Steps to Authentic Living

How do you view yourself? You might identify yourself as a parent, colleague, or friend. Maybe you're a sports enthusiast, political advocate, or artist. Or do you describe yourself by attributes like impatient, forgetful, or not talented? 

You're more than your career, interest, or position in life. You're more than the sum of others' opinions.

You're a unique person with nuances that are unique to you!

When who you are aligns with your behavior, you're living authentically. Oftentimes, we find ourselves living in a way that doesn't reflect the heart we want to have. Authentic people act truthfully and harmoniously.

The benefits of living in congruency are immense. This kind of life creates success, self-confidence, inner peace, and healthy relationships.

Those who live lives misaligned with their values and beliefs suffer from more anxiety, guilt, and shame. It might seem easier or more comfortable to live up to others' expectations in the short-term, but the long-term costs are significant. And ultimately, you’re not the only one suffering the costs. Your loved ones feel the burden too, even if, and sometimes especially if they are the ones you're trying to please.

Ready to evaluate how aligned you are? Try these steps to self-reflect:

Identify your core values. 

Your authentic self aligns with your values. It that day or even that moment that you feel at peace inside and out. Where are your values rooted? For me, it's my faith. How about you? Really break it down and write it out. By knowing your values, you'll gain an understanding of what is important to you. Once Your values, you can build a more meaningful and enjoyable life.

  • After this brainstorming of values, reduce your list to the five to ten values that are most important to you. You might struggle to narrow your list to that few, but ten values are plenty.
  • Determine if you sense any conflicts. For example, you might say that adventure and freedom are two of your most essential values, but what if you also strongly favor responsibility and security? Those values could conflict.

When faced with an inner conflict, you're likely to shut down or busy yourself with other work. 

Have you ever felt paralyzed while making a decision? It's possible your values conflicted at that moment. Think back to when you've struggled to make a decision. Did you have opposing values at play? 

  • Do you have any values listed that aren't really priorities for you? Frequently, we carry perspectives instilled by our parents, a negative experience, or our culture. Newsflash: It's up to you to live your life today. Take the time to determine your values for yourself. You're a beautifully made individual with unique gifts, strengths, and talents.

Pick your top three values. Discuss this list with the people closest to you. Maybe spark the conversation over the family dinner and ask for accountability. Kids love to catch you in the act of making a mistake. Just think about how your values will rub off on them the process! 

  • Create a visual reminder to place in your home.

    I like using oversized post-its, but maybe you are artsier and would enjoy painting a picture. Whatever you create, place it where you will see it throughout the day. This simple act will help you to live congruently. Over time, you can always rotate in other values from your main list.

  • Evaluate yourself at the end of each day.

     Think about the instances when you fell short in living according to your values. Don't beat yourself up, but notice the opportunity for growth. Likewise, contemplate the times you were able to live according to your values, particularly when doing so was challenging. Start a gratitude list of victories!

Living in alignment with your values will enable you to construct a life that allows you to thrive. Authenticity eliminates many of the common emotional ailments in life. It's not always the easiest choice, but it will bring you joy, peace, and confidence. With consistency, others will gain more confidence in you as well.

Be bold enough to choose the person you want to be and live accordingly. The benefits are enormous. So what are your values?

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