most exhausting thing in life is being insincere.
-Anne Morrow Lindbergh
collectively harbor an overarching need for authenticity. Yet, ironically,
this is the first place we tend to "sell out." We possess
the curious habit of forsaking our selves and becoming big phonies in order to
preserve false harmony. Taken to the logical extreme, this becomes a survival
a cruel paradox!
difficult it is to simply be who we are, without needing to pretend, lie,
withhold, or just not participate. It's been estimated that 80% of our energy is
wasted on trying to control things out of our control, instead of being joyfully
creative in the moment. This keeps us from having a joyful, fulfilling life, and
from getting the love and rewards in our lives that we desire.
this questionnaire to get a reading on your current degree of courageous
authenticity. Rate yourself from 1 to 5 with 1 being “Describes me,” and 5
being “Does not describe me.”
Courage. I speak up when facing my fears of abandonment, rejection,
ridicule, chastisement, or failure.
____Being Present. I am experiencing what is in the present
here-and-now moment, rather than being preoccupied with the past or future.
____Being Transparent. I reveal my thoughts, feelings, expectations,
judgments, interpretations, and assumptions, letting people know exactly what
I am feeling and thinking.
____Welcoming Feedback. I am openly curious about how others are
affected and impacted by me.
____Knowing Myself. I know my strengths, values, life purpose,
boundaries, and inner essence.
____Spontaneity. I act and react in the moment, without constraint,
reservation, internal judgment, or external force.
____Embracing The Unknown. I am able to let go of the need to know how
things will turn out.
____Noticing My Intent. I allow things to happen rather than trying to
control or manipulate to make things happen.
____Revising An Earlier Statement. I give myself permission to change
my mind, to re-state an earlier communication, add clarification, or to clear
up a misunderstanding.
___Holding Differences. I am open to considering viewpoints that are
different or opposed to my own without sensing that it takes something away
___Connecting and Re-Connecting. I see the value in everyone
connecting with their deeper, truer self, and essence.
___Taking Back Projections. I take responsibility for my own judgments
and interpretations, and focus less on what others do or think.
___Sharing Mixed Emotions. I express the complex feelings of my
ambivalence and confusion, and I am comfortable with inconsistencies.
___Asserting What I Want and Don’t Want. I affirm my rights to want
what I need and want, even if it’s unreasonable, or if there is little
chance of getting it.
___Seeing and Making Choices. I recognize a variety of perspectives and
choose to act in alignment with my values, wants, needs, and best interests.
RESULTS: 15 – 30: “Genuine” -- You are typically real and sincere; 31-45:
“Pretentious” -- You are a high-quality image of the real you; 46-60:
“Inauthentic” -- It’s time to stop hiding and let the world know who you
coaches offer teleclasses and other support to help individuals express their
is always exciting. Speak it, then. Life is boring without it.
-Pearl S. Buck
authentically is a huge challenge for INFJs. Because extraverted Feeling
is the process we meet the external world with, we are generally very intent on
upholding commonly-held social values. This can look like
"conforming." I have several INFJ clients who really battle with
challenges around conforming and satisfying the "Collective."
This can look like getting a degree in a field that others approve of,
dating/marrying the person others approve of, having the career others approve
of... Extraverted Feeling can be very Self-betraying in this way.
know that once I came to understand, really understand, my preference for
extraverted Feeling, I began to get an inkling about how many of the values I
uphold in my life don't really belong to ME -- they belong to the
Collective. I couldn't remember
whether *I* thought it was important to be polite, or whether I had simply taken on
that value from the Collective. I couldn't remember whether *I* liked Christmas, or whether I
had absorbed that value from the Collective. I wasn't sure if I liked
wearing makeup, or whether it's something the Collective had trained me to
do. Everything I value came up for
grabs! And, even now, I occasionally have moments of disorientation when I
can't figure out what part is "me" and what part is
"cultural" -- to the extent that I even distrust this part of myself
When we begin to cultivate awareness of our thoughts and emotions, we begin to see just how much we live according to other people’s and society’s beliefs and actions. Don’t get upset by this.
Simply get in touch with how you really think and feel inside and begin to express your authenticity.
There's a technique to help you do this located
here. (Having a coach who will take a stand for your authenticity
"I think the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself."
-- Rita Mae Brown
"Once in a while it really hits people that they don’t have to experience the world in the way they have been told to."
-- Alan Keightley
Who You Are
Living Your Truth
we are young children, we live authentically, seldom afraid or embarrassed to
seek out what we want or to speak our minds. As we grow older, we tend to tuck
that authenticity away, putting it aside while we chase our dreams, afraid that
it might hinder us in our success. But we never let that freedom go completely.
