Are you Living an Authentic Life?

Welcome! It is the first Cuppa and a Chat post of the New Year. This may turn out to be a bit of a ramble. It is one of those post’s that the idea for popped into my brain, and I sat to write then and there. So, you will be reading this exactly how the thoughts are streaming from my mind, with minor editing. Scary eh! I decided this year I was going to be more impulsive on the blog, so here we go! My thought for you to ponder is, are you truly living an authentic life?? Grab your cuppa my lovelies, let’s chat!

cup of tea in a mug with a K in it sits on a table in front of a plant
living an authentic life

So this post was inspired by a book I have just finished reading. There is a paragraph in the book, The Authenticity Project, that says,

Everyone lies about their lives. What would happen if you shared the truth instead? If you shared the one thing that defines you, that make everything else about you, fall into place. Perhaps nothing. But perhaps telling that story would change your life, or the life of someone you have never met.

From The Authenticity Project

For some reason those words really resonated with me. I kept replaying them in my mind. Mulling them over. It was like those words had left an echo in my head. I kept hearing them, even after reading more pages of the book. It made me question how many of the people I know, do I actually know? How many of the people I see or interact with on a fairly regular basis, present a version of themselves to the world, that is just that, a version? I am not really talking about our closest friends, we usually get them warts and all. But which people that are in our lives truly show up as themselves?

I think this paragraph maybe resonated more with me as I had been mulling similar thoughts over last year. I have told you before about my disenchantment with social media last year. I feel social media massively facilitates this pull away from authentic living. In part, it was the lack of authenticity I began to see, that was the reason for my withdrawal from it. I am an observer, and I began to see cracks in peoples version they were presenting to the world. Absolutely their right to present however they want to. But it made me start to question what was real, and what was not.

social media can facilitate inauthentic living

For example, you have the common theme of Social Media being a show reel. People that almost curate a pretend life in their Instagram squares. From the outside looking in, they have the perfect life. Always immaculately turned out. Their house gleaming and rivalling any show home. The perfectly staged photos. The permanent smile and “positive vibes only” persona. How much of that is real? With so many people on Instagram desperate to become “influencers”, it is becoming more and more difficult to see what and who is real. It made me switch off.

I should add here, no one has to share things that they are not comfortable sharing. We all have the right to keep ourselves private. However, as a Mum, I do question the damage we are doing to our younger generations, by only showing the perfect parts of life. I truly believe it can muck up youngsters mental health. However, that is an argument for another day!

Or the person that constantly says they are on social media “purely for fun”, yet spend countless precious hours on it hustling. They are obviously desperate to grow their platforms, yet are not being authentic about it. Why not? What is the fear?

So what is living an authentic life?

So what do I mean by living an authentic life? We obviously all have to conduct ourselves certain ways, in certain scenarios. That is different. But if you want the psychologist version of living an authentic life it is;

being authentic means coming from a real place within. It is when our actions and words fully match our beliefs and values. It is being ourselves, not an imitation of who think we should be. It is showing yourself genuinely.

But the simple version, is that it is just living truthfully. People that are living an authentic life are usually pretty self aware. They accept their strengths and weaknesses. They hold themselves accountable. They are genuine and true to themselves. They are transparent, and at times vulnerable. They have set an intent to always be real, and a willingness to act in line with their true nature. Even if this makes them feel a little exposed. People are usually drawn to truly authentic people, as they connect with others far more easily. Definitely the type of people I like to surround myself with.

But, it can be scary to show up like that. I get it. Insecurity can make us feel that the real us will not be as liked as the version we create. An inner dialogue may be telling you that only perfect is likeable. A lack of confidence can make us feel that we have to fit in and be just like the people we are trying to connect with. Past experiences may have put some untrue scenarios in your head about the lack of worth your true self has. (All bullshiz of course. You are worth so much more than your limiting beliefs may try to make you believe).

Insecurity can make us feel that the real us will not be as liked as the version we create. An inner dialogue may be telling you that only perfect is likeable.

