Everyone I meet is also holding back on being themselves. Holding back on being really authentic in at least one area of their life. At least one.
Most have a thread of inauthenticity running through their lives, not because they are bad people, but because they have always lived with who they see themselves to be. Or how others see them being.
And even though somewhere deep inside they recognise a more ‘real’ version of themselves, they don’t quite know how to a) access that person fully or b) how (or whether) to acknowledge and encourage that person to ‘come out’ into the world and live the life that is more ‘them’.
There are ‘good reasons’ for that, too.
Changing a life that has naturally evolved into your ‘normal’ feels risky
Risky because change involves things being different. And generally speaking, we humans don’t like ‘different’ very much. We prefer to know what to expect. We like routine. Consistency. We want to know who’s around, where things are and what we can anticipate happening each day.
And that includes how we see ourselves and how other people perceive – or will perceive us – if they haven’t met us yet.
So, what if that needs to change radically for us to be our real-selves?
What might happen? Yep. It’s scary to think about. That’s why most people don’t.
Where might our best friends or family go if they get a whiff of the real person, we are harbouring deep inside?
We feel safer when things stay the same. Even if those things are boring, uninspiring or just plain negative. At least we know.
Fear and safety are in a dysfunctional relationship
When we’re feeling afraid, our instinct is to reach for The Rescuer, Safety. A Rescuer placates us. It’s a soother. It immediately takes away any discomfort. Like the alcoholic’s first drink. It’s an instant relief. But it also dumbs us down. Numbs us out. Stops us feeling, reflecting on, or questioning our fears so that we can take new and positive action towards something healthier or more rewarding.
And that ‘safety’ is rarely any safer, it’s more likely to just be familiar, which is just so….comfortable! It just feels safer. And safety doesn’t really exist, of course. It’s the feeling of it we crave.
I believe we are also sometimes addicted to some of our feelings. To the adrenaline. To pain. To suffering or fear. But whichever feelings you’re addicted to feeling, you can, with awareness, heal those past patterns and you can practice experiencing a whole range of different feelings. Feelings like faith, courage and confidence when you dare to engage with your fear before taking new and different steps from that place.
We can also never really know whether something unfamiliar is going to be automatically unsafe (except for obvious danger of course, like jumping off a cliff).
Yes, inner transformation and change can sometimes feel like jumping off a cliff. It’s just that once we’ve jumped, we find our new familiar. And so the cycle of upward movement continues. Until we gradually (or quickly) meet our new, authentic selves.
Life shouldn’t be one big experiment!
Who said life shouldn’t be one big experiment?
Who said we should stick with what life has dished-up for us already?
Or with what has shown up in our lives so far?
Who said those were ‘The Rules?!’
There is often some crazy idea that in order to feel accepted and acceptable, we must all conform to a kind of ‘Acceptable Norm’ (which might look slightly different for everyone) but it’s one of doing the right things, fitting-in, belonging, not standing out too much. Not being different. Not rocking the boat. Not saying what you think. Not doing what you want.
Not. Not. Not.
I can tell you now that everyone you know will have opinions about you, whether you are hiding behind the curtains of life, standing out, outstanding or plainly uninterested – or uninteresting! And I bet you don’t even know what most of those real opinions are. But you continue onwards anyway. In your own world. Living how you live. Surviving how you survive.
So, how might it be to become as outstanding as you want to be?
Change is always holding hands with self-awareness
The biggest thing to remember is this. If you embark on any journey of self-awareness, self-improvement or self-discovery, you will gain new insights into yourself. And change is inevitable. You will change. Whether you consciously choose it or not. It’s when we resist those changes, dig holes to bury any awareness or try to keep life the same, that things can get painful.
Whether it’s a health and fitness programme (eating well and exercising) mental health improvement (counselling, therapy or coaching) or spiritual (religious or spiritual development) your mind, body and/or spirit will change.
You will discover greater ‘knowledge’ about yourself, your world, your relationships and your life. And so, change can’t NOT happen. Yes, that’s a double-negative, but it’s true. So, if for you, the fear of change is greater than the pain of staying the same, you will remain in your ‘naturally-evolved-normal’.
But, if your desire to connect with the more ‘real’ and authentic version of yourself is bigger than the fear of staying the same, you will enter that ‘risky’ feeling state and just feel it as you move towards greater insight, naturally taking new steps as you begin – or continue creating the life that truly feels ‘more-you’.
There’s a myth that change involves hard work
But, change doesn’t just happen on its own, right?
After you engage with what you want, with things that are different from your ‘evolved norm’, you have to do something. Right?
And you fear that the ‘doing’ is going to be hard work.
Well, not necessarily. Why? Because your unconscious thoughts and feelings are already carving out a new road for you, as you go about living your current-day life. You’ll naturally manifest people, places and things into your life as your deeper awareness puts out little snippets of desire here and there. Tiny inklings of ‘if onlys’ and ‘I wonder what it would be like if I could just….’
Then when you start seeing things manifest, you wonder how it all happened so ‘magically’.
When we come to the place inside where we’re finally in touch with our true selves and we’re really engaged and connected to our hearts, the step-by-step ‘doing’ naturally follows.
I guess, in my experience, the ‘hard work’ I engaged in was the pain I experienced during years of therapy as I asked over and over what was wrong with me. I kept trying to fit into and be part of things in the world that (I now know) weren’t right for me. I kept trying to belong in all the places I unconsciously really didn’t want to belong to! So, there was a natural discordance.
Why did I do that? Why do any of us do that? Because we feel we should.
And that ‘should’ is because of our early conditioning and carried-forward beliefs about who we think we should be in order to be accepted. To belong.
This was nothing to do with who I wanted to be. It just took me a long time to figure that out!
My work now involves helping others to do what I’ve done, without the need for years of therapy!
Not everyone has 10 years to spare so that they can go into therapy. And let’s face it, not everyone wants to! It takes time. It takes a big commitment and it takes courage.
You have to leave the house every week, whether you feel like it or not.
You have to talk about how you feel.
You have to face yourself. Look at who you are – in your relationship with yourself and with other people. You face all that’s been going on in your day, your week, your life and what’s going on inside your head and heart. And you do that week after week.
I can hear you shrieking, NO!
Yes, it can be painful. But it’s also joyful when you breakthrough. And there are many breakthroughs. Understanding ourselves better and honouring our true needs and feelings can be powerful and life-changing.
Most people want the benefits of therapy, without having therapy.
I get it. So although I’m now practicing as a Coach, I also qualified and practiced as a therapist for the best part of ten years too, while engaging in my own personal therapy journey.
Today, I use those years of experience to coach, mentor and teach you how to look out for, connect with, value and live your life more authentically.
Why? Simply because I now realise that this was singularly the most important part of my journey. I’ve also seen the people I work with transform too when they dare to live life as their authentic selves.
They find ways to speak their truth, do what matters, love in ways they could not love before, connect with themselves and others in truly inspiring ways.
And yes, I’ve seen their fear too, but I’ve also seen them engage with that fear, instead of reach for their Rescuer.
What I’ve learned is that most of us are silently seeking permission to be ourselves. Our real selves. Not a version that is acceptable to other people. But a Self that is truly loved by us regardless of whether other people approve or not.
Although it feels like it does matter, it really doesn’t matter what other people think about your life.
What matters is that you live your life. And you love your life. Chances are when you are loving your life, others can see that, feel it and be inspired by you without you even knowing it.
Your Authentic Life Matters. It really does. When you live your life as you truly feel it must be lived, you may not realise it, but you give so much to everyone around you, as well as to yourself.