Living an authentic life paves the way to personal fulfillment and joy. 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do author Amy Morin says that when your words and behavior are aligned with your beliefs, you will feel less stressed, establish healthier relationships, increase your self-confidence and will power, and direct more time and energy towards your goals.
So if you are stuck in a rut or caught in the crossroads of your career, health, or relationship, reconnecting with your authentic self will help you figure out your next step.
Here are some ways to do it:
1. Let go, de-clutter, and simplify.
Your physical space is often a reflection of your inner world. As you let go of material possessions that no longer have any use or value to you and organize your home and workplace, you will be surprised to find the effect of an empty space and a simplified life on your cognitive and emotional processes.
2. Schedule regular social media detox.
It is easy to lose your own identity when you are exposed to the well-curated lives of online influencers and deeply entrenched in viral negativity. These virtual quicksand can pull you down deeper as algorithms work to influence your thoughts and emotions with the kind of content that they place on your feed. A regular detox will help you re-establish your own perspective and self-identity.
3. Keep a journal and/or make a vision board.
Here is a personal anecdote that I would like to share: Lately, I made some decisions that I found myself doubting afterwards for fear that I may have strayed from my life mission. All this changed when I came across an old notebook where I jotted down my five, 10, and 15-year SMART goals as part of a personal strategic planning workshop that I attended at my past workplace some years ago. I forgot most of the things I wrote there, but surprisingly, I realized that I am right on track for most of my goals. It seemed that I naturally gravitated towards opportunities that aligned to the goals I listed then and intuitively eliminated those that do not add value. Reading my old entries was like a performance review that made me confident about my new plans.
If you are the visual type, a vision board will help reinforce your life aspirations as the board influences you to make decisions that are aligned with your vision of your future.
4. Eat clean.
There is an increasing scientific evidence on the gut-brain connection, as well as a growing demand for detoxification regimens and food intolerance tests. The simplest and most affordable way to do this is to make eating clean and healthy a regular habit. Clean gut may help you get rid of toxic thoughts and emotions.
5. Make peace with your past.
The past can be quite sticky, especially when you have had unresolved childhood issues and traumatic relationships. A lot of people (including myself) find that it is not the specific events of the past that consist the biggest growth blocks, but the mental fixation to these events and the pain that they have caused. Unless you belong to another school of thought, you are most likely inclined to believe that your truest self is the one that is inherently good. It is hard to discover this person when your heart and mind are poisoned by anger.
6. Reconnect with people, places, and souvenirs that evoke good memories.
Remember the times when you could dream freely, unencumbered by mistakes, failures, and losses? Or the times that you can make friends and fall in love fearlessly? Try to reconnect with those moments by catching up with family members and old friends, and visiting special places like your childhood home. The person that can give you the greatest joy and fulfillment in your life is the one who is not a prisoner of fear.
My good friend, Cybele, has been traveling ever since she was a child. From all the places that she has been to around the world, what she looks forward to, ironically, is coming back home with that feeling of finding herself after seeing so many new faces and places. You do not need to travel on a high budget like Cybele but you can visit a nearby town, a heritage place, or a new attraction in your community. The key is to strive to keep a sense of childlike wonder and appreciation of simple places and events in your life.
Staying in touch with your values, dreams, and aspirations requires constant practice. The more you stay true to yourself, the more you are likely to make decisions that will bring you closer to your goals and increase your overall satisfaction in life.