The authentic self is the you that can be found at your absolute core. It is the part of you not defined by your job, function or role. It is the composite of all your skills, talents and wisdom. It is all of the things that are uniquely yours and need expression, rather than what you believe you are supposed to be and do.
When you're not living faithfully to your authentic self, you find yourself feeling incomplete, as if there is a hole in your soul. You may have found that it's easier to fill the roles your family and friends expect of you, rather than becoming who you really want to be. Living this way drains you of the critical life energy you need to pursue the things you truly value.
When you live a life that has you ignoring your true gifts and talents while performing assigned or inherited roles instead, you are living as your fictional self.
The fictional self-sends you false information about who you are and what you should be doing with your life. It blocks the information you need in order to maintain the connection with your authentic identity. Relying on information from the fictional self-means you're putting your trust in a broken compass.
Authentic Self. That seems to be the new buzzword, but what does it mean? It means being your true self. In order to realize and understand who your true self is, you have to start by thinking about your own life. We all get caught up in the trends of wearing the right clothes, driving the right cars, having the best phones and working in the highest paying jobs. Reflect on how striving to fit in with these trends impacts your life. Ask yourself if striving for and living inside these trends makes you happy. Are those things the true you?
Inner reflection can be intimidating, but it will help you to discover your authentic self. Don Miguel Ruiz writes in his book The Four Agreements that “our biggest fear is taking the risk to be alive and express what we really are." He is absolutely right. If you want to be completely alive and be your authentic self, ask yourself these 5 questions:
- When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up? We all had a dream when we were little, but people get sidetracked from their dreams by status, money, responsibility and life. Picture yourself in your childhood dream. Do you see that smile and that positive energy? That can be your life.
- What makes you laugh? Laugh at what you find funny. Who cares if the person next to you is laughing. Laughing feels good, makes us happier people and sets us free to enjoy the life we are living. Laughter is a powerful tool that can change your mood and your perception of what is happening in the moment. Enjoy the smile and the feeling of happiness rising inside of you.
- What clothes do you feel comfortable in? This is a serious question. It doesn't matter if you like dressing in suits everyday or prefer cotton shirts and no shoes, wear what makes you comfortable. I am not suggesting that you run naked through the streets or your office, but clothes are a way of expressing yourself and what you wear should be comfortable and should reflect the true you.
- What activities do you enjoy? Discovering these activities will help guide you towards a place where you want to spend time. By finding and immersing yourself in this place, you will feel happier and more energized. Ultimately you may find that you want to work in that place, or at least create the possibility to spend more time there.
- Who can you be yourself around? We are social creatures by nature, so it is important to spend time with people who make us feel good and accept us for who we really are. When we are with people who do not judge us but accept us, then we are able to express our authentic self.
Once you discover who your authentic self is, you will not only feel happier but more at peace and more energized. You can start to make changes in your life that allow you to be this person. Face your fears and start your journey to being your authentic self. You will be amazed at how your life is richer and happier. Set yourself free to be.