3 Steps to Authenticity: Live Your Truth
This is all about truth. Your truth. My truth. Our shared truth.
Being authentic is the best sense of truth that I can come up with. Authenticity is living your truth. But what the hell does it mean to live your truth? We hear that all the time, but what is it exactly?
It means accepting and feeling negativity when it arises. It means saying things you mean. It means staring down your thoughts and to reveal your underlying beliefs. It means going after what you are called to do. It means letting every action and word be a reflection of what’s inside you. It means being who you are at the most essential level, which is the fundamental truth.
Living your truth is brave. It requires a lot of trust. It’s walking through fear and pain. You might not think you will be able to handle it if people don’t like you, but at a certain point, it’s more painful to be someone that you’re not. Trust me on this.
I have to confess here that this is something I’m much closer to than before, but still have to make a continuous effort toward. And there’s a fine line between being a jerk because that’s what you feel like and being real.
For instance, I don’t know how to answer the question, “How are you?” sometimes when I feel like my head is going to explode from all the stuff going on in my life (wonderful stuff, I admit), but at the same time, when I’m tired out of my mind, do I tell this person I’m great?
We all know that some people are just saying that, that they are making conversation, which is nice. That’s friendly. But they don’t want to hear about how I had 3 hours of sleep last night, and have a deadline to meet that I’m scared I won’t have time for.
So I smile and say fine, which is not living my truth. And then there are the times when I live a little bit too much of my truth, clearly unhappy to be where I am and letting everyone around me know it. Spreading around my negativity and bringing other people down. Ugliness. That’s no good, either.
Then there’s the conundrum of trying to do what you love or find something you love to do, some way to serve in life, that speaks to who you really are, what you’re really passionate about. Maybe you’ve got this other career that brings in the money. Or you don’t know how to step out in the career that you want?
But there’s more. Perhaps there are parts of us we’re not looking at because it’s too scary and painful. We don’t want to see. There’s some deep pain, and we don’t feel strong enough to accept it and walk through it.
All of this and more. This is no easy task. But I’ve managed to narrow real authenticity into three steps:
1. Pay close attention to yourself:
This is going to require slowing down. This is mindfulness. You don’t have to be truth. Truth naturally arises from you when you pay attention, when you move through the world and sit still with consciousness.
It’s simple, but not always easy. It’s just being aware. Feel your body as you move, be witness to and look at your thoughts. Feel and accept completely every sensation from painful to joyful. Be open to the whole spectrum.
Sitting with yourself is not often easy. Well, it’s never easy. We feel like we need to be doing something but really, it’s a lot of being something: pure awareness.
We can pay attention to what we’re thinking about, how we’re feeling, and if these two are successful, we will come to know our beliefs. Our beliefs lie right below our thoughts and the subsequent feelings. And your beliefs dictate your actions as long as you remain unaware of them.
It’s important to know this because when we were growing up, there were a lot of faulty beliefs that were planted in us because we were like sponges, absorbing information at an amazing rate.
Because of all the fear and pain out there in society, we received some incorrect assumptions from all this absorbing. Our interpretations of society’s messages led us to believe that there were certain things we needed to do. This is all about what a child thinks she must do to survive, to receive nourishment, love and attention. To make it in the world, survive and eventually thrive.
Society (parents, teachers, culture, institutions like the government) is made up of flawed, hurting and scared people. Adults, who have been through a longer lifetime of pain and fear with little consciousness, most likely. Therefore, our beliefs are usually negative and incorrect even if we were raised well. Not always, but most of the time.
We wanted to please because our survival depended on it. Then it got crazy. We lost who we were, lost touch with our souls and consciousness, lost the sense of play and curiosity, lost what we actually cared about—all for the the sake of belonging and survival within the tribe.
So naturally, this loss of peace and the heaviness of these untrue, negative beliefs caused us to have anxiety and sadness. Then we really were just surviving, being anything we had to be in the moment.