Kerry Hawkins

Quite often, fear is behind the way people present themselves. I know it has played a part in the past with my own actions. Even though I pride myself on my authenticity, I know dips in my confidence can make me more cautious. For example, for a while, I began to think I might like to explore making writing my blog my income. However, I never wanted to say it out loud. I did not want people to judge me, or think “she rates herself” Fear held me back. I would always answer people with “oh it’s just a hobby” when they asked why I wrote it. Behind the scenes I was taking online courses and building on my knowledge, but still felt I couldn’t say out loud that was my aim at the time. (It is not my goal now, I just love writing my blog for the love of writing)

I know it was fear of failure that stopped me admitting what my true goal was. I was worried that it would not work out, so I was being inauthentic with my thoughts around it. I realised I was doing that, when I found I was feeling a spark of annoyance at the people that were shouting from the rooftops that this was their goal. I am self aware enough to know that it was their bravery and ability to own up to their goals that bugged me, not the people themselves. It showed me that my lack of bravery was keeping me in restraints. It was a great reminder and teacher though. When I did show up and start shouting about my true intentions, opportunities started rolling in. Reminder noted!

lady sitting on a mountain side, thinking.
Understand who you are

The fear that stops us being fully authentic, has such a negative impact on us. It can lead us to be defensive and guarded. The fear of being exposed can stop us making the right decisions or taking the right course of action. It can make us feel out of sync or that something is just not right. But trust me, it feels so blooming good to be living an authentic life! You feel more confident in your decision making. You feel more connected and bonded to the people in your life. You are more driven and purposeful towards your goals. You are less likely to self sabotage, or have self destructive habits. You are living in line with your true self, so feel no need to hide behind anything. It is liberating!

But living with an open mind, truly living an authentic life, frees us from trying to be all things to all people. It will stop you feeling the need to be the chameleon or shape shifter, trying to please and be perfect.

Kerry Hawkins

Of course, no one is suggesting that you start telling all and sundry your inner most secrets. The barman at The Swan really does not need to hear in detail, your 10 year plan. But living with an open mind, truly living an authentic life, frees us from trying to be all things to all people. It will stop you feeling the need to be the chameleon or shape shifter, trying to please and be perfect. You will be quietly confident in the knowledge that actually, you are pretty blooming amazing and perfect, just as you are.

a book lies open. On the page are written the words you are enough
You are enough

So, let’s go back to the passage in the book. What if telling your story really did alter your life in some way? What about if it freed you from fears holding you back. Or what about if telling your truth made someone else feel less alone or able to be braver. What an amazing and powerful thing that could be! What if revealing a tiny part of your truth helped someone understand you better, and deepened your relationship with them. How enriching that could feel. Again, I am not saying we should all be spilling our bellies at the bus stop. I am just suggesting listening to your own truth more. Being more inline with your core values and personality.

A few pointers for living an Authentic life

  • Notice when you are being inauthentic. It will reveal to you where you may have fears or insecurities. You can then explore those fears and barriers.
  • Keep open minded and open hearted. Challenge yourself to look at everything openly. This helps keep us in “authentic flow”
  • Trust in yourself and that you are enough, just as you are.
  • Get to know yourself fully and truthfully. Don’t hide anything from yourself, even if not ready to reveal it to others.
  • Be fierce in your truth. I don’t mean argue the toss with everyone, but be true to yourself rather than bend to others will and values

Now, I have a little task for you. Write down the following; “If you really knew me, you would know ……………………….” Then you fill in the blank in the most honest, transparent way you can. It is not for anyone else’s eyes, so really dig into your inner most core to answer it. The task will encourage you to look inwardly, and be honest about your vulnerabilities. It could even reveal something that you did not know you were harbouring!

So, here we go. Deep breath. Here is mine;

If you really knew me, you would know – that I have had to work really, really hard on not being ashamed of how I look. Over the last few years, I have gained about 5 stone and many times, it has made me feel unhealthy, ugly, unworthy, invalid and ironically, invisible. I wrote a little about this in my Invisibility Cloak post. People judge you on how you look. They make assumptions and I have seen their judgment reflected in their face. It hurts me. It makes me retreat inwards. I hate that people have got the wrong impression of me in the past. I know my crippling lack of confidence that can rear it’s head, has made me come across a little stand-offish at times. I hate that I have to dress how I can, not how I want.

