It takes courage, honesty and a strong desire to be free of others opinions. To be truly authentic you need to stop putting others needs ahead of your own. And you have to stop compromising your dreams to please others.
There are three big fat reasons that drag us away from being one with our authentic self:
- Doing what others WANT us to do- parents, spouses or those with similar influence are the culprits here. They have preconceived notions of the life they want us to have. They impose their desires upon us and we fall into the trap of trying to live someone else’s dream.
- Doing what we SHOULD do. Often we grow up with believing certain lifestyles as the “only way to live”. There are things we should do because they are safe, practical and in demand. An example is, maybe you are incredibly gifted as an artist, but artists notoriously don’t make a lot of money, so the pressure is on you to pursue art as a hobby but get a real career to support your family. Is this truly living your authentic and best life? Doing what one should do rarely leads to discovering the real you.
- Doing what is POPULAR. Following the crowd is not a path to your authentic self. There is a lot of pressure to do whatever is popular at the moment. It’s easy to start comparing yourself to others and modifying your dreams to fit certain ideals. Don’t do it. It’s best to blaze your own trail. Resisting the pressure to conform is very difficult.
You need to take a timeout from your current life. An hour long drive or a year long sabbatical. You need to go to a place where you can think clearly and be inspired. Reflect on what you are doing and how happy or unhappy it is making you. Ask yourself these questions:
- When I was young, what did I want to be when I grew up?
- Does my life resemble those desires in anyway?
- What would it take for me to explore those old dreams again?
We are usually the most authentic when we are children and aren’t so influenced by external factors. These childhood desires may hold the key to what you were truly want to be in life. You might be amazed at how far off track you have slowly allowed yourself to stray. Spend time rediscovering who you really are. It is never too late!