We all want to live our best, most-authentic lives, but what does that look and feel like? Let’s start small. Here are 10 simple things authentic people do.
—This article was originally published by our friends at elephant journal; we’re republishing (with permission!) because we love it… and them. Enjoy.—
In my past life, I was a chameleon. I always shifted my colors to blend in with the environment surrounding me. I had lost all sense of who the “real me” was.
I did what I thought everyone else wanted or expected me to do for so long I didn’t even know what it was that I wanted anymore. Little by little, my catering to other people had chipped away at my identity until I became unrecognizable to me.
After a while, I wanted my true colors back. Don’t get me wrong; it was a lot of fun trying on all different colors. I tried on beautiful shades of magenta, tangerine, gold, coral, and periwinkle—but none of them felt quite right. None of them felt quite like me.
Here are 10 things we can do to be more authentic:
1. We don’t apologize for who we are or what we love.
We love what, and whom, we love. We don’t apologize for who we are. This is the person we were created to be, for the most part. When we apologize for who we are or what we love, we send a message to ourselves that we are not enough and need to be fixed.
I used to spend a lot of time apologizing for who I was; I felt like a burden to other people. Today, I realize I don’t need to apologize for the fact that I struggle with depression and anxiety, just like someone who has cancer doesn’t need to apologize for that. What I now understand is I am exactly who I am and it’s beautiful at times, chaotic at times, and more often than not, both.
2. We indulge in our curiosities.
We are curious about things we are told. We are curious about what we hear and see. We don’t need to accept anything as the “one and only truth.” We stay curious about others and about ourselves.
I used to let what other people said affect me a lot. I would even let other people’s opinions of me dictate my sense of self-worth. I laugh at this now because I realize that there is no “one and only truth,” and then very often, what people say is more about them than it actually is about you.
3. We regularly ask ourselves what our motivations are.
This is something I have to do regularly. My ego can look like a thousand different things, and if I don’t slow down and try to understand what my motivations are, it can run the show. I have a history of being a people-pleaser. I always wanted people to like me and to think I am a “strong person.” In order to preserve this image that I portrayed to people, I used to do things that I thought they would like or want to hear.
Authentic people ask these questions: Is our motivation one that is true to who we are? Or is it ruled by a need for approval? We are constantly checking in with our motivations.
4. We pay attention to our guts.
If something feels wrong, there’s a reason. There have been many times where I have ignored my gut feeling and regretted doing so later on. Specifically, I have ignored my gut feelings in past relationships. I felt something wasn’t right, but carried on until one day it could no longer be ignored.
If something doesn’t feel right, there’s truth to that. Our bodies are intelligent and can sense when something isn’t right for us. We pay attention to our gut feelings and trust that our intuition is onto something.
5. We spend time alone.
In trying to get back to my true colors, I spent some time alone because I needed to stop absorbing other people’s energy for a little bit.
Now, I regularly need alone time to gather my feelings and thoughts. When we are constantly surrounding ourselves with other people, it is nearly impossible to know what our own beliefs are. We make time for ourselves. We meditate. We go for walks by ourselves in the park. We get to know ourselves, by ourselves.
Follow us to elephant journal to continue reading “10 Things Happy People Do” and have a happy day.
About the Author
Ali Mariani is a contributor to elephant journal. She is the Executive Director of The (I’m)Possible Project, a non-profit organization whose mission is to educate and support youth who may encounter mental health challenges and raise awareness about mental health challenges that today’s youth face. Equally as important, she is a cat fanatic and spends most of her free time with her two cats, Joy and Pumpkin. When she isn’t pretending her cats can talk back to her, Ali is earning her Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and starting her own therapeutic yoga practice. She currently resides in her studio apartment in Wooster Square, New Haven, Connecticut.