Authenticity. It’s one of those words that gets tossed around quite a bit these days. (In fact, it’s in danger of becoming a bit of a cliché.) Sure, we all think we’re authentic in our words and actions. But what does it actually mean? More to the point, what does an authentic life really look like? Kathleen McIntire and Erin Cote share the following tips for being your authentic self.
- Come to terms with what really matters to you.
- Whatever you decide to do (or not to do), own your decision. If you find you can’t own it—if you feel wracked with guilt or compelled to hide the truth from those around you—it’s time to re-think what you’re doing.
- If in your journey to authenticity you decide a lifestyle change is needed, be realistic in your goal-setting. Let’s say you decide your diet, heavy in fats and processed foods, isn’t serving you well. If you know you aren’t going to grow an organic garden in your back yard, set a goal to prepare a body- and soul-nourishing meal (heavy on the veggies and supplemented with organically raised meat) two days a week at first. It’s best to take “baby steps” and plan to make more dramatic changes when you’re ready. In this way you’ll build the confidence you need to succeed.
- Break an unwritten “rule” made by others and reject any shame. Allowing others to shame us keeps us living on the treadmill and trying to fit in by doing it the “right way.” Authenticity is inner directed. Inauthenticity comes from caring what others think and letting the external dictate how you live.
- Ask yourself, “What am I hiding?” Make the choice to reveal something you’ve been fiercely protecting. Chip away at the armor by sharing a secret with partner or a friend or maybe just your cat or your journal.
- It’s okay to do things for yourself. Honor your own needs. Sometimes we all need a massage or a new handbag or just a couple of hours alone while our spouse takes the kids to a movie.
- Give yourself permission to have feelings that you think you “shouldn’t” have. Should and shouldn’t have no place in an authentic life.
- Get real about money. Spending what you can’t afford to spend is another way of pretending to be who we aren’t. It’s also a disaster in the making!
- Take a break from the need to DO something. Simply BE. Simply show up as you are and love.
- Know when you’re at your best and when you’re not. (When you’re not, it’s almost always the perfect time for a bath or a nap!)
- Call a moratorium on victim talk. Authentic people don’t blame others. They recognize their own power and use it to create their own reality.
- Own your emotions. If you can’t help crying in confrontational situations, let the tears flow. If you’re devastated when a pet dies, accept condolences without apologizing or minimizing. You feel what you feel…let go of the label of being “too sensitive.”
- Each week, spend some time outside. When we disconnect from Nature, we disconnect from Source. We’re creatures of the Earth and it’s hard to thrive in an artificial world.
- Declutter a little (people and “stuff”). When you’re too busy trying to manage chaos you can’t relax enough to even know who you are and what you need and want. (Do you really love Grandma’s china? If you don’t, give it to someone who does. Are you really going to fit into those size 8 jeans ever again? If not, get rid of them!)
- Seize every opportunity to say, “I love you”—to yourself. Until we can fully love ourselves, we can’t fully love the others in our life.
Get comfortable with it. Maybe you’re okay with a smaller income and more free time. Maybe you’re okay with an extra 20 pounds. Never apologize for not “fitting in.” The minute you find yourself worrying about how others perceive you is the minute you abandon authenticity.
About the Authors:
Kathleen McIntire is a transformational teacher, speaker, and healer who is dedicated to bringing forth truth, liberation, and awakening. Erin Cote has been involved in creative design for over a decade. Her main focus is on bringing humor and playfulness to professional environments through Laughter Therapy.Together they are the authors and co-creators of Guiding Signs 101, a set of divination cards and guidebook using everyday road signs to tap into your intuition and own inner guidance.