There is this big push out there to live an authentic life. We hear it everywhere – be who you are, be true to yourself, just be you…and there is certainly no shortage of memes travelling around the internet, hoping to inspire you to do just that. But what does that mean, really? And why is being authentic such a big deal?
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines authentic as “of undisputed origin; genuine”. In effect, the world is asking you to be your genuine self, who you are at your origin. To me that means who you are outside of the roles you play – outside of being a parent, spouse, sibling, friend, employee, employer and whatever else. Strip away all those layers and what’s left is just YOU. In spiritual terms, that YOU is your soul. In terms of my work, and my blog, that is what the ME in Let ME Out!! really is.
To live authentically means to make decisions in such a way that your ME is always feeling satisfied. When your ME is satisfied, you feel…happy! And it’s the kind of happiness that goes deeper than say the happiness you might feel with the new pair of jeans you just bought. It is deeper and more stable. And when your world gets rocked a little, if you get back to living and thinking from your ME place, you can get back to fulfillment much more quickly.
But is this all self-serving? If it’s all about ME, then what’s in it for the rest of the world? Think about it this way: when you are humming along at an optimal level, who benefits? Obviously, those around you do. But it goes beyond close friends and family. Generally, we are good, loving, kind, empathetic, creative change-makers at this soul level. And there is something here you believe in passionately. You may not know how or when it started, but there’s this relationship you have with a particular ’cause’ or ‘issue’ that just comes from deep inside you.
I bet you know at least one person in your life who lives from this conscious place; you see the beauty they bring to the world. Maybe they feel deeply about animal rights and volunteer their spare time at the animal shelter. Maybe they care about a child’s right to play and they help open a free community playgroup. Hmmm…I bet you are realizing now how many people you actually know who do these things. I bet you’re seeing what you bring to the table, too.
Now imagine being totally conscious of what is important to your authentic self, and then acting on that every day, in big and small ways. How happy do you feel when you are doing something you really believe in? How fulfilled and purposeful are your days when you stay connected with what’s undeniably YOU? And doesn’t that just perpetuate the cycle of giving and receiving?
So, within those pretty posters and poetic expressions, the message to be who you truly are – your genuine, original self – is, in my mind and experience, the single most valuable gift you have been given. You would do well by yourself and the world to practice it.