The Art of Being Yourself- How to Live Authentically
“The more yourself you are, the less competition you have.”
I can’t remember where exactly I heard someone say this. Perhaps I read it somewhere.
All I remember is writing it down in my phone, the minute I heard it.
I think that most of us can identify with the feeling of being conditioned. I know that my childhood experiences shaped certain behaviors I had to learn to let go of. Like, for example, constantly worrying about other people and their opinions.
Growing up in a very conservative and strict family, I couldn’t always dress the way I wanted- because girls shouldn’t wear baggy pants. I would constantly hear “what will people say!?” whenever I wanted to do something different. Even as a young adult I was at times told that I should never argue with others and that I should just “let it go,” even when other people left me feeling very upset.
I also remember always comparing myself to one of my classmates (who, coincidentally, was also my best friend growing up). She was beautiful, exceptionally smart, and completely different from me. Not to say that I was ugly or stupid, just that I was a bit of a rebel. I found myself thinking that perhaps I should be more like her, that perhaps girls shouldn’t listen to underground hip hop and dress like boys. Even though I loved my friend, I began to resent her, because being so close, I was always compared to her. Long after we parted ways and went to different schools, I still felt that she’s the one who has her shit together, everything figured out, and I’m the one who’s lost, confused and… well, to put it bluntly, a loser.
Turns out, we do the same exact thing as adults. We let other people define “success” for us. By immersing ourselves in other people’s lives, we lose ourselves and we try to hide our differences.
Not all of us are academically gifted, not all of us can sing, paint, play an instrument or have a photographic memory. All of us, however, are gifted. We all have something special and unique to offer to this world. The thing is that somewhere along the way, we’ve forgotten that.
Competing with yourself, instead of “competing” with other people, is a much healthier way to measure your success. As you decide to live more authentically and explore the art of being yourself, you get to define your own success, instead of allowing other people to do it for you.
It’s what the art of being yourself is all about.
THE ART OF BEING YOURSELF- HOW TO LIVE AUTHENTICALLY
Grow your sense of wonder. That child-like need to seek new and exciting things, that we’ve somehow lost along the way. Seek adventure, even in your daily routine. We’ve given up on that sense of adventure, the courage to open more doors, once we’ve realized that there are other things to worry about. Things like paying bills, finishing school, having a mortgage and taking care of our family. The weight of our responsibilities sometimes makes us feel drained, uninspired.
Life tends to remind us, constantly, about the things we don’t have, places we have yet to visit, things we have yet to discover or accomplish. You can’t let that curb your appetite for excitement and adventure. The only person who can bring change to your life is you.
One of the easiest and simplest ways to find yourself again and connect with your true self is with regular meditation practice. It can help you find that silence inside your head, which many of us long for.
Meditation will help you find and embrace that inner peace, bring more calm into your life, more stillness. When I first began my meditation practice, I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been brought to tears of joy due to this magical, overwhelming feeling of peace. If you feel like you’ve lost yourself, meditation is a great place to start.
This is by far one of my favorite ways of connecting with myself. Journaling will allow you to look at things from a new angle, you will see yourself, your life and your desires more clearly. It also clears your emotions and will help you identify any misplaced fear or anxiety.
Ask yourself some questions, and write down the answers.
You can try some prompts, a great place to start is with a workbook/guide like this one. Some of the questions to ask yourself can be:
What are my goals?
What am I afraid of?
What are my strengths?
What makes me feel good?
What are some of my personal gifts?
Is there anything that holds me back from living a more authentic life?
When we lose touch with who we really are, when we constantly agree with other people despite us having a different opinion, when we say “yes” to things we don’t feel like doing, we sometimes forget what we really want. You need to talk to yourself, find yourself again, ask yourself what your needs are, what your desires are- journaling can help you with all of that.
Have you ever had an idea to do something fun, something new and different, but then immediately thought “nahh… that’s stupid” and pushed the idea away? You need to take risks and move in the direction of your goals.
Living authentically takes courage. Being yourself takes courage. To some people, it comes naturally. Others, however, have that strange fear of showing their quirkiness or embracing their uniqueness.
Don’t be afraid to explore solitude. Doing things alone can teach you a lot about yourself, especially when you try something you don’t necessarily feel comfortable doing, when you do things that are out of your comfort zone. I, for one, learned that I’m braver than I give myself credit for. Even when you already spend a lot of time alone, trying something new can be a little scary, but also very rewarding. You can find something you really enjoy doing or discover a talent you never knew you had.
Being fearless isn’t easy, but it will help you discover new things about yourself and it can give you the courage to live your life on your own terms.
When you spend a lot of your time being immersed in other people’s lives, browsing through Facebook or Instagram, you become addicted to living according to other people’s agendas. You define your success according to lives of other people. That is not authentic living. That is not being yourself.
Stop trying to please everyone.
Stop doing things you don’t feel like doing.
Don’t wait for other people’s approval.
Don’t agree with everyone, if that is not the way you feel.
Don’t focus on what the world tells you to be.
You can’t care so much about being accepted by everyone. You are beautifully unique and unless you choose to live your life authentically, and unless you finally decide to be yourself, you can’t share your gifts with the world. Isn’t that what life is all about? You’ve wasted enough time worrying about other people, their opinions and their ideas of “success.” It’s time to be you.