Living Authentically Spontaneously
Being apologetically yourself is by far the hardest thing to do. It is hard to live a life of truth and self-acceptance. We spend most of our days measuring up to the expectation of something entirely different from what we truly are. It’s hard to dig into meaningful experiences of life when we suppress the inner person that is screaming to be let out into the open. The pull to perfectly be everything to everyone is exhausting and stressful.
It’s human to want to belong and find our place in the world. But if you are constantly taking on a personality that is being dictated about how you should look, how you should behave and believe, you end up living someone else’s life. Your unique traits and personality will be hidden behind the predictable cookie-cutter facade.
If you want to be happier, odds are you need to start being true to yourself. We place so much emphasis on living perfectly, achieving success and receiving validation from others, that we don't truly live. Our fears of failure and rejection keep us from living fully. We aim for a better life by keeping it right and keeping it safe. Unfortunately, this is not a path to happiness. We feel out-of-sync and out-of-sorts, even if things on the surface appear to be ideal.
I have traveled down this path for so long until I barely recognize the person I have become. While everything on the outside seemed normal, I constantly have to convince myself of things that my heart knew was a lie. It felt off but I’m not sure how to change it. All I knew was that I had to appear to have it all together that it didn’t matter I am suffocated inside.
This meant I had no idea what I needed. I only knew I didn’t feel seen or heard. I felt like no one really knew me. But how could they when I didn’t even know myself?
Just like I was, many people are stuck because they believe the lie society has taught them. Seldom do they pause to reflect on who they really are or why they do what they do. A lack of deeper connection and meaning to life causes them to shift into the autopilot mode. They fall into a state of unconsciousness and stagnation and become deeply disconnected from their true selves. They stray from who they are, having to behave differently from how they feel or what they think.
Life congruence starts by discovering or uncovering your values and beliefs. It is about attaining harmony between your actions, behaviors and thoughts. It means living authentically true to yourself, even when life gets messy, overwhelming and stressful. Oftentimes, we give ourselves away by behaving in a way that opposed our thoughts and values. This produces within us a mixture of strangeness and shame.
Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma -- which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.
– Steve Jobs
Unfortunately for me, shame continues to hang around beneath my conscious awareness. I had a hard time accepting my own worthiness so I hide who I am, sacrificing my needs, and saying yes when I’d rather not. It creates fear and anxiety. We can’t be assertive when shame causes us to be afraid to speak our mind, to take on a position, or to fully express who we are. All this in an attempt to be good enough for others instead of doing what feels good for ourselves. I have to reassure myself that I’m okay even when I don’t believe it.
As children growing up, we take on the beliefs and values of those we look up to, depended upon, love or, even fear. While we generally trust these beliefs and some of them do serve us well, others are doing the exact opposite. When our self-doubt and hiding went on into adulthood, we lost touch with who we truly are. Parts of ourselves are being sacrificed because we give away a degree of freedom, spontaneity and vulnerability. While the false self strategizes and develops strength, our true, conscious self gets suffocated and sent into hiding.
BEST VERSION OF YOURSELF
It is reasonable for anyone to want to seek validation from those around them. If you value the opinion, approval, or recognition of someone else over your own feelings, it is because you shun the fear of the unknown. This keeps you from having to take responsibility for the baggage in life that is of your own making. Reclaim your power by learning how to look inward for answers. You have within you all that you need to be the best version of yourself.
Fear of failure causes procrastination. You put off doing something because you were concerned about what others will think if you fail. Rarely do we think of ways to look at failure differently. The fact of the matter is that failure looks different to everyone. Some people struggle so much with failure, while others seem to take it in their stride. Consider how you’re viewing the situation. Perhaps you could rethink your regrets in a different light.
Living authentically and spontaneously requires that we be brave enough to be vulnerable and letting ourselves be fully seen by the world. Each move we make towards authenticity risks exposure, criticism, and rejection. We need to get over the fear of admitting what we truly want and stop barrelling down the winding road of excuses. Stop having to constantly explain yourself and let yourself be human without apologies. Work on self-healing and own your power to be assertive. Set boundaries that can influence your sense of security.
Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart, give yourself to it.