Last month I was blessed to celebrate another birthday. Turning 31 wasn’t exactly a milestone birthday in the traditional sense but considering some recent life changes, it was a milestone for me. Thoughts about what the past 31 years of my life have been raced through my mind, and while contemplating, one word surfaced; authenticity.
Authenticity can be defined as “being true to one’s own personality , spirit or character”. As I grappled with this word and the definition, several questions swarmed in my head. Have I lived an authentic life the past 31 years? Have I been true to my own personality, spirit and character?
While soul searching I was hit with a couple major epiphanies. The first was that I had spent a large portion of my existence living bits and pieces of authenticity, but not fully. The second was the realization that I was constantly seeking experiences to fulfill this “authentic” self I so desperately needed to be. Whether it was through friendships, traveling, motherhood, or finding the the perfect job. I was seeking authenticity or authentic experiences everywhere BUT inside myself. As a society, we are all searching for something deeper; some sort of connection or way to be true to ourselves. We are stuck in an ideal of authenticity rather than it’s reality. We jump on social media to find ourselves or relate to others but lose who we TRULY are in the process. So, what’s the solution? I don’t have the perfect answer or fix; but rather a few focus points I’ve found helpful in my own journey to living authentically.
- Embrace who God made you be: Just be yourself! A concept so easily expressed by children but lost in adulthood. The older we get, the more we allow the opinions of other’s to shape who we are; finding ourselves drifting away from the person we were meant to be. Flaunt those quirks and be proud of all the pieces that encompass “you”. The gap between your teeth, or the loud, obnoxious laugh (yep, that’s totally me).
- Spend time doing things that make YOU happy: Taking time for ourselves seems to be a lost art. Working or involving ourselves in a million activities has slowly become more important than experiencing life itself. Slow down and take a few hours or minutes (if that’s all you have) doing the things you love.
- Be vulnerable! Vulnerability is NOT weakness. Allowing ourselves a space to be completely open and honest is the gateway to living authentically. When we allow ourselves to make mistakes, take risks and be okay with it, we go from surviving to thriving!