Authentic living is a hot topic of this century and the past.
Research and you will find tons of books, courses, and articles on this topic, and yet, there are some basics to the authentic life that are lost in translation or semantics. We can break this down and make it simple.
Here is a user-friendly guide to living your best life.
This is your life after all, and you get to decide how to live it.
Making changes is hard.
Waking up and realizing that change is in order is a start.
The philosophy of authentic living is rooted in the work of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Unfortunately, his work was not appreciated for what it was during his life. Like his philosophy, Nietzsche remained honest and true to his beliefs, and we can too!
In my 20s, I fell in love with existentialism. When I found myself at the crossroads and needing to make some drastic changes, I wholeheartedly embraced the philosophy, making it a daily guide.
I was 28 when I found myself ending a marriage and returning to university with a small child.
My current state forced me to examine the life I was living. I was truly honest when examining and found my life to be a façade that focused mainly on survival and maintaining a lie. The lie was that everything was okay, but it was not. My wake-up call was earth-shattering and life-altering. My life and love came tumbling down.
A person does not need to go through trauma to wake up and realize that the life they are living is not in line with who they are. On the contrary, one does need to take a look at oneself and how one shows up in the world. This gentle guide is a start for some serious self-reflection. This guide is influenced by Nietzsche’s work and his principles.
Personally, I do not subscribe to the “crash course” bandwagon. I believe that there is no fast track, so the first principle to embrace is there is no “fast track.” The real course is this: you are born, and you have a life and a path. Wherever you are on the path is a start. Showing up first and foremost for oneself is the greatest thing that we can do as humans for our own growth and self-actualization.
Here we go! Buckle up kids, and let the ride begin.
You are exceptional
We are all unique, and what makes us different is what makes us special. This is the first guide to authentic life and living. When we accept who we are and our differences, we are on the path to authentic living. This is a difficult lesson to accept and embrace. When we accept our light and our dark, we accept ourselves fully. We are all works in progress. We are all humanly flawed and perfectly imperfect. As Cyndi Lauper sings, “Our true colours are what make us beautiful.”
We are all growing
In order to embrace authentic living, one must embrace this fact. Change is necessary for growth, and we are all changing and growing from our birth right up to our death. This is the only constant in life. To stifle growth is to limit our true potential. When we compare, we limit our true potential, and when we attempt and strive to be replicas of others, we are living an inauthentic life. This, of course, is different from striving to be better and learning and growing and admiring the talents and gifts of others. We can show up and be the best version of ourselves and learn and grow from others. This lesson is an important one. We need not fear change, for change is the fire that transforms and moulds us.
Peace is an internal radiance
Let peace begin within, and you will be living authentically. Peace is a driver of an exceptional life. The peace begins within our own hearts and minds, and we send it out to our community, our country, and the world. Authentic living is about making peace within and forgiving ourselves. We can become peaceful champions and practice gratitude, self-compassion, and empathy—first for ourselves, then with each other.
Dare to dream
Embrace your dreams and stoke the inspirational fires. When we stay true to our inner hearts’ desires and dreams regarding work and life, we are becoming and living our truth. We need to dream a little each day and take steps toward our dreams. Living is therefore always in motion. We are moving forward. If you falter or fail, try again and try something different. This life is meant to be an interesting journey full of lessons and rich experiences. Take a risk and try something new. Let yourself fail at something or struggle. This is good practice, and it keeps us learning and humble. Be honest with yourself regarding your goals and dreams. Remember, dreams can change; what is important is that you continue to dream.
You are irreplaceable
Yes, you are the one reading and walking this green earth. No one is quite like you, so dare to show up and be you. Speak your truth, walk your walk, and write your heart. Authentic living is self-reflecting. It is introspective and self-nurturing. We can get in tune with our own thoughts and emotions, and this influences how we show up in the world. When we go against our morals and values, we go against our authentic selves. Checking in, therefore, is necessary and a daily practice that can foster growth.
Friends, authentic living is not for the faint of heart. This guide is just a start. I encourage you to start a daily journal practice. Get in touch with your heart and soul. This daily practice of writing will help you get in touch with what you want and need and will help you grow and will guide your authentic heart.
If you need help writing, Elephant Journal is here. Signing up for a writing group can and will help you get in touch with your true self. Of course, writing isn’t the only way; however, if you like to read, writing is an excellent start to write your own way home back to finding who you are and becoming the best version of yourself, which is living an authentic life.