I have become very good at hiding my feelings around this, and people that meet me would never know this self loathing I have had in the past. I have worked hard on increasing my confidence, but it still causes me pain. The fact that it causes me pain, yet I do not do anything about it, causes me shame. The shame then causes me to want to hide away and withdraw, which causes me to feel isolated. This need to withdraw then affects my family life, which adds to my feelings of being a rubbish person. It is a cycle that I have had to work so bloody hard to break. I have made loads of progress, but still have work to do.

Kerry Hawkins

This is purely my own experience, and of course I am not saying anyone overweight should feel this way. It is just how I feel. You of course do not have to reveal anything to anyone. But, in my quest to live an authentic life, I have a bit of a tendency to over share! Perhaps I am too honest! I am not sure but I find that living within my truth, makes me feel lighter (no pun intended) and happier. I suppose being true to ourselves means there are no inner conflicts going on. We have more conviction and clarity. It feels blooming good!

I would love to know your thoughts. Feel free to comment to your hearts content. I love to hear your experiences and thoughts. I hope this ramble has made sense. I think all of us have so much to offer the world. We just gotta let our weirdness shine, in al it’s glorious truth!

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17 Comments

  1. January 13, 2021 / 1:12 pm

    I LOVE your puns, your honesty and the fact that you are completely and utterly fabulous. No, honestly. Integrity is so important and being honest and open will only bring positives I think. You’re right about not sharing everything of your life on social/the blog though. Some things are best kept just for ourselves unless we’re 100% happy about sharing them. And well done for sharing your insecurities hun – we all have them. I suffer from Imposter syndrome all the time and tend to second guess myself. This year I want to push myself out of my comfort zone even more – and we’ll see what happens! Carry on being authentic my lovely friend X

    • January 13, 2021 / 6:07 pm

      Haha, the puns are always an accidental happiness lol. I think people have become a little scared of living in true authenticity. Everyone demands perfect these days. Crazy. I do feel comfortable sharing most things, but I do sometimes think I am maybe to much of an open book lol. Imposter syndrome is rubbish too, but you have absolutely no reason to feel that. You are fabulous. xxx Thank you for your support. I appreciate you xxx

      • January 14, 2021 / 8:53 am

        Too kind – and you’re too modest! X

  2. January 13, 2021 / 5:25 pm

    Kerry its almost like you are inside my head! I am so guilty of not showing up for fear of what others may think of me and yet I see lots of people on here doing it with apparent ease! I resonate so much with your personal comment too- I had so much shame over how I looked especially for me it was my teeth. I’m taking action with braces and its already making all the difference to me personally with confidence levels ( even though I cannot go anywhere for anyone to actually notice). But I was the same too with my weight as it piled on while I battled chronic illness and pain. Again it was an eventual realisation that only I could do something about it……..it gave me a form of control over what was happening to me, it helped me to help myself as much as I could with regard to pain levels- rather than to look a certain way or size. Now after turning 50 last year I’m probably the most authentic self that I’ve ever been. Its lovely to read these sort of blogs too to remind yourself that its not just you

    • January 13, 2021 / 6:18 pm

      Ohhh that self conscious feeling is a hash task master. It can control how we act and live can’t it. I am so happy for you that you are making moves to make yourself feel better. I applaud you for that. I know exactly what you mean by the weight being something you can get a hold of. I do get that feeling too. Trouble with me, I love everything that is not good for me hahaha! I love that you feel now that you are living as your fabulous, authentic self. It really is a great feeling isn’t it. I am so happy that you found this post of use, and I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts xxxx

  3. January 13, 2021 / 7:46 pm

    Really enjoyed reading this blog Kerry. I think there are so many of us trying to hide our insecurities. I’ve spent most of my life being a people pleaser and feel that I need to put myself first sometimes but it’s quite hard x

    • January 14, 2021 / 7:01 am

      Hi Katy, thank you for reading. So much of what we do has been a learned behaviour, so undoing those habits can take a lot of self awareness and time. I think putting ourselves first does not come naturally to so many of us, so it is something we have to practise. Maybe start by giving yourself a set time per day/week to just do exctly what you want? That could be a start xx

