Living authentically means living a life aligned with one's true self, values, and beliefs. The more honest and open an individual is, the greater their understanding of their own identity. The journey to uncover one's true self is both fulfilling and life-changing, necessitating three key factors: self-awareness, courage, and unwavering commitment.
To live authentically, it's important to start by developing an acute sense of awareness. Reflecting on one's values and beliefs is essential for improving life. Assessing wants, needs, and aspirations can help with identifying triggers that might be hindering progress. Evaluating priorities helps with distractions, thus identifying areas out of alignment with one's true self. The intent is to be honest about weaknesses and limitations, yet fully appreciative of strengths, accomplishments, and talents. There is much to be gleaned when considering how much of one's day is filled with unproductive, joyless, or aimless actions.
The reality is this: living authentically can be difficult, especially in the beginning. It requires courage. Confronting fears and disappointments, which are often based on perceptions heavily influenced by others and one's own struggles with self-esteem, may not be pleasant. If one feels rudderless and unsure about their life's purpose, chances are they also feel unfulfilled. Unfulfilled and overwhelmed with a distressing sense that they should BE, DO, and GIVE more, they are stuck in place unsure how to move forward.
To transform careers or relationships, individuals must undergo their own personal transformation. Self-awareness not only helps build more meaningful connections with others, but it also grounds new relationships and experiences, providing a deeper sense of empathy and understanding when introduced to those who are different in mind, body, and belief. Honest and open communication about one's thoughts, feelings, and needs enables individuals to build trust, be more present, and better respond to situations rather than react, an essential trait for leaders. Moreover, like-minded individuals, such as those who value others, are drawn to each other when this value is reciprocated and acknowledged.
Living in someone's shadow or feeling the need to be someone else is not healthy. This mindset creates self-doubt, where every move or decision is questioned internally. Living according to one's own authentic values and beliefs makes individuals more likely to experience inner peace and contentment, less concerned with what others may think or believe. Thus, living authentically can enhance an individual's emotional well-being. It's okay to create boundaries to limit toxic situations or people, whether they be friends, family, or co-workers. Adopting this mindset can help limit periods of anxiety, depression, and other mental health challenges.
Although it takes time, commitment, and maybe a little risk-taking stepping outside of one's comfort zone to improve their life, individuals may observe a quicker transformation by setting boundaries, following their true passions, exploring new career moves, or pursuing interests long ignored. The benefits of embracing one's true authentic self are significant. Widening the narrow, often manipulated lens with which life is viewed, living life authentically is a powerful and transformative approach to existence, regardless of age, because it is uniquely aligned with who individuals are at their core.
Ray LeCara Jr is the author of Who Are You, Really? The Search for Authenticity