This post is for you if you…
- don’t think it’s possible to be fully yourself
- want to know how to be authentic
- yearn for freedom
The Purpose of this Post
I pulled the Justice card this morning. Thoroughly annoyed at its appearance, I impatiently threw the card aside.
Feeling an undercurrent of impatience, restlessness and some other feeling I couldn’t identify for the past week, I decided to grab my tarot deck for some insight. Immediately recoiling when the card came up, I paused for a moment and reflected on why, exactly, I reacted this way. For me, this card is full of rules and black and white thinking, an unyielding stance on everything, a finger pointer.
But, I thought, what if I was wrong? What if Justice was urging me beyond the obvious condemnation of breaking the rules and threatening karma and instead prompting me to do the actual breaking? Maybe it was a direct challenge as well as an answer to my restlessness: it’s time to stop playing by the rules and make my own. A reminder that the yearning for freedom that is so ever present in my life is a result of stifling my authenticity.
The purpose of my post is to explore the underpinnings of desire to attain freedom and live in permanent full authentic self-expression. As I unravel my own longings, I will devise an action plan for all of us to find the courage to be ourselves.
The Desire for Freedom
I have come to believe that there is one common desire shared by all of us – the desire to be free. How you define freedom varies from person to person, but the main concept is the same. Merriam-Webster defines freedom as the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.
Without hindrance or restraint.
This means being who you are without the bondage of societal norms and status quos. Ignoring what other people think and simply doing what feels natural. Freedom is the answer to the restless and unhappy feelings so prevalent today. It’s the call of your soul to stop handcuffing yourself and finally be seen.
Why Authenticity is the Key
Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let out true selves be seen.
You cannot achieve freedom without complete authenticity. If you still hold onto even one mask or persona you have created to deal with life, you are not free. You must get real, raw, naked and unfiltered. Live your life as you without excuse or apology. But, as we all know, finding the courage to live this way is not easy and takes a lot of personal work to express yourself fully. The good news is it is entirely possible to chip away at the conformity you have bought into. All it takes is a choice.
How to Be Authentic
My road to authenticity has taught me a lot. First and foremost, choosing to be real won’t kill me. I thought for sure the shame and embarrassment I would experience when people found out who I really was would be unbearable. Lucky for me, I have survived and am still plugging along towards full self-expression.
Secondly, as you are well aware, practice makes it get easier. Sure, there are times when the last thing you want to do is feel all the feelings, but you must if you want to live in alignment. So many of us are desperately searching for our purpose and don’t realize that your purpose is simply to be yourself.
Keep what I just said in mind as you read through the 5 tips I am going to give you to achieve your own authenticity: You won’t die and consistent practice is necessary. Somehow, to me, that makes things a little easier to swallow.
Who Are You?
Before you can live in full self-expression, you have to know who you are. It’s necessary to challenge everything you think you know and all of the beliefs that are holding you back. I am willing to bet that most of what you hold to be true aren’t even your beliefs, instead they are the product of your parents, teachers or other people in your life that influenced you.
Challenging why you do things and where the beliefs stem from can open up a whole new world for you. Choosing to change your perspective can create a paradigm shift so profound that it will feel as if your world has turned upside down (for the better!). Yes, this can cause motion sickness, but that feeling will pass and you are left with a future full of hope and possibility.
- How to Overcome Limiting Beliefs and Manifest Your Dream
- Challenge Your Beliefs: How to Find Your Unique Truth
- 4 Easy Tarot Spreads to Help You Confront Your Limiting Beliefs
- 5-Day Who Are You? Challenge
- Stop Trying to Make Everyone Happy: 5 Ways to Be Yourself
Yes, this is going to be hard. Tossing out everything you have identified with your entire life is a daunting, yet doable, task. When you make a choice to move forward towards true authenticity, you will feel fear. The worst thing you can do is rationalize why this isn’t a good idea or why you can’t do it. Keep your end goal in mind: freedom.
Fear is always an illusion, an idea in your head that you believe. I’m sure you have heard of Fear = False Evidence Appearing Real at some point, and if you haven’t, you have now. I am not trying to diminish your anxiety in any way. Merely the thought of showing up as myself in public was enough to launch me straight into a massive panic attack, so I get it. What I want to stress is again is it won’t kill you. It will probably be very uncomfortable but the view from the other side is so magnificent, I want to experience it with you. To get there, you have to face what you are scared of.