  4. January 14, 2021 / 1:59 pm

    What an inspiring post, Kerry! Regarding the influencer culture, I had an interesting conversation about it with my sister (who works in marketing) yesterday and it made me so sad – how people can make money and gain thousands of followers for inauthenticity.
    Your description of an authentic person made me so happy because I could recognise myself so much in it. I may be an oversharer at times and it makes me feel uneasy, while at the same time I think people who expose themselves are interesting and appealing people because they seem REAL, and I would hate walking around knowing, or suspecting, I wasn’t an authentic person. I certain areas I’ve probably hidden my true self but I’m moving away from that. Especially in my whiskey blogging sphere I think I’ve taken myself too seriously and tried to not show how much I don’t know, but some time ago another blogger praised me for being authentic and willing to learn and explore, so I was probably wrong! I was delighted to read that though!

    This sentence: “When I did show up and start shouting about my true intentions, opportunities started rolling in” totally made my day, it inspired me so much!!! Because I’m trying to prepare to create a new career, but I have such a hard time believing in myself, that others will appreciate my work and that I can reach my goals, that I don’t dare to even breathe those plans in public! But who knows… maybe i should get some courage and talk about it?

    • January 14, 2021 / 2:54 pm

      Oh this makes me so happy that you found the post useful Susanne. Honestly, being told it helps makes my day so thank you. I love that you recognised yourself as an authentic person. That is amazing and I truly believe, will bring you so much more inner peace. If we are not in constant conflict with who we are, who we thing we should be and who others want us to be, it can ONLY lead to a happy soul. Regarding showing up as yourself in the blogging world, if I could shout DO IT a thousand times, I would. I honestly feel so much better about my blog since I decided I was going to follow my heart and just write whatever I like. It seems to have opened a portal to creativeness, as I am literally brimming with ideas. I don’t know if you have ever explored manifestation Susanne? It is all about putting out the energy that you want reflected back to you. Almost like speaking something into existence. I think that is why the minute I admitted to myself, and others, that I wanted opportunities, they started coming! I fully recommending having a little read up on manifestation, even just out of interest. Oh, and I implore you, do not EVER think you are not good enough. Who makes the rules on what/who is good enough? You are fabulous just as you are xx

      • January 14, 2021 / 3:55 pm

        You’re so right about that Kerry, and I’m slowly learning to respect myself just as I would others! Actually my word/phrase for the year, that I believe will change lots of what I do and feel, is “self-respect”.
        Actually my career plan and goals aren’t blog related, but within graphic and UI design! I’ve always loved all such things but never saw it as a career, until last summer when I decided to do an online course of Adobe InDesign just because they were cheap, and after a few lessons something in me just “clicked” and I realised that I could make a career out of that. I’ve always been trying to design things and now I’m taking a few theory courses + the Adobe suite. We will see where it takes me! Exciting and I love it!
        There was a time last spring when I thought of going into freelance writing and blogging for money, but I quite soon ditched that because the type of writing that people/clients usually want is not what I want to do. For my own personal blog, I’ve been struggling for years with it, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with it but didn’t want to give it up. I’ve taken that blog too seriously too, because it’s part of my online presence/branding, and for that reason I haven’t come anywhere with it – I wanted it to be too perfect. Then recently when I decided to follow my passion (gaah that sounds so cliché!) and use my blog to write about my biggest passion in life – music – after that I finally feel happy with the blog and at ease with it (although it’s not perfect)! Like you, when I finally decided to follow my heart and passion with my blog, I have loads and loads of ideas for it!

        • January 14, 2021 / 7:46 pm

          Oh wow that sounds amazing! Well done you. Isn’t it crazy how life leads us to where we are meant to be? My Mum always says that don’t ever be sad if a door doesn’t open, it means it is not your door. I think it is so true. It means it is not our path. usually something better, and more inline with our true selves tends to come along! I am excited for you and where this new venture could take you. I wish you all the best x

  5. January 20, 2021 / 3:19 pm

    Wow, what a lovely post. Confidence and so many other things affect how authentic we live our lives. I try live an authentic live however I know there are things that I do that don’t align with it. Sometimes I think it was more authentic when I was in my 20’s – I got a motorbike, had an eyebrow piercing and all sorts. People in my extended family and community kept commenting negatively on these two things as well as other things but I was being true to myself and who I was.