We may conform to society while embracing secret passions when alone. We may
withhold certain opinions, though it doesn't change the fact that we possess
them. It is important, however, to never stray too far from that youthful
brashness and self-interest for they are qualities that help make you who you
are. The authentic you is your true self and, in living authentically, you live
your truth, making time for the things you love and projecting who you really
are. The simplest way to live your truth is to leave the expectations of others
behind and live the way you feel most worthwhile.
takes being selfish in a healthy way by doing what you
know is best for you, regardless of the opinions of others - even the opinions
of close friends and family. Living authentically means that you make choices
without fear, trusting in your soul's wisdom... If you value personal pursuits,
don't feel forced into a certain job just to make enough money to keep up with
your neighbors. Conversely, if you prize success in business, don't let others'
perception of what's right for you hold you back. Denying your unique truth can
lead to feelings of failure and dissatisfaction because you aren't acknowledging
your true self. In living your truth, there are no pretenses. Everything you do
will reflect who you truly are.
you are unsure of who the authentic you really is, look inward and ask yourself
what your purpose, values, and needs are. Honor your strengths and don't let
yourself be guided by what other expect of you. Finally, discover your passions
by trying new things, and sticking with those things that stir your soul.
Finding who you really are and then making the choice to embrace your true dreams
and desires will take your life in a direction that is both satisfying and
here for your own free Daily OM
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Journey to Authenticity
The following Journey to Authenticity
process steps described in this article are a very helpful guide to assist in
directing and supporting you on your way to discovering and living your life
based in authenticity.
The real life application of this process is
ongoing and circular, depending on the level of development you are
in any given stage in your life.
The Journey to Authenticity process steps to
becoming your Authentic Self are as follows:
The Present stage is when you realize the
life you are living right now is not working for you. It is like waking
up and looking around and seeing that you have outgrown the life you are now
living. You want more, or at least you do not want to stay where you
find yourself, at this time. At this starting place, you can clearly
define what you do not want. However, there is usually confusion about how to
change things along with a real apprehension about what may/may not happen to
you if you do try to change your life and/or work for the better.
This first step takes a willingness to
dismantle or disconnect from the old known way of life so you can begin to
discover and create a new way of life that more expresses your Authentic Self.
Right when a person has a wake up call to
make some positive or needed changes in his/her life it seems to trigger the
desire to make the changes instantly.
Human beings want an instant answer or an
instant cure. We want to just make the decision to change things and ZAP!
like magic... everything is instantly changed overnight.
We seem to automatically escape for a time
into the Catapult Illusion, thinking if I read a certain book, go to a
workshop/retreat, take a special class, see a good coach/counselor a few times…
ALL WILL CHANGE INSTANTLY!
Boy, I wish I could tell you it was
that easy, but the process of discovering your Authentic Self and bringing it into
full expression takes time and a few more very important steps in the
transformation process. Yes, I said TRANSFORMATION. You are on a
journey that not only removes the masks (False Self) you have created and have
lived out over the years, but it provides the way to dig deep and discover your
True Self and have your Authentic Life be fully expressed.
When you take a step out there into new
territory and the Catapult Illusion of instant or quick change does not work,
FEAR rises up. You look around and say “This is not working as fast as
I had hoped.” You try to run back to the way things were before you
had this idea about making some changes and finding yourself.
Descending into the Unknown is when you have
to face the fear of having left your old life and identity behind and have not
yet established your new life and Authentic Self. At this point, you
want (and sometimes do) escape back to the old known because you want security
and control, even when it does not work. You are familiar with the way
things were in the past and you are feeling very uncomfortable with how things
feel now. Things feel out-of-control and human beings do not like to be
in that limbo place of uncertainty.
The unknown is a very important place to be
in the void of two worlds. Your old life is passing away and your new
life has not yet fully arrived. The phrase “fish out of water” is
a good picture to describe the awkwardness of this stage.
The way to best take advantage of this
transitional point is to surrender control to your Higher Power, trust the
process, surround yourself with positive support, and continue to put one foot
in front of the other as you work your way through to the next level. In
time, you will find the solid ground of being your Authentic Self.
Having the on-going support of good friends,
an experienced coach, counselor and/or other support resources are critical
at this point. Good support will help get you through the challenge
course of the Unknown and the continuing journey to fully come into your full
expression of the New Known of Authentic Self.
Support will cheer you on when the going
gets tough and remind you of how far you have come when you are faced with yet
another life hurdle. Your supporters will also celebrate all the steps you
accomplish, and the full expression of your Authentic Self, and the fulfilling
life you are creating.
There is a lot of work and deep joy in the
process of working through the Unknown to the New Known on the Pathway to
Authentic Self. It is an exciting and powerful experience as you
continually advance in the development of new skills in becoming stronger in
being your Authentic Self. Over time you become more and more secure in
fully expressing your Authentic Self in every facet of your life and work.
As I said in the beginning, the process is
circular and ongoing, even though you want to reach the goal and be done with
it. When you reach Future it then becomes the Present and you need to
evaluate “What is next?” on your journey. It is a lifetime journey
that unfolds over the span of your years. As humans, people never fully
attain completion and that is the end of it. When I speak of Future
here, it is good to have a goal and vision you are moving towards, but at the
same time it is not the finish line. Each level and stage of life leads
to the next stage of a deeper, more expansive expression of Authentic Self.
It is very important to be fully present moment by moment in the powerful
transformational process that your heart and soul yearn for on your Journey to
-Excerpted from When Money Is Not Enough: Fulfillment in Work,
By Eileen R. Hannegan, MS, MCC, Authentic Life Coach
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