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Living Authentically: It’s Not Always Easy

By February 8, 2024Articles, Leadership

Often, in the quest for acceptance and the fear of disappointment, it’s all too easy to lose sight of who we are at our core. This realisation struck me as I prepared for a podcast that posed a simple yet deeply introspective question: When was a time you realised you were not being true to you?

Reflecting on this question, I recognised that, truthfully, there have been many instances in my life where I’ve found myself straying from my authentic self.

The drive to be liked and not disappoint others can often lead us down a path where we become chameleons, constantly changing colours to suit our surroundings. This was my reality for the longest time, especially during my formative years.

“To thine own self be true,” a quote by William Shakespeare, encapsulates the essence of living authentically. Yet, adhering to this adage has been one of my greatest challenges.

Living unauthentically, disconnected from our true selves, prompts behaviours that clash with our top values. In my late teens, I encountered someone I believed was my soulmate, embarking on a long-term relationship that, with time, I came to realise was fundamentally flawed. Despite the superficial happiness, a deep-seated unhappiness festered within. At that point in my life, I was unsure of my true identity beyond the façade of pleasing others and evading disappointment—though, admittedly, not without moments of rebellion.

The toll of living a life out of alignment is immeasurable. It can cause problems on multiple levels, affecting your mental, emotional, and sometimes even physical well-being. Life is too precious to be lived inauthentically. The fulfillment that comes from living in alignment with our true selves is unparalleled.

It’s important to ask yourself periodically: Are there moments now when I am not living true to myself? Am I wearing a mask for the sake of others? The frequency and impact of these moments can be telling of how aligned you are with your authentic self. The feelings that arise from these reflections can serve as a guide back to your core values.

Being firmly anchored to your values provides the strength needed to live in accordance with who you truly are. This is not without its challenges. Yet, it is one of the most rewarding paths you can embark on. It leads to a life filled with purpose and genuine happiness and a lot less confusion!

I encourage you to think about this and take off your mask/s. It’s liberating!