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It means learning to let go of outdated ideas and concepts about ourselves, which were handed to us during our childhood.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

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10 Reasons Why Developing Your Purpose is Dependent on Being Authentic

What is your purpose? Do you know, or have you ever considered it; I mean, really considered it? Like, written it down, reflected upon it, and used it to interact with people you know, or meet?

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Well, I’ve been thinking a lot the past few weeks about purpose. And, just today it dawned on me that authenticity is a very important concept to the development of your purpose. Really. How, you ask. Well, let’s define our terms, and then we’ll discuss it.

Here we go.

purpose

nounOPAL WOPAL S /ˈpɜːpəs/ /ˈpɜːrpəs/Idioms[countable]

the intention, aim or function of something; the thing that something is supposed to achieve

Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries

authenticity

noun /ˌɔːθenˈtɪsəti/ /ˌɔːθenˈtɪsəti/[uncountable]

the quality of being true or what somebody claims it is

Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries

Alright, there we go. Now, we can see from these definitions that purpose is about setting an intention to achieve something; and, that authenticity is about being true to who we are.

Important. Why?

Because in order to set an intention to create your purpose, you must be true to who you really are; not the person you were, or the person people tell you you are. A very important distinction.

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Photo by Christophe Maertens on Unsplash

If you create a purpose that is imbued with ideas about your past-self or with ideas about the person you believe people want you to be, your purpose will not inspire you, nor will it inspire anyone else.

Okay. Let’s take a look at

10 Reasons Why Developing Your Purpose is Dependent on Being Authentic

1. Inspired

In order to be inspired, and to inspire others, you must believe in your purpose with both your head and heart. A must. When we develop a purpose that is connected to our authentic-self, the human being we know ourselves to be, we are instantly inspired.

2. Dedicated

Living a purpose-driven life is hard work. Really, it is. It takes dedication. And, when we create our purpose directly from our authentic-self, we have a deep well of dedication. A well, that, at times, seems like it will never empty. A beautiful feeling.

3. Passionate

When we are true to who we are, we are inspired, yes, and we also have deep passion for all that we do. Why? Because when we are authentic, the purpose we create will naturally connect to all aspects of our lives. Work, family, friends, everyone, and everything.

4. Persistent

When you are living your purpose, you will meet many challenges. It’s part of it. However, when our purpose is connected to our authentic-self, you will get up every time you fall down. Every time. You will persist under any and all circumstances. You must have created your purpose from your authentic-self to be present to this level of persistence.

5. Resilient

A natural byproduct of living a purpose-driven life is developing more resilience. You have to when you are constantly challenged in pursuit of your purpose. When your purpose is created from your authentic self, you will develop more resilience than you ever thought possible. Amazing.

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Photo by David Wirzba on Unsplash

6. Growing

When we are connected to our authentic-self and purpose, we are also interested in developing and growing. We are open with people about who we really are. And, when we are open and true to who we are, opportunities for growth sprout everywhere.

7. Vulnerable

When we are authentic and living a purpose-driven life, opportunities to be vulnerable arsie often. These opportunities are driven by you, and those you surround yourself with. When we are vulnerable, people we are close to feel safe and also venture into vulnerable spaces. Beautiful.

8. Loved

When you are true to who you are, love arises more often. Love for yourself and the human being you are, and love for those around you. When you are authentic and living your purpose, you feel more love, are more love, and give out more love. It just happens.

9. Complete

When you are authentic, and are creating and moving your purpose into the world, you feel more complete. You are more complete. Notions of hiding parts of yourself begin to disappear, and you give yourself and everyone around you that completeness. They can feel it, and know it, as you practice being the human being you are.

10. Driven

Authenticity and purpose align to create more drive. More drive to continue to create your purpose from the space of your authentic-self. And, when you are driven, the people you choose to surround yourself with are also driven. Driven to change the world one action at a time. A wonder.

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Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

It is amazing how being the authentic human being we know ourselves to be can transform so many aspects of our lives. It can, and does.

When we remove the barriers that have been handed to us and created by ourselves, we can begin to live the life we’ve been thinking of, hoping for, and dreaming about. How?

Dedicate time to yourself, for yourself. Reflect upon the work you are doing right now. Is it the work you’ve been thinking of, hoping for, and dreaming about? Yes, wonderful. And, if not?

Begin to let go of the person that you were socialized to believe you are. Really. Begin to let go of those concepts, restrictions, and limitations, and get in touch with your authentic-self.

Once you are in touch with your authentic-self, begin to create the life you’ve been thinking of, hoping for, and dreaming about. Create your new life by taking one step at a time toward getting in touch with your authentic-self.

As you take these steps toward your authentic-self, your purpose will show up. Why? Because, your purpose already lives inside of you. Inside of the authentic-self you know yourself to be.

#beingauthentic, #developingpurposeandauthenticity, #developingyourpurpose, #livinganauthenticlife, #purposeandauthenticity, #purposedrivenlife, #selfdevelopment, #selfimprovement