The Pursuit of Authenticity
When I was right out of college my first career was very short lived. I was working for a big advertising agency helping clients sell their products ranging from salad dressing and of all things cigarettes, to air conditioning units and furnaces. During my brief stint in advertising I never felt comfortable in my own skin. I felt like I was playing a role or putting on a show. I was unfulfilled, felt no sense of inner direction and no sense of purpose.
This is how it feels to live a life that ignores the authentic self. When we are inauthentic we ignore our internal compass and veer away from our beliefs, passions and natural talents. As a result we feel out of sorts, disingenuous and ultimately unfilled.
Authenticity is defined within the psychology arena as “an attempt to live one’s life according to the needs of one’s inner being, rather than the demand of society or one’s early conditioning.” An authentic life sounds wonderful and something that everyone would love to attain. Who wouldn’t want to simply be themselves and show up in the world just as they are? The reality is, however, that the vast majority of individuals are not living authentically. Instead we are who we think we should be or who we are told we should be.
The question then becomes, how do we achieve authenticity?
In order to live an authentic life we must be prepared to be vulnerable. We must remove the mask, break down our walls and figure out what our needs are, what we believe, what our values are and what is important to us. Many times this process is unsettling at first. We need to lay bare our inner most insecurities, needs, wants and dreams. Exposing our true self can feel unsettling at first but reconnecting with your inner guidance is incredibly empowering.
2. Self Awareness
Authenticity requires an intentional awareness of the self. Self-awareness is about making the time to reflect on and examine your experiences of your inner world. In order to live an authentic life we cannot simply go through the motions. We need to understand why we do the things we do and why we feel the way we do. Once we have this clarity we are more likely to have improved relationships with others and find life both more rewarding, and also more in line with our values and beliefs.
3. Take Action
Once you have done the hard work of being vulnerable and gaining self awareness, you need to get to work making the necessary changes to your life. Whether that’s abandoning a career that is unfulfilling to pursue your passion, letting go of relationships that require you to be someone who you are not or simply walk your own path instead of the path that was prescribed to you.
When you live with truth, you see what you need to see and be who you really are, for better or for worse and that’s an incredibly empowering experience. If you need some guidance getting there, please consider making an appointment today to begin your journey.
Sara Reed, Author.