As you begin to face your fears and uncover who you really are, you will start to gain more and more confidence. There will come a time when you feel you have finally made it – you have found the courage to live as yourself every single day.
This is when the Universe will throw you a curveball to test whether you truly want this. It doesn’t have to be anything huge or chaotic, sometimes it is just a small thing here and there. The easiest way to identify when you are being presented with an opportunity for self-expression is feeling resistance. When you feel a tightness in your chest or a feeling of restlessness, this is a surefire way to know you are suppressing the desire of your soul.
Pay attention to how your body reacts to certain situations. Recognizing a physical reaction is your clue to take a step back and think about what you are doing. For me, I feel resistance at times when writing and it tells me that I am not fully expressing what I want to say. Often, it is due to a thought in the back of my head wondering how people will react to what I truly want to say and unconsciously, I dial back the intensity to make it more palatable. However, it is definitely not more palatable to me, hence the tightness in my chest.
- How to Stop Being a People-Pleaser and Be Yourself
- Your Soul Purpose: The Research Backed Reason it’s Important
- 10 Surprising Ways Tarot Shows You How to Be Yourself
- How to Stop Second Guessing Yourself
- How to Stop Caring What People Think
Fall In Love…With Yourself
Living a lie your entire life makes is really difficult to love who you are. Conforming to the expectations of everyone around you – your parents, teachers, partners, friends – is exhausting and can leave you feeling less than and not good enough. Underneath the contortion act you have been performing though, is a deep love for who you are. Self-development is not a journey to change yourself, it is a journey back home to who you always have been. We forget what we stand for over the years of following the directives of others and ignoring our own desires. It’s no wonder we often hate ourselves.
As with anything, though, there is a way to return to the love that is waiting for you in your own heart. Cast off the labels you identify with and as well as anything that doesn’t feel right. There is no such thing as perfection, only beautiful imperfection. Take small steps daily to find things you admire about who you are. Look in the mirror and tell yourself I love you, even if it feels like a lie at first. Remember when I told you practice makes it easier? Keep doing it until it becomes true.
- 8 Easy Ways to Overcome Perfectionism and Live Your Best Life
- 6 Reasons You Don’t Feel Fulfilled in Your Life
- 5 Powerful Steps to Manifest Your Best Life
- How Introvert Labels Can Harm You
- How to Set a Powerful Shadow Work Intention
Last but not least, take the time to celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small. Each step you take forward is worthy of recognition and will motivate you to continue moving forward. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, just find something that speaks to your soul. As you work to uncover who you are, you might be surprised at what you find you love to do or experience, so have fun with this. Try new things, go new places, take a break.
Whatever you decide, stick with celebrating your accomplishments! Don’t think something is too small or not big enough. I can’t stress enough how important this step is, so please don’t ignore it.
Action + Authenticity = Freedom
Let me put this all together for you in a simple action plan.
Step 1 Uncover Who You Are. Pretend you are dating yourself as you dig into what you like, what you stand for, your values, etc.
Step 2 Make Friends with Fear. No one escapes it, it’s up to you to find a way to face what is holding you back.
Step 3 Identify Tension. I’m talking about any feelings of tightness or other resistance in your body. This is your clue to take a closer look at an opportunity you may be passing up.
Step 4 Mirror Work. As the great Louise Hay teaches, you can learn to love yourself one day at a time. Every single day, look in the mirror and find one thing you love.
Step 5 Celebrate!!!
Final Thoughts on Authenticity and Freedom
I don’t know if I will ever get to the finish line of my quest for freedom, but I know for certain I get closer every day. Finding an outlet to use my voice and show up as myself without excuse, apology or explanation is cathartic and incredibly inspiring. It is my fervent hope that by sharing my journey I can provide hope and possibility to others who might not have thought it possible for themselves and that they too can inspire others to do the same.
And in case no one has told you today – I believe in you.
Proud introvert, intuitive entrepreneur, and spiritual activist. On a mission to embolden my fellow introverts to quietly change the world.