What Does Living Authentically Mean?

I’m always telling my clients, in one way or another, about how important it is for them to find their voice, follow their heart and do what’s right for them. I’m sitting here on this beautiful sunny morning trying to write a blog post and I’m struggling. Why is it so difficult for me to get my thoughts out right now? I got up around 8am today ready to knock off a killer blog post.

That being said, I’m really not much of a morning person but lately I’ve been trying to force myself to go to bed earlier so I can get up earlier – because that’s what my spouse says is “normal”.

Hmm ok it’s normal…but normal for who? I don’t have any kids, I make my own schedule for work and, honestly, I just don’t like early mornings! If I get up too early I’m grumpy and don’t function very well. I’m just sluggish and slow throughout the day.counselling-london-authentic-life

So now I’m asking myself, why the hell am I doing it? Why do I feel all of this external pressure to be something that I’m not?

Oftentimes, in our need to please others and do what is “acceptable” we forget to check in with the most important person – ourselves! But sometimes it’s difficult to know who we are because it goes against what we are taught growing up or what we think we should be. A lot of the time our ideas about what we should be are not our own. They’re absorbed from other people like our parents or older siblings, from TV, advertising, marketing etc. These are incredibly influential forces that dictate what we believe we want and how we view ourselves.

I attempted running once. I saw so many people running and loving it – all the while getting into shape. I felt like I was missing out so I decided to lace up my running shoes and go for a nice jog around my block. Well, I live in the country and a block is about 8 km. Worst decision ever. By the time I realized I was close to death and needed my couch, turning around was about the same distance from home if I kept going. Two hours later I made it home. I decided then that running was not for me. And yes, I understand it takes time to adjust and train yourself but why would I torture myself training to do something that I really don’t like to do? Just because I see others doing it and getting pleasure from it doesn’t mean it’s right for me. I accept that now (happily).

When we don’t allow ourselves to experience our true feelings and we try to portray feelings that are not authentic, over time we can start to experience depression or anxiety. We might even start to feel empty and unfulfilled.

Imagine a time when you agreed to do something but the whole time you were doing it you just wished you could be anywhere else doing anything else. You felt that way because you really didn’t want to do it, but you felt external pressure to say yes. Sometimes, you might not consciously realize that you don’t enjoy something because you have been influenced to think it is a part of who you are (or should be). Other times, you know what you want and need, but are too afraid to speak up. Your need to please others comes ahead of your need to please your authentic self.London Counselling Women

I believe we find freedom and happiness when we act in ways that honour our authentic self. This happens when how we feel and act become congruent with our own thoughts and values. Throughout each day, start asking yourself if you’re being true to your deepest intentions. Examine your values and the driving force behind your actions, especially ones that make you feel less than awesome.

It’s OK that I like to stay up late. It’s OK that my blog posts are far from perfect. Writing has become a lot easier now that I am doing it in a way that feels good to me instead of editing myself for the sake of what I believe others expectations to be.


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