Authenticity is a prerequisite for thriving. Authentic living means living your life according to your own needs and values rather than conforming to those that society, family, or friends expect from you. Achieving this may sound easy, but because we are bombarded with so many external influences, it has never been more challenging.
And it matters. Research has shown that authentic living is directly associated with greater wellbeing across a range of contexts.
How Authentic Living Supports Your Wellbeing
Authentic living supports your wellbeing in three significant ways. Firstly, authentic living helps you nurture relationships because authentic people exude trust and confidence. You are more likely to be embraced in both the boardroom and the bedroom.
Authentic living also helps you feel better emotionally because it provides you with a sense of liberation and freedom, leaving you feeling confident and grounded.
Lastly, authentic living helps you realize your full potential. It is integral to uncovering your true purpose in life. Studies show that people who have a sense of purpose live longer, healthier, and more satisfying lives. Asking yourself what your purpose is may seem like a lofty question, but it’s critical to your wellbeing.
Why Adapted Behaviors Affect Authentic Living
We are authentic at birth. In our attempt to fit in as we move through childhood and into adulthood, we adopt beliefs, thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that often have us acting in prescribed ways rather than in ways that are natural to us. These adapted behaviors help us be functioning members of society. But they also tend to dim our true identity, which is why we can eventually begin to feel like something is missing (i.e., the quintessential mid-life crisis that now often occurs in people’s twenties and thirties).
Each of us came to this planet for a unique journey and purpose. Due to social conditioning that encourages uniformity and consistency, our path can be challenging to identify. Authentic living requires finding out and expressing who we are, paying attention to how we're being called to grow and change, and doing what makes our heart sing. When we do these things, we become healthier, and our life satisfaction level increases as well.
6 Steps to Authentic Living
Authentic living is a process. Here are six tips to help you uncover and express the truest version of yourself.
Lean on practices like meditation and yoga to observe your mind and help you distinguish between adapted behavior and authentic living.
Let Your Intuition Guide You
You have been conditioned to be pragmatic, often at the expense of your intuition. There’s a reason that you have this sixth sense—learn to both access and follow it.
Recognize External Influences
Examine your socially conditioned belief systems. Your external programming runs deep, so it can require some professional support, such as from a therapist or life coach, to fully distinguish external influences from your authentic self.
Identify Your Strengths
Accept that you have unique talents to express. For clues on how to craft your vision of authentic living, think back to your childhood talents and interests and the things you enjoyed doing growing up.
Release Stale Patterns
Acknowledge that you evolve. Your existing patterns of living and relating may no longer serve you. Replace them with new ones that are rejuvenating and more appropriate at this stage of your journey.
Take Action Daily
Your daily habits communicate your intentions to the universe. Consistently strive for authentic living and you will notice a shift.
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