Living An Authentic Life
Have you heard of the ‘true mirror’? Apparently, the patent for this has been around as long as the late 1800’s, but today is the first time I have heard about it.
If you place two mirrors together at right angles, it is said we gain a more authentic view of ourselves, while traditional mirrors reflect images backward and don’t allow us to see ourselves as others see us.
How many times have we looked in the mirror and found ourselves less than thrilled with the image looking back at us?
We never quite believe it when someone else tells us we are beautiful. I mean how can we, when we can see first-hand every flaw and blemish starring back at us.
I can’t count the number of times my husband has said to me
“I wish you could see yourself through my eyes.”
“In a mirror, we find a reflection of our appearance, but in our heart, we find a reflection of our soul.” ~ Anonymous
A Time For Reflection
The past few years I have spent a lot of time reflecting on my life and searching for who I really am at my deepest level. Discovering my authentic self has brought me to an ugly conclusion.
The majority of my life I have not allowed myself to be completely and fully me. I have allowed who I thought I should be, control who I truly am and inadvertently created an imitation of myself.
Yes, there have been fleeting moments of authenticity when I was passionate about something, but even then fear controlled me because I didn’t want to ruffle feathers or hurt anyone causing me to remain quiet when I should have spoken up.
It can be difficult to put ourselves “out there.” We risk being rejected, criticized and even judged, but one of the essential requirements of creating a deeper intimacy in our lives is not to compromise who we are with who we are expected to be.
What does it mean to live authentically?
“Living authentically is what you’re doing when you find congruence between your inner world: your feelings, values, gifts, needs, spirituality, and passions, and your outer world: your job, relationships, home, and community. When you live an authentic life, these things support and synergize each other”
~ Susan Piver
Several years ago, I had an epiphany while sitting in church. I realized I hadn’t been living my life completely in tune with my inner or outer world. I was living my life according to who man said I should be. I found that the religion and tradition of man didn’t align with my core beliefs, making it difficult to reconcile God’s love with man’s judgment.
Throughout our lives, we experience situations that build our personal beliefs and values. As babies, we enter this world probably in our most authentic form. We express ourselves freely but along the way we receive messages from others telling us to act like someone else, causing us to doubt our own views.
“Be a voice, not an echo.” ~ Albert Einstein
Secrets To Authenticity
The secret to authentic living is to weed through these experiences. When we look too closely at someone else’s life it can cause us to practice their behaviors, and before we know it, we don’t look like us, but we become an imitation of someone else.
Being authentic is more than being real; it is finding what is real. We must be continually open and willing to learn about ourselves. What is real for me will be different from what is real for you, and that is okay.
Steps to authentic living:
1 – Open your heart – Knocking down the walls we have built around us over the years may be one of the hardest steps. We might find ourselves in direct conflict with the echoes of the past. But by allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and trusting our intuition, we can experience one of greatest steps in walking in freedom.
2- Open your mind – One of the biggest conflicts we find within us is the battle between the heart and mind. The mind is logical and can at times construct roadblocks limiting what the heart knows. When I had the epiphany at church years ago, I understood my mind was closed off to areas of my heart. Because it went against popular consensus, I was facing a major conflict inside. Once I allowed my mind to consider what was in my heart, was the day I became aware of how passionate I was about loving and accepting people just as they are.
3- Let Go Of What No Longer Serves You – to move forward sometimes we need to let go. Letting go of relationships that bring you down, places that discourage, and leaving baggage from the past that we’ve carried around will bring us greater opportunities for us to grow into our most authentic selves.
4- Speak Your Truth – Speaking our truth comes from the heart; therefore it’s important to be real, not right. When we live authentically, not everyone will get us, or even agree with us. But this journey should have less to do with the opinions of others and a greater understanding that as long as we speak our truth without expectation of how it will be received, we honor our truth.
5- Choose Love Over Fear – This is the foundation to every area of our lives; relationships, jobs, finances, self. Fear pulls away and surrounds us with barriers. Love reaches out, opening up endless possibilities to ourselves and our surroundings.
Marianne Williamson declares, “Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we learned here.”
Discovering who we actually are is a continuous process. It is more like a journey than a destination, where we continue revealing pieces of ourselves.
“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” — Oscar Wilde
So, what about you? What have you discovered about yourself? Share your thoughts with me in the comments section.