We are born knowing what we want.
Babies cry when they are hungry and toddlers will throw themselves on the floor to let a whole supermarket know they want those brightly-packaged sweets right now.
We are also born being our natural, authentic selves.
A little human will spend all afternoon building a sand castle, will go to the bank dressed as a fairy or will dance in the middle of a shop just because they feel like it.
When authenticity gets lost
Authenticity is gradually curtailed by people’s beliefs, opinions, expectations and rules.
Most of the time, people have good intentions. Children must learn, for example, that tantrums aren’t the right way to get what they want and it’s important to listen to the teacher in maths so that they can learn.
However, many things can diminish authenticity. Children have to learn science because it is in the curriculum even if they are not interested in it and are expected to ‘be realistic’ when it comes to desires. They must follow school rules or face detention. And, they are given less and less time for creativity because it ‘doesn’t lead to a real job’ which means they lose a precious platform for discovering themselves through creative expression.
Adjusting ourselves to expectations goes on into adulthood. Many people treat life like a ladder, progressing from school to college to university to work to marriage to children then eventually to retirement. But, life doesn’t have to follow a set order or have set expectations. Life is not a ladder but an open plain.
It’s time to reclaim your authentic self and live your original life.
10 ways to live originally
- Celebrate your uniqueness – Wherever you are right now, there is no one else in this world who has exactly the same blend of experiences, talents and attributes. Be proud of who you are and how far you’ve come. You are special.
- Know what truly matters to you – Your future is whatever you want it to be. Spend time dreaming, being honest with yourself about what you truly desire. Even if you don’t know how you will make it happen yet, having a clear vision is the first step to making it real. It’s never too late to go for it.
- Follow your energy – Some people have a clear sense of purpose early on in life. Others find it later on or struggle to find it at all. If you know your purpose, great, give it all you’ve got. If not, don’t try to chase it. Instead, notice which activities give you the greatest energy or buzz and let this lead you to your path in time.
- Be present – Being in the moment helps you make the most of every minute and prevents life slipping by. Spend time observing yourself, not just how you act but how you feel. Notice, in particular, when are you being your authentic self and when you are holding back to fit in with the expectations of others. Then, try to find ways to bring more of your true self to your days.
- Design your days – If you want to live your best life, designing your days is one of the most important habits. Every day, decide your priorities and build your time around them. It’ll help ensure your desires are not lost to the busyness of life.
- Make intentional decisions – When there are decisions to make, take the time you need to work through them. Ensure you are making the best decision for you. Ask yourself: ‘Is this choice leading me closer to where I want to be or taking me away?’
- Speak up – Have the courage to speak with your truth with yourself and with others. Journalling can help you find your voice and develop the confidence you need. Not everyone will agree with you and that’s okay. What you have to say is valid regardless of others’ opinions. Have faith in yourself
- Build your support system – Build up a circle around you of people who appreciate you for who you are and encourage you with your dreams. They’ll give you strength when you need it and will celebrate your wins.
- Be creative – Creativity is in everyone. Look at how almost every child enjoys painting, drawing and playing ‘let’s pretend’. Some people lose their creativity for a while, that’s all. Have a go at writing, drawing, gardening, cake baking, anything that allows you to express yourself. It doesn’t matter if you’re good – although it’s fabulous if you are – what matters is that you feel good when doing it.
- Reflect often – Every day, take a few minutes to reflect. It will help you end your day positively. Consider what you learned, what you need to let go and what you loved about the day. Reflection will ensure you’re aware when your life is on track and when you need to make changes. When a day has been particularly intense or interesting, you may find journalling is a great way to process everything that happened.
A simple way to be you every day
Start each day with an affirmation. It’s a simple way to connect with who you are. Affirmations begin with ‘I am…’, are always positive and never conditional. For example ‘I am speaking up with confidence’ or ‘I am being present in every moment’.
Close your eyes and repeat your affirmation several times. Feel it it in your core.
Write it at the top of your diary or Life Planner to remind you throughout the day.
You are wonderfully unique. Be fabulously you and live life your way.