    In our culture, we have a lots of religious, weddings and other functions (pre- Covid). One wedding can be 5/7 functions in itself. It’s hard to tell people who simply don’t want to or can’t go to everything – people get offended (more so if it your in-laws family). Many people wanted to celebrate every occasion with going out to dinner and splitting the bill (we always ended up paying 4/5 times more than was actually had by us – I did not drink or eat meat). We simply could not afford it and were always in debt. I was happy to decline and explain why however my then husband always wanted to keep up with his friends and family (pride too) even though we simply could not afford to. HIs friends/family would have understood and been ok with it but he just never mentioned it.

    I have also taken job where the company’s/management’s ethics (or lack of) do not align with my own and decision were made within them that we so against everything I stood for (however I couldn’t afford the luxury of leaving). This is a difficult one as we all need to earn a living.

    There so many things about my culture and pressure in my life that have lead me not to be my authentic self but over the last few years I have changed that and am going back to how I was in may 20’s (in that respect) and if people don’t like it, tough shit!

    I was also bullied a lot in my adult life, professionally and in my personal life too which also prevented me from being true to myself. Same with gift giving, I have wanted to stop it forever but people get offended. I am still working on this one.

    • January 21, 2021 / 8:35 am

      Ohhhh Nital thank you so much for sharing this! I found it so interesting, and the cultural aspect is so much food for thought! I think so much pressure can be put on all of us within cultures, because it is “what has always been done” or because that is “the way we do things” I have so much admiration for you in saying no, this does not make me happy. Good for you. It is an incredible move towards giving yourself the honour of living authentically. You are so right in that there are situations where we just have to do what we have to do sometimes. Society, finances, family etc have expectations of behaviour. I am so happy for you that you are fiding the courage and willpower to stop things that do not serve you. Amazing xxx

  6. January 21, 2021 / 9:46 am

    This is why I love your posts Kerry. Tell it how it really is. I know that you are authentic on socials and that’s why I admire your no holding back. I must admit, I do often worry about what I post because everyone else is portraying such perfections. xx

    • January 24, 2021 / 12:43 pm

      I do sometimes think I am maybe too honest, but I am what I am right? I have always been a little unfiltered haha! I would genuinely love to see social media do an about turn and become what it originally was. Just a place to share snippets of life etc. But as I always say, the minute money comes into things, the game changes so I do get that it is the way that it is. We all have to just try to live in the way that makes us happy right? Thank you for reading xx

  7. Sue Boughton-Thomas
    January 27, 2021 / 7:49 am

    Love this blog Kerry, as usual your writing is candid, sprinkled with humour & challenging to the mind.
    My Instagram account ‘Sunshine_tea_tropic’ (was life to begin with) is a second account. I wanted to see how I would show up if no-one knew me, what my ‘authentic’ self would be prepared to say or do that might be different to how I present to my friends & family on my personal account. Sounds so weird when I say it out loud!!! I blocked anyone that found me on that account who knew me! That was 3 years ago & it is now my main account (friends unblocked) as two things happened.
    In my ‘safe space’ I found me again & what my own passions in life were
    It gave me the confidence to ‘show up’ to those who knew me & worry less what they thought
    I think we all have this inherent need to be liked & accepted & this can make us like chameleons trying to blend into our environment! I’m going to seek out this book as, although I have made steps forward, there is always room for improvement.
    Thank you for being you!!

    • January 27, 2021 / 11:50 am

      Ohhh Sue this actually made me a bit emotional reading this. It does not sound weird to me at all, I promise you. I could absolutely fully understand and resonate with you putting the feelers out as it were. Not quite wanting to be found by those that know you. I get it totally x The fact that it enabled you to find your precious self again – wow – what a beautiful blessing. I love this so so much. When we live in line with our authentic self, it is such a happy place right? As the saying goes, happiness in an inside job! Thank YOU for being you, and thank you so much for reading and sharing. Your lovely words are so kind, and You, just as you are, are flippin amazing x

Please feel free to comment, I love reading them x

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