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!
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.
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!
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).
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!
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!
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.
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!