The encouragement to live authentically has become a fairly common catchphrase, found in all sorts of places and situations.
Life coaches encourage their clients to ‘live authentically’, even business conferences have speakers encouraging employees to live authentically.
But what does ‘live authentically’ actually mean?
Well, suppose you have been taught all of your life that ‘women are to be seen and not heard’, so as an employee, your ‘natural’ tendency is to give way to authority. To quietly accept your situation, to not speak up for yourself or offer your opinion, and definitely never ask for a raise or a promotion. Would you be living ‘authentically’? Not necessarily.
Social conditioning, like being taught all of your life that women are to be seen and not heard, is not necessarily ‘authenticity’. In fact, social conditioning can often times contradict your ‘authentic self’.
Suppose that one of your core values was ‘courage’, but your social conditioning hadtaught you to be seen and not heard, which would be more ‘authentic’ to you? Standing up for yourself, being seen, voicing your opinion, trying and risking failure? Or keeping your opinion to yourself? Remaining invisible, in the background, while others gained credit for your ideas, or ignored you completely? Never risking, never failing?
Knowing your core values, your personal preferences – these are all things that you can’t not do. These are all your authentic self!
Another way of look at your authentic self is to know that living an authentic life is living life from the heart. Having the courage to live your life your way (courage comes from the French word cœur – le cœur means heart, core, depth. So living a courageous life, is living life from your heart or your core.
When we live our life from the social and cultural customs we have learned, we are living life from our mind – logically, thoughtfully, based on how we have learned to behave.
When we live our life from our heart, we live life courageously, creatively, flexibly, intuitively, following, exploring, and expanding into our passions.
What one small thing can you do today that truly reflects your authentic life?