The advice to act natural and be yourself has always confused me. It seems like too much doing and thinking. The trick to being yourself is to step back from your thoughts. Stop doing and thinking, especially stop reinforcing negative beliefs.
Let’s get back to curiosity about ourselves. Look at every thought and really ask where it came from. Why can’t you do what you want to do? Why can’t you make a difference? Why can’t you have this or be that? What are your beliefs behind these thoughts and emotions?
Acting natural is just paying attention to your breath. Being yourself is just being, being the light that shines on all your beliefs and thoughts. It’s just stepping back from the mind and not letting it control you.
This is all about meditation and mindfulness. This is closing your eyes and seeing those images. Getting quiet enough to hear the voice in your head and question it, question the belief behind it and where that belief came from. I promise, when you ask questions you get answers.
Sometimes to get through the crap we have to cry, shake, feel scared, and often there’s a lot to process. There can be feelings of lack and unworthiness. We have been so hard on ourselves, and other people have been hard on us too. It’s time to show compassion to yourself because you did the best you could with what you were given. Say that again. I did that best I could with what I was given. You’re on your path. This is your path, and it can’t be any different.
It’s not a good idea to be yourself without loving yourself. That’s just how it is. You have to be proud of who you are to be completely who you are without negativity involved. Without the love, you can be who you are, but you’ll be pissed or sad about it. Because you don’t like yourself. What’s the point in that?
After this probing of your internal life, underneath the lies, comes the truth. You suddenly know exactly what you want. It might come over time. It might come all at once.
If you have a lot to clean up in your internal life then it might take time. But stuck underneath all the suppressing stuff is the gold. It’s the light, love and truth of who you are. It’s the eternal soul, and this is the place from where true authenticity arises freely, easily.
Meditation and mindfulness are key for this step.
If you need help starting or getting back into your meditation practice, this free course I designed has helped hundreds, and I hope it helps you too:
2. Face down your fears and step up:
I suggest reading some Brene Brown, who is the queen of vulnerability. She studied it and arrived at the truth that vulnerability is at the core of whole-heartedness. And whole-heartedness is authenticity.
Authenticity is at the heart of success, of living beautifully, of being love. You have to be willing to show up as you are, putting your real foot forward, so to speak. It might require sticking your neck out. Showing what’s in your heart. Or any number of other body parts that we send forward.
Vulnerability is the epitome of being real. It’s not easy to say what’s in your heart. It’s not easy to speak up or put your foot down or create boundaries. Once you can come to expect that it won’t be easy, that it might be painful, that it’s certainly going to be scary, then you can take your first step.
And guess what?
What you’re really scared of is going higher. Everyone’s afraid of their higher selves. Especially those of us who haven’t gotten enough time with the higher self. What are we going to lose? Who are we going to lose? What are we going to gain? What comes after we grow? More growth? More pain?
I don’t know what comes next, but I know rising up, living from your soul is worth it. If things or people fall away, they were going to fall away anyway. As for the pain, the pain will be worse if you try to stay put and ignore your pain rather walk through it. Because when you don’t speak your truth, all the parts of your Self cry, especially the part that was ignored. It cries like a child because that part of you was most likely stunted when you were a child.
That kind of pain can only grow, and it will cause gigantic problems that will hit like a wrecking ball one day.
It might even turn into a physical pain, on top of the emotional pain. Because pain only grows if it’s ignored, like a weed. So many people are on painkillers because they can’t face their pain, and they’re afraid of it. But what they’re most afraid of is on the other side of the pain: the truth. The truth is that you’re more powerful than you can ever understand. That makes a lot of people afraid.
They don’t want to go higher. They don’t want to walk through their pain because they have the fear that they won’t be to handle it. But we’re never given anything we can’t handle. Every human has the ability to rise, to step into the truth of who she or he is.
The only way to get past fear is with love. Fear is only a lack of love. And what you are, as we’ll discuss later, is pure love. That’s what you are at your core. If you don’t believe me, try it out. Try to be love and watch how you ascend and rise up.
