In Search of Your Authentic Self
“The authentic self is soul made visible.” ~ Sarah Ban Breathnach
When we are in search of our better selves and our best lives, and we mean it, the Universe has a way of clearing from our paths all that would deter us so that we find what we seek.
Who or what is your authentic self?
I have wrestled with this question, and I suspect that you may have as well.
I have been on this journey to express my authentic self because I believe it is the path to living my best life. Educator, activist and author, Parker Palmer, refers to it as “my native way of being in the world.” (See more of Palmer’s quotes below, and better still, read his book, Let Your Life Speak. I’ve listed it on my Resources page as one of the books that has helped me on my self-discovery journey).
On this journey toward my authentic self, I’ve confronted myself numerous times. I’ve called out my fears, self-doubts, and ways in which I’ve covered who I am so that I could fit in, feel accepted, or to live up to who others think that I am or should be. It is uncomfortable yet freeing at the same time.
What internal conflicts do you need to resolve?
Authenticity helps us to accept who we are, the light within us and our shadow selves. Living authentically is about making choices so that the light within shines most often. It is a collection of conscious choices. With each step and at each turn, when you choose your true self, you also reveal that which was not true. And that is progress.
What choice in support of your true self have you made recently?
I’ve learned that for me to live from my higher self and enjoy my best life, I cannot lie to myself. Ever. Living authentically isn’t only about the stories we tell others or the self that we display to the world. It is chiefly about the stories we tell ourselves and the person we face in the mirror that is our soul.
One of our greatest breakthroughs in life happens when we come to know our authentic selves and we choose our Selves, over and over again.
Here are additional questions that can illuminate your true self and lead you toward your best life. I encourage you to reflect on each question and journal your answers.
What is the light within me that wants to shine through?
If someone asks me who I am, what is my answer without thought or hesitation?
What shadow-self do I need to confront (and perhaps befriend)?
What are my innermost values?
What “truths” have I bravely disowned?
Who is the Self I’m in conversation with most often, and what do we talk about?
What part of my Self am I afraid to reveal? Why?
What am I drawn toward and what am I repelled by?
In Search of Authenticity
It would seem natural that we’d all show up in the world authentically. After all, we are all unique. However, beginning at an early age, we move toward conformity and adopt values, beliefs, and norms that chip away our authentic selves. Our parents, teachers, institutions, and societal values direct our thinking, telling us what is right and wrong, what we should value and disabuse, and what is acceptable and unacceptable. And they are not all bad or wrong. In fact, some of what we learn help us to survive. The harm comes when we blindly adopt a way of being based on what others have told us over what we know to be true within us.
When we adopt a way of being without observation and self-examination, we are destined to live inauthentically.
“When we lose track of true self, how can we pick up the trail? One way is to seek clues in stories from our younger years, years when we lived closer to our birthright gifts.” ~ Parker Palmer
The authentic life is a life that invites questions and tests answers, not clasping too tightly to long-held assumptions or rigid ideologies. It is a life that knows we are more accurately a human becoming, instead of a human being.
It is a journey worth traveling, and I believe if we are steadfast and earnest in our pursuit, we will find what we seek.
If you are in search of authenticity, of living in alignment with your true self and experiencing your best life, then we are fellow sojourners. Welcome to Your Aha! Life. I invite you to visit my website frequently and read the blog and resources I share there. I also welcome you to become a part of the Your Aha! Life Global Community and join my private Facebook group, The Aha! Community. By signing up to be on my email list, you get access to additional perks for members. Check it out!
Want to connect with me personally? I’d love that! Feel free to reach out by emailing me at email@example.com or following me on any one of my social handles below. I look forward to getting to know you and continuing our journeys together.
With love and gratitude,
More quotes on authenticity:
Living authentically is a courageous act; living inauthentically is an act originating from fear. ~ Tonya Harris Cornileus
Authenticity is not objective. It is subjective. You define it, and you know when you are living it. ~ Tonya Harris Cornileus
Authenticity is not measured by the degree to which one is accepted by others, but by the degree to which one persists in selfhood despite not being accepted. ~ Tonya Harris Cornileus
What a long time it can take to become the person one has always been! ~ Parker Palmer
Our deepest calling is to grow into our own authentic self-hood, whether or not it conforms to some image of who we ought to be. As we do so, we will not only find the joy that every human being seeks — we will also find our path of authentic service in the world. ~ Parker Palmer
Not all of us are willing to become what we are; not all of us possess the courage to shake ourselves free of the conformist mob. Many of us lack the power to challenge public opinion and fear the solitudes of authenticity. ~ Jacob Golomb (In Search of Authenticity: from Kierkegaard to Camus), pg. 33.
When people are confused as to their self-identity, a serious quest for genuine self can begin. When one is painfully conscious of the danger of abandoning one’s self, a cry for authenticity is heard. ~ Jacob Golomb (In Search of Authenticity: from Kierkegaard to Camus), pg. 36.