View this post on Instagram
“The most confused we ever get is when we’re trying to convince our heads of something our heart knows is a lie.” ~ Karen Marie Moning
How do we know when we are being our full authentic selves, in all our raw and beautiful messiness?
It’s painful and damaging to our soul when we do things we don’t actually want to do or people please to keep the peace. When we keep parts of ourselves hidden for fear of judgement. When we say what we think others want to hear, rather than speak our truth.
The sad reality is oftentimes we aren’t even aware we are doing it. We just feel an unease, a simmering discord deep within, and we are unsure how to change it. Being true to oneself is a struggle for many.
We are taught from a young age to be good. There was an expectation on us to do as we were told and not question authority. We might have had cause to defend ourselves but were often silenced. We learnt that compliant behaviour often resulted in reward and noncompliant behaviour may have resulted in punishment. Most of us fell into line, behaved in the expected manner, because pleasing everyone kept the calm.
As we got older, we lost our inquisitive nature and the excitement of following our curiosity, instead following our family, authority, and then our peers. We learn to compare our achievements because it’s seemingly more important to appear successful than to actually be passionate and fulfilled within.
What is it we really think? I mean are our thoughts even ours or are we drowned in the thoughts of those around us? What everyone else thinks we should be doing; what society deems acceptable; what family expectations are; what suitable relationships are; what we are supposed to wear; what age we are supposed to marry, have kids, buy a house; what career path we should follow.
Did we completely lose the ability of freethinking? Is there room in our lives to be fully true to ourselves?
Sometimes I think we are suffocating ourselves with fear and judgement. Numbing our emotions is perhaps easier than developing a modicum of self-awareness.
We should be able to live on our own terms, speak our truth, and have the freedom to make decisions in alignment with our head, heart, and soul.
But how do we do this? We need to peel away the layers of conditioning and fear. It means digging deep, really listening to the truth within, breaking down your limited beliefs, and breaking free of your comfort zone. It means being bloody wholeheartedly honest with yourself, with what you need and what you want. It’s about valuing freedom over approval and conformity. It’s admitting you have lost your way and being willing to go on the journey to find you.
You know you are being authentic and true to yourself when:
1. You freely share your thoughts and feelings.
You push yourself to speak up even when you are afraid of judgement or tempted to people please to keep the peace. You refuse to bury your true feelings regardless of the outcome.
2. You focus more on your own values rather than what society deems “acceptable.”
You know your values are your compass and they can and do change over time. You check in with yourself to ensure you are living in a way that feels good in your heart and soul, not that looks good on paper. So many of us fall into the trap of living the life we are “supposed to” instead of the life we desire.
3. You listen to your intuition because she is always right.
Many of us have silenced the little voice—our gut, our inner knowing. Instead we allow ourselves to be swayed by well-meaning family and friends, who may want the best for us but usually do not know what is the best for us. It’s time to tune out the white noise and listen; I mean really listen to the only voice that knows what you really want.
4. You allow yourself to grow and evolve and let go of what is no longer for you.
This can be incredibly hard because letting go can be difficult. It’s knowing when something has run its cause and being brave enough to end that chapter, even if it scares the absolute hell out of you. Real growth cannot happen if we are unable to let go of what we have outgrown. Sometimes it’s sad and heartbreaking because we are creatures of habit and most of us don’t like hurting others. But true peace, passion, excitement, and fulfilment is on the other side—if only we have the courage to step through the door.
5. You do what feels right for you regardless of what others think.
Not only do you trust that you know what’s best for you, you actually do it. Even if it’s the unpopular choice. Even if some judge you. You recognise nobody else is living your life, so you make the best choices for yourself.
6. You honour your needs and say no to requests that conflict with them.
Yes, boundaries. You know what you need physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, and you prioritise those things, even if that means saying no. You take good care of yourself because you understand you’re the only one who can.
7. You’re honest with yourself about what you think, feel, want, and need.
You know that if you’re not honest with yourself, you cannot be honest with anyone else. It also means you face your darkness and begin the process of healing your wounds, because without this, you can never gain full authenticity and self-awareness. You’re willing to face hard choices and get to the root of your fears, like perhaps leaving a relationship that doesn’t feel right or no longer fits. You’re willing to ask yourself the tough questions most of us spend our lives avoiding.
As with all things in life, this can be tough. Facing your darkness, listening to your inner voice, and choosing to live your life authentically for yourself, rather than living your life to keep everyone else happy, is not for the fainthearted. It’s bloody hard. Sometimes you will feel in complete alignment and other times you will lose yourself.
I’ve had times in my life where I have felt so overwhelmed and confused by conflicting wants, needs, and beliefs, not just my own but other people’s as well, that I’ve completely lost touch with myself. I’ve swept everything under the rug. I’ve ignored that little inner voice that ended up screaming at me. I’ve stayed in places far longer than I should have. I convinced myself that my deepest soul happiness and truth was less important than how others felt.
When you start to question everything and feel what starts as a faint anxiety and a quietly spoken inner voice, you know you need to regroup. You know you need to question your authenticity and truth because it’s highly likely you are living someone else’s life instead of your own.
The most important thing is to keep coming home to ourselves. Ask ourselves the questions we love to avoid:
What am I lying to myself about? What am I hiding? What truth would set me free?
Being true to yourself means living your truth and not accepting the lies we so easily tell ourselves because it sometimes feels easier.
Being true to yourself is the ultimate happiness.