Are you investing in your authenticity?
And I’m not talking about learning or doing more. I’m talking about making time to stop completely, and in stillness, listen.
There is nowhere outside of you that will be able to teach you how to be your authentic self—How could there when authenticity is about being you?
How can you learn about you from someone else?
True, other people, like therapists and coaches, can give you perspective, heck, they could even try to force-feed you the answers that you need.
However, external input seldom triggers transformation quite like internal insight does. External input can sometimes trigger internal insight, however, one must already have done the work to ready oneself for that insight to blossom in the right conditions.
And the work is often not what we think it is. It is not about working harder, or even smarter.
The real work is to deliberately, intentionally carve out time in your life to stop and listen to you.
It is the hardest thing to do. Everything and everyone is clamouring for our attention, time and energy—Our work, our relationships, our children, our friends. We are pulled this way and that every single day and we wonder why we don’t feel like we know who we are, much less how to actualise our authentic selves in all domains of our life.
Oftentimes, when we feel lost and confused, it’s not because we don’t know what to do. Rather, it is because we have not made the time to check in with ourselves, to ask ourselves what is it that we need, want and deserve in this moment, to be, do or have. We feel we “lack the answers” and rush about seeking them everywhere else but the one place where we can always rely on getting honest, guiding light. We have been taught to place our trust in others, not ourselves. We don’t trust ourselves to know better for ourselves.
And why? Because we haven’t invested in the skill of listening, trusting and obeying inner truth, wisdom, guidance, whatever label you want to slap on it!
When was the last time you stopped? Really, completely stopped and made time to listen to yourself with nothing in hand, no book and no media in your ears. Nothing but silence and perhaps the sounds of nature. No words. No political correctness. No right way or wrong way to “do it”, just your way.
When was the last time you pushed everyone away for even an hour to be completely alone with your thoughts and feelings? Partners, friends, children, colleagues, social media, customers. You say you can’t but have you even tried to build your life around the possibility? Have you really tried that hard to carve that time out? Are you worth it? Are you important enough to you, for you?
Authenticity is not rocket science. Really, it is not. The rocket science part of the process is the dealing with what society and culture have conditioned us into thinking is “wrong”.
I could sit here right now and tell you flat out you don’t need guidance from anyone. Not me, not anyone. You don’t need to read this article! All the answers are in you, if you would only rouse the courage to stop and listen. Well, okay, let’s be realistic, to stop and learn to listen. Because most likely, your listening skill is rusty.
That too just takes the willingness.
You could practice all the techniques in the world and still not learn how to listen if you’re not actually listening. That’s because you don’t need any particular skill as taught by someone else. You can discover and master your own if you really want to.
And that’s the question at the end of the day when it comes to authenticity—Do you really want it? Do you really believe you deserve it?
If you truly desire and aspire to authentic being, you will probably have to rewrite everything you ever believed about life and yourself. Break rules. Fell walls. Leap fences. Dive oceans.
Are you ready and most importantly, are you willing?