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries

There we go.

Now, what does coloring inside the lines have to do with socialization? Well, socialization is the process of ensuring that children obey and act in accordance with particular expectations.

And, it is inside of these expectations where people learn to limit themselves again and again. How?

Well, as we mature we continue to repeat these acceptable behaviors into adulthood. And, often, in fact, probably more often than not, these behaviors actually work. We’ve learned how to make them work for us. Yet, they are still limiting.

Know that I am not arguing that socialization is a problem. Not entirely. I am arguing that socialization limits our creative potential. It keeps us inside of a very narrowly defined box (inside the lines) of what other people have determined is possible in this life, our life.

However, when we become aware of this fact, which can occur many different ways, we have the opportunity to learn to color outside of the lines. How, you ask. Alright, let’s look at a few.

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1. Ask Questions

One of the powers of language is the ability to ask questions. To question what we know, what we think, and what we are told. Socrates said something about asking questions. Hm. Let me see. Ah, actually it’s about knowing, and is still applicable. Here you go.

“The only true wisdom is in knowing that you know nothing.“ – Socrates

Goal Cast

Now, here is a great quote about asking questions.

“The best scientists and explorers have the attributes of kids! They ask questions and have a sense of wonder. They have curiosity. ‘Who, what, where, why, when and how!’ They never stop asking questions, and I never stop asking questions, just like a five year old.” – Sylvia Earle

Goal Cast

Now, you may be thinking, well, I’m not a scientist, or an explorer, so? Fear not. Everyone has the right to question. And, here is an invitation. Consider yourself an explorer, and your life an exploration. Fun.

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2. Embrace Vulnerability

I’ve written a lot about vulnerability of late. Am very present to it, in fact. Why? Well, it was something that I avoided, or resisted, for a time, and now? I am embracing it more and more every day.

Here is a quote I adore about vulnerability.

“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.” -BRENÉ BROWN

Book Riot

Oh, and this one.

“People who wade into discomfort and vulnerability and tell the truth about their stories are the real badasses.” -BRENÉ BROWN

Book Riot

Excellent.

Learning how to embrace vulnerability is a necessity to develop and grow. It is. When you are vulnerable, you openly admit that you don’t know everything, that there is much to learn from everyone around you.

You also intentionally wade into uncomfortable developmentally appropriate contexts and conversations. Why? Because you are interested in growing, in developing.

Though uncomfortable, you realize that being in that context, in that conversation, is the way to increase your own resilience, and at the same time? Yep, grow your tolerance for engaging in vulnerable situations.

You also show that you know yourself enough to know that growing, stretching, and developing is something that you take a stand for; and, in many ways when you do this, you get back, yes, and? So, does everyone else. Really. You are modeling growth and development. Inspiring.

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3. Ask For Help

Right now, you may be thinking, wait, what? What in the world does asking for help have to do with my development? I understand. Stay with me.

Asking for help has to do with modeling humility. And, humility is a developmentally important concept. Let’s define it shall we?

humility

noun /hjuːˈmɪləti/ /hjuːˈmɪləti/[uncountable]

the quality of not thinking that you are better than other people; the quality of being humble

Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries

There we go. Humility is important. When we show humility, we model the unknown. And, what have we learned about the known and the unknown? Well, factually there is much more to learn, than any one person, or even a collective of people know.

When we model the unknown, we model our support for development and growth. We show that we understand both with our head and our heart that we are just one part in the overall system of life on this planet.

We provide people around us with the knowledge that we are open, always actively seeking more information, more ideas, and more experiences that will help us grow and develop. And?

When we take action in this manner, we will get back way more from those around us. See, when we are open, people can see it, hear it, and feel it. Important. We create safety. Safety for them to be the human being they are. To share themselves with us; and, then we get to reciprocate.

We learn more. We become more. Fun.

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Alright, there are 3 things you can do to start coloring your life outside the lines. Fun.

Remember, take it one action at a time. Meaning, when we are interested in coloring our life outside the lines, interested in developing and growing, in creating intentionally contexts to do so, it can sometimes be overwhelming.

Take your time. Take it one action at a time. Example? Sure.

If you usually don’t ask questions, next time ask one. Just one. Start from there. If you usually avoid vulnerable situations, next time you are faced with one, venture out and into that situation. See what you get back.

And, if you don’t ask for help, which is something I work at all the time, next time you are feeling overwhelmed, ask for help. Just try it once.

Developmental growth is a process, not a light switch. It takes doing things differently, creating that intention, and then acting upon it. One day at a time, one action at a time.

#askforhelp, #askquestions, #brene-brown, #developingourselves, #developingresilience, #development, #developmentalgrowth, #developmentandgrowth, #developyourself, #develping-resilience, #embracevulnerability, #emotional-development, #emotionalintelligence, #huamandevelopment, #self-development, #self-inquiry, #selfdevelopment, #socialization, #socrates, #socratesandknowledge, #vulnerabilityanddevelopmentalgrowth, #vulnerableascourageandstrength

An Insight, An Inspiration, and A Quote: On Being Vulnerable

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Insight

Vulnerability is a wonderful gift. When we choose vulnerability over fear, we open ourselves up to learn more about ourselves and all of humanity.

For a long time I chose fear. Not so today. In the spirit of vulnerability, here is a video I created last week on the importance of being vulnerable.

Inspiration

I am inspired by everyone in my life, and everyone I meet. All of them. This past week, I was particularly inspired by a colleague of mine. Terri Houde is a Corporate Trainer, works on our team, and created the following video about an upcoming video series. Check out vulnerability in action. Inspiring.

A Quote

“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” -Helen Keller

Habitsofwellbeing.com

“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.” “People who wade into discomfort and vulnerability and tell the truth about their stories are the real badasses.” – BRENÉ BROWN

Bookriot.com

Be well. Be vulnerable.

#awe, #brene-brown, #courage, #helen-keller, #insight, #inspiration, #inspirational, #life, #love, #streght, #vulnerability, #vulnerable, #wonder