Watch how much higher you feel, how much easier it is. When you ask, What can I give right now? To this person. To this situation. To this community. To this place. How can I help? How can I lift it all up? When you ask these questions, you are motivated by love and when you act, you become love.
This is at the heart, literally, of being authentic.
This is the only way to face fear in any situation, to become friends with it. Comfort that fear. Completely be with it. Spend time with it. Get to know it. It’s not a bad thing. It’s just trying to protect you.
But as we’ve already discussed, your protector part has been misinformed by society. We know the truth of ourselves now and can tell that fear that everything’s going to be okay and that what’s meant to be is meant to be.
A wonderful mantra that means “truth identity” is Sat Nam. Saying Sat Nam is helpful when you need courage, when you’re walking through fear or pain, or need a little confidence boost toward authenticity. It’s a powerful mantra. It helps you to meditate and be mindful when you’re moving in your life. Use this mantra of authenticity whenever you can remember.
Once through the fear, the love waits with open arms. We start to act from love in every part of our lives. Career, family, relationships, social situations, emotional situations, tricky situations, scary places, scary moments, indecision, self-doubt, complex friendships: just ask your heart how you can love, what you can give. You’ll get an answer when you’re open enough, when you’re soft enough. The action you take will be right action and will reflect your beautiful inner life.
This is the next level authenticity.
3. Trust in the one essential truth of everything:
To stay in authenticity, which, as discussed, is a mix of mindfulness and consciousness, love, vulnerability, and courage, we have to realize not only the truth of what we are, but also the truth of everything seemingly outside of us. You have access to all of those things because you are a spark of God or Eternal Light.
This spark is what animates your body while you’re incarnate here on earth. It keeps your heart beating, your lungs breathing, your brain thinking—it is the conscious, animating force. It is the life force. The basic creative energy of life.
Again, meditation helps us to get to know this energy, Once we know it and feel it within ourselves, we can begin to understand and see it in others.
You are a little cup of the ocean, except not removed from the ocean. Everything around you has the spark too, is made from this all-powerful energy. Everyone and everything is made from this vibrating energy.
Love and power and aliveness are active in the tiniest life forms—the atoms of all elements. Everything is made of the elements. Now I’m about to get into chemistry here so stick with me.
Creative life energy is the one truth. A heightened vibration of this truth is love. Love is alive inside everything through the attraction of your protons and electrons in the atoms of your cells. Love plays a crucial role in the building blocks of life. The attraction and bond between these energy forms is love.
Love is the invisible force holding everything together. We are all the same thing, drops of one water. Life energy and the heightened vibration of love between the energies. It’s all one thing vibrating at different frequencies.
When we meditate on this enough, we realize there is nothing to be scared of. Everything that happens in your life is love. It’s to love you, to serve you. We live in a sea of Life and higher-vibrating Life (love). Even the things that look awful. All will reveal itself in its perfect time.
Once we know that truth, having seen and felt it in ourselves, we can now venture to love it and witness it in the midst of this world: it’s within people, places, situations, things, and this world as a whole. We exist, love, serve, and create for the whole—the Big Love. Then everything you do will authentically loving. And so it will be authentic, real. Made from the only thing that is real, actually.
The truth of Life is the foundation of authenticity. Get in touch with it on a continuous basis, using breath, mindfulness, love and creativity (different vibrations of the same wonderful thing).
Authenticity is not anything you have to do. It’s something that you have to slow down for—you have to soften and be. It’s watching your thoughts, feeling and beliefs - being awake within and getting to know your inner life through your own attention. And watching what flows out of you in right action.
Being dedicated to all of the above will show you that everything you can see is made from the same elements, the same pieces of Source or God, and we are held in a Big Love.
There’s nothing to fear. Just breathe, stay conscious and love. It gets easier over time. But it does take discipline.
Then you let whatever comes out of this cared for internal life flow out gracefully and rightfully. It’s an inside job, but this is the truth of authenticity.
The world needs your truth, love and creativity. We need your authenticity—it’s important, actually.
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