February 25, 2014

5 Ways to Stay Authentic. ~ Shirley Martina

body back girl

“To Thine Own Self Be True.” ~ William Shakespeare

Who is your authentic self?

What do you feel?

What is really beneath your surface?

In this world of trends and popularity contests, being in touch, let alone staying in touch, with our emotions can be difficult.

The internet, social media and the entertainment industry can all serve to distance us from ourself. Family and friends can also be sources of influence. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, it’s possible that these influences can keep us from knowing our truest self.

I’d like to share some tips we can use on our personal journeys, to help us connect with our authenticity.

1. Live inside-out.

My natural instinct is to want to please everyone, and I think this is normal—who wants their friends or family to feel hurt?

In the past, instead of looking to how I felt, I was more concerned with how I made my family or friends feel. I neglected my own feelings, and in the long run this became a burden because people got used to me always meeting their expectations.

What I’ve learned (and still have to remind myself every day) is that I have to live from the inside-out.

The starting point is asking myself, What do I want? What do I consider to be important in my life?  What do I feel?

When we consider our own feelings, we can then start to design our authentic lives. People who truly care will only understand and respect us more.

2. Five minutes of awareness.

It was the french philosopher Michel Foucault who said:

“Identity is always formed by a certain power or force. But awareness is a way to form a counterforce, a way to keep other possibilities open.”

We can only become aware of how we feel if we make time. This can be challenging, especially when we have kids, jobs, you name it—but we can try to remember the power of five minutes.

I bought myself a little notebook and I take a minimum of five minutes every day to ask myself, How am I doing today?

I write down how I feel (not my to-do list!) and embrace it.

With a little self-research, after a period of time, we can see if we can discover consistencies in our feelings. And then—it’s up to us.

Feelings can lead to the most important and life-changing decisions. Why not take those five minutes?

3. Embrace where we come from.

We don’t just become who we are by chance. It doesn’t have to be dramatic, but every experience, especially in our earlier years, forms who we are. We all come from somewhere, and we should embrace our personal journey. 

4. Embrace all of our qualities—and our difficulties.

Certain fears and doubts have their root in difficult past experiences. We shouldn’t be afraid to look back and connect those dots. When we discover why we have certain patterns or difficulties, we experience freedom. Self-knowledge is power!

We can treasure our unique inner self. Embrace it! We can say, I’m proud to be the woman or man that I am! My strength is unique and I embrace my flaws because they make me who I am.

Personally, I find a lot of strength in taking the time to reflect. Also, I treasure the people around me who truly speak my language—and care about who I am instead of what I’m supposed to be.

The power lies in not being afraid to look at ourself; and to love that self.

5. Life is a journey.

Re-discovering who we are will not be easy. We will not always understand our feelings and where they come from. But we can stay true and be patient. As time heals all wounds, we get all the answers we need in time. As long as we’re willing to do the work and be open to change, we can change.

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Editorial Assistant: Lauren Savory / Editor: Bryonie Wise

Photo: elephant archives

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Shirley Martina