“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.” Friedrich Nietzsche
What are your ultimate goals in life? Is it to chase money, fame, power? Is it to be happy? I get it. Seeking these things are at the forefront of our society’s psyche. The search for these common external goals isn’t wrong in itself. The problem lies in forsaking your TRUE self in search of these lofty goals. At times, we get swept up by the incessant noise of the tribe. By the opinions of others who sometimes end up dictating our lives.
What exactly is finding your authentic self? It’s not clearly defined. Researchers Wood and colleagues (2008) described inauthentic living by three components:
- Not knowing how you feel inside → inauthentic living
- Not living in accordance with your values and beliefs → inauthentic living
- Always feeling like you need to do what others expect of you → inauthentic living
If you struggle with the above, it’s a clear sign you need to carve out time and space to get in touch with your authentic self. In truth, the search for who you are will dramatically affect every aspect of your life.
“I had no idea that being your authentic self could make me as rich as I’ve become. If I had, I’d have done it a lot earlier.” — Oprah Winfrey
How many of us have heard the classic tale of wealthy individuals who attain the pinnacle of financial wealth and end up depressed, consumed by vices, or even suicidal. “How can they feel depressed?” We often think to ourselves. They have everything. Nobody will deny the importance of wealth and financial stability. Yet, it is only one small component of living a fulfilling and successful life.
Money can be the biggest distraction from finding your authentic self. We seek it, they tell us it’s important, and many times it’s the only force that guides us. Living authentically may not always bring financial success, but it will always bring freedom.
In the end, what’s the point of financial success if you feel trapped by it. We get so lost in the chase for money we build our prisons. Living authentically may bring you financial success but it will always bring you peace, meaning, purpose, and freedom.
To seek authenticity in money we should ask ourselves:
Will I find meaning in my search for wealth apart from buying things?
Am I letting outside opinions and societal expectations dictate my relationship with wealth?
Is the avenue I’m using to acquire wealth a true testament of my authentic self?
“Living from a place of authenticity is difficult because those living in distortion see you as a threat to their delusion and some are so attached to that delusion that they will behave in erratic ways to defend their ego’s projection of wounding.” Suzanne Wagner
We all know that person. The person who is really trying to fit in all the time. We have all had those friendships that consist of comparison and egos. Living authentically in your relationships consists of opening yourself up and being vulnerable. It’s about being who you truly are with others and not caring if they accept you or not. The deepest relationships are formed when you each show your authentic self to each other. Finding your authentic self will lead you to develop meaningful and deep relationships. The type of relationships where you can let your guard down and just “be yourself.”
In romantic relationships, authentic relationships can be challenging in the beginning. We all tend to show the best side of ourselves and want to appear perfect. Yet, the most relatable and endearing parts of ourselves are found in the messiness of your true self.
To seek more meaningful relationships, we should ask ourselves:
Am I being vulnerable in my relationships?
Is creating a perfect image of myself getting in the way of deeper relationships?
“To become authentic we require a thirst for freedom.” Don Mateo Sol
Have you ever heard of the “Pinterest moms?” It’s a term used for mothers who go above and beyond to create the perfect life for their kids. It’s an unsustainable standard and probably very exhausting. I’m not blaming these mothers. In today’s parenting world, mothers are met with unattainable expectations. As mothers, we often compare and feel like we never measure up to the “Pinterest mom.”
The truth is, living authentically is the most important endeavor you can partake as a parent. If you live authentically, you are showing your children how to step into their own authenticity. Our children don’t want overly stressed mothers. Our world needs happier mothers.
Often, as parents we allow society’s expectations to cloud our own judgment about what is best for our children. They need to grow up to have prestigious careers as doctors or lawyers and they need to succeed at all cost. Yet, the greatest gift we can give our children is to raise them to have the courage to embrace their authenticity. It’s this simple shift in parenting that can lead to happier and healthier adults.
At the end of the day, even if we acquire wealth and success, the ultimate satisfaction is found in knowing and embracing our unique traits. It’s the satisfaction of knowing you’re living your own truth no matter how afraid you may feel. It’s the freedom in embracing your unique capabilities and showing the world your truest self.
Do I feel like I am authentic? Sometimes yes and sometimes no. I am constantly striving for authenticity in my life but fall short time and time again. In a world of social media and an epidemic of perfectionism, it’s been more challenging than before to drown out outside influences and stay true to yourself. I truly believe it’s a lifelong journey. A difficult but meaningful journey.
Are you living authentically?