Are you trying to figure out exactly how to be happy in life? Are you searching for authentic happiness and personal fulfillment?
The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering…….Ben Okri
We’ve heard that a lot.
What does that mean exactly?
There is power in being authentic, genuine and true to yourself. You are relaxed and original. There is only one you in this entire world and when you act authentic, it comes across as refreshing.
So if that’s the case, why do so many have trouble keeping it real or find themselves engaging in an act or a front as it were? How many times have you heard when you are going to meet someone for the first time, to be forewarned, because they are phony?
We knew of someone in our circle that was always eager to please, constantly joking and if she wanted to enter into friendships or make deals she would always give the other person far more than she received. It was a classic case of very low self-esteem.
Some of that also speaks to a lack of self-confidence or feelings of self-worth.
Let’s turn to some experts to understand the value of being authentic and true to yourself, no matter the circumstances.
Authenticity – Why people aren’t themselves and what that costs them…. by: Bella Enahoro
Why should you be yourself? The simple answer is ‘because everyone else is taken’ – it’s both the simple answer and an accurate answer. The important question is ‘why are we not ourselves?’ What is the payoff for not being ourselves? Ah, now we’re talking.
To begin with, what would cause us to not want to be ourselves? For some of us, we may have been raised in environments where it was dangerous to be who we are. Even as adults we may be working in environments that demand that we be other than who we are in order to ensure job security. So we conclude, I have to be other than I am to get what I want i.e. love, safety, income etc.
People are always judging you based on where you’re from, where you went to school, how you look, how you talk. But at the end of the day, you’re going to have to look into the mirror and accept who you are. It’s all about being authentic.…….Andre Carson
We may have learned to believe ‘who I am is not good enough to be loved, guaranteed safety, approved of’. We may have been told ‘who you are is not worth treating well’. We may have learned ‘who you are is not good enough to meet my standards for ‘being good enough’. We may become convinced that we are less than we should be.
When we feel not good enough what happens to our lives? We end up putting things on hold until we feel we ‘deserve’ by becoming good enough. We spend so much time striving to feel that we’re good enough. Have I accomplished enough, am I good looking enough, is my car big/fast/exclusive enough, is my job title high enough, do I have enough awards to be good enough? Exhausting isn’t it?
Self-worth and authenticity are intrinsically linked.
The worth we have in our own eyes, a sense of worth not built on acquisition, job title, appearance, credentials – is the only worth, worth living out of. How many of us realize that we have an intrinsic worth greater than anything on the outside? If we go through life with a sense of being deficient then we are motivated to acquire value – the things that others value in the world then become our aim in life. I may not be good enough in and of myself but look what I’ve got, becomes our calling card.
Sooner or later, things fall apart, if we’re lucky.
It can take many forms e.g. we can lose everything we spent our whole lives accruing or we meet someone or a situation that places no value on our ‘social bling’. We run helter-skelter trying to get them to ‘see’ us as our bling or we go somewhere else. But there’s a crack in the tea cup. When it finally breaks open, our break down becomes our breakthrough.
We begin to look for another way. What we’ve been looking for is a way to feel good about who we are, under all circumstance. We don’t always realize it at first since there’s much howling in pain and hanging onto fast disappearing ‘bling’.
The breakthrough cracks us wide open and everything we’ve been taught is ‘wrong’ with us, all the things we’ve been taught make us ‘not good enough’ stare us in the face. Excruciating at first but if we stay, refuse to take flight, we can transform. Now begins the re-acquainting ourselves with the ‘real’ us, all of it.
There are many transformation technologies from journaling, meditation, prayer, walking, body work, sound, vibrational healing. We tend to gravitate towards one that works for us. Soon the pain subsides, loses its edge. We don’t feel so raw. Our lives may be in shambles around us but we can stand to be alive and increasingly we can stand to be ourselves. We live in a time of infinite help with wonderful teachers who can assist us in moving out of our debris; emotional, psychological and spiritual.
Not being who we are, may be something we picked up at our beginning but was never a part of our being and we need not continue with it.
Very good advice and exceptional suggestions.
Then I realized that secrecy is actually to the detriment of my own peace of mind and self and that I could still sustain my belief in privacy and be authentic and transparent at the same time. It was a pretty revelatory moment, and there’s been a liberating force that’s come from it.….Alanis Morissette
Let’s now speak briefly to a caution of measuring our self-esteem based upon external factors.
In an enlightening article found at psychalive.org, they express, “Although, self-worth is often used as a synonym for “self-esteem,” Dr. Lisa Firestone believes that self-worth should be less about measuring yourself based on external actions and more about valuing your inherent worth as a person. In other words, self-worth is about who you are, not about what you do.”
The article continues, “Dr. Kristin Neff argues that there is a problem with society’s focus on high self-esteem. The problem is that this focus involves measuring oneself against others, rather than paying attention to one’s intrinsic value.”
Like so many issues that we face when we travel down life’s pathway, the evaluation that helps us most is an internal one. That is why with a few adjustments, being yourself, being authentic and paying attention to your intrinsic values will increase your effectiveness in your relationships with others and heighten your ability to feel good about yourself.
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Sources: brainyquote.com, Wikipedia, fciwomenswrestling.com, fciwomenswrestling2.com, FCI Elite Competitor, femcompetitor.com, photos thank you Wikimedia Commons.
Bella Enahoro is the founder of http://www.livewellaudio.com a Motivational company that helps individuals, non-profits and companies improve their lives, build communities, profits and positive impact.