Updated: Nov 20, 2020
Written by: Andrée Funnell, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
When it comes to living your most authentic life, having something to strive towards will go a long way. But, crucially, it needs to be something that you genuinely desire.
Living in-authentically can be exhausting; it can be stressful; it’s generally just hard work. So, why do so many of us put ourselves through it?
What does it mean to live authentically?
It means living your life according to who you know yourself to be, attributing high value to yourself that is completely independent of external approvals. And when you achieve this, you’ll be amazed at how many different aspects of your life are transformed.
Authenticity and Self-Reflection why it’s important
Whether it’s to get ahead at work, to win over a romantic partner, or to live up to parenting expectations, it’s all too common for individuals to wear the mask of the person they feel they’re supposed to be rather than who they want to be. This could be because they’re following somebody else’s lead or expectations set by society, or even that they feel their unique personality wasn’t well-received once upon a time.
Of course, in an ideal world, we’d all have a crystal clear vision of what we want to do, who we want to be, and what we need to do to achieve these things. For some, this comes easily, but it can take some time to figure out for many others. This is why doing some self-reflection is important to do regularly.
There are a few things that you can reflect on to find out what you truly want in life.
Identify your biggest passions
Remember the times when you were genuinely excited by something you were doing and how it made you feel motivated and engaged. This could be a hobby or even something with career potential. Do you love to travel? To write? To paint?
Now consider how you can integrate these passions into your life more. If it’s a hobby, think about how you can free up some more time to dedicate to it. For example, swapping a night in front of the TV for a night in front of the easel. Or, if it’s something you could see yourself doing as a career, create a plan for how you can turn this dream into a reality, e.g., taking up freelance writing on the side.
Life is too short not to be doing the things that make you truly happy.
Ask yourself what you’d be doing if you had no ties
I’m not saying you should disregard the needs of others around you and the responsibilities that come with having a family or other commitments. Still, sometimes you need to stop making decisions based on other people and do things for yourself.
Take a moment to imagine a life where you have no one else depending on you, where you’re free to make entirely selfish decisions. What would you be doing? Where would you be living?
While some of these things may not be realistic or possible, there are lessons to be learned from this vision, such as goals to set yourself and dreams to strive for.
Envisage your life in 5 years
This might sound like a job interview cliche, but the exercise of making a mental five-year plan can actually reveal more about your desires for the future than you’re aware of on the surface.
Picture what you’d like your life to look like - if it’s pretty similar to your life as it exists now, chances are you’re already living your most authentic life. If, on the other hand, you see it looking a bit different, you can use this to identify the changes you could make to start living the life you really want.
Take a look at yourself
Living life authentically isn’t all about doing the things that make you feel fulfilled. It is also about being the person that you want to be.
Questions to ask yourself for a more personal insight are:
Do I treat others how I would like to be treated?
Am I living my most Authentic Life now?
Am I wearing a mask to cover up my fears, vulnerabilities or more?
Am I living my life by others rules or ideals or what society expects of me?
Self-awareness is one of the most valuable attributes you can possess. It helps you stay in tune with your wants, desires, and goals while remaining switched on to how your behavior is likely to impact yourself and others.
Removing the mask to achieve authenticity is something I discuss in more depth in my new book ‘Behind the Mask.’You can get your copy at www.behind-the-mask-book.com or on Amazon.
Andrée Funnell, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine Andrée is a multi-award-winning Coach, Learning & Development Consultant, best-selling author, speaker, the founder and driving force behind Aspiring Future Competence (AFC). Since its inception in 2002, AFC has helped clients across a wide range of business sectors to get visible, get heard, and get ahead by applying inspirational ways to bring about positive change and empowerment. She has over 20 years of HR & training experience working in corporate organizations and a further 18 years delivering development solutions that make a difference to people’s careers and lives. She is a qualified coach, professional trainer, and NLP Practitioner. She discovered that Authenticity is the key to happiness, fulfillment, and success and is keen to get the message out there to others. ‘Behind the Mask’ is Andrée’s literary debut about ‘Authenticity.’ It’s an essential interactive step by step guide to turning your life around and achieving the kind of life you deserve by living authentically.