Did you have a deep sense of your authentic self?
In Elton John’s, This Song Has No Title, he sings…
“Look in the mirror and stare at myself.
And wonder if that’s really me on the shelf.”
If this song makes you tear up… I relate! It’s possibly because an important part of yourself is ignored.
Your true self gets ignored.
Unfortunately, some good parts of you get left out when you’re not living an authentic life. These juicy parts of you want to be noticed!
Your sense of purpose must be valued.
And when it’s not you’re probably wondering…
What is going on with me that I’m allowing this? Why am I leaving part of myself on a shelf?
My poet self… on a shelf.
Sadness… at the back of the shelf.
My feminine self… roaming in the woods.
Helping humanity… a shelf in the other room.
My true self… I didn’t know what that was.
The leader in me… she was kind of there, but not in the way she wanted to be.
From a soul-centered perspective, the true self is in the soul, the core of your being. When you’re being your true self, you’re a whole person, and all of the sides of you have a place in your life.
Why do we ignore our authentic selves?
There are a few reasons.
Possibly, we don’t think we’re good enough and we’re lacking in self-love.
Or, we don’t believe we can, or will, or that the world has any openings at the moment.
And even though we’re good at something, we think that tens of thousands of other people are good as well. So, we lose confidence.
Self-doubt is the enemy of the authentic self.
Self-doubt kills the soul because it tells us that we cannot do the very thing we need to do.
Add to that thinking:
The universe doesn’t care what you do.
You don’t have what it takes.
No one can have it all.
Other people are doing it better.
Here’s the thing, when you ignore key, deep parts of yourself, your soul becomes in a word, restless.
Think of the soul as a cheerleader.
Think of the soul as a cheerleader, cheering you on!
After decades of a very real conversation with my soul, and wondering how it’s viewing my life so far, I’m grateful to have a cheerleader.
Because your soul patiently wants you to fulfill your deeper needs.
Furthermore, the soul is asking you to heal your life.
Years ago when my husband passed away I listened to David Whyte’s Poems of Self-compassion every day.
In it, he speaks of a conversation with the soul…
“The soul doesn’t seem to make the distinction between the light and the dark. It chooses both. It doesn’t care whether you do something successfully or fail at it. It just wants to know, did you do it your way? Was it you who failed? Or were you trying to be someone else when you failed? If it was you, the soul’s happy. That was your experience. Your failure. No one can take it away from you.” ~ David Whyte
These words ignited me. No longer would I ignore any part of myself. No way.
“You do not have to be good.”
Mary Oliver’s first line in Wild Geese, You do not have to be good, is a salve for the soul.
A tonic for the authentic self or true self.
And a mantra for an authentic life.
“You do not have to be good.”
Because there are things you’ll feel compelled toward and you won’t be good at it, at first.
Possibly, there will be a long period of being not good.
In life, you have to start somewhere.
That’s one definition of authentic… start somewhere and do it your way.
Do it your way.
After much soul-searching, I realized, I didn’t have to be good. I became ok with being better than average.
Not that this is right for you.
Maybe you’re someone who is meant to be the best. Or, your soul is longing to be the best.
But, whatever it is, do it your way, that is being a soulful person.
What is an authentic, soulful person?
An authentic, soulful person is someone who is faithful to their own soul, regardless of pressure from the outside world.
If your authentic self must, then you must.
Because when you feel that you must do something in this life, the longing isn’t going to go away.
Your soul is speaking to you. And longing is one way the soul communicates.
Therefore, if you’ve got to…
- Express yourself, eventually, you’ll find a way to express yourself.
- Teach something, then you’ll find those you’re meant to teach.
- Say what is burning inside you, then you’ll find a way to say it.
- Heal yourself, then you’ll take the time and space to heal.
- Lead others, then you’ll find those you’re meant to lead.
- Beautify your surroundings, then you’ll find the place you’re meant to make beautiful.
- Heal others, then you’ll find those you’re meant to heal.
- Travel, then off you go.
And the list goes on.
Living an authentic life.
Your voice is yours alone. And no one else can speak it.
Authenticity is using your voice.
And, nothing is more satisfying than using your voice for something that’s been bopping around in your head or heart for years, day, or hours.
Other meanings of authenticity.
Authenticity is self-honesty. Being honest about the self and what you need in your life, who you are, these kinds of things.
At work, it’s common these days to hear employers encouraging workers to show their true selves in their roles. And in our personal lives, we hear how important it is to show up, be real, and be true to our authentic selves.
Name and embrace your strengths.
Tony Robbins has an exercise he recommends where you identify three strengths that you possess. They can be gifts, talents, or traits that you are proud of. Then keep them top of mind, so that you lean on these strengths.
This exercise does a lot to boost your confidence and helps you stay positive in life. Embrace what you’ve got within you. You’re given the gifts you have for a reason, and that is so that you’ll use them.
Living from the inside out.
Living from the inside out is when you see the world from through your eyes. This doesn’t mean that you don’t see other people’s perspectives because you do. As you live a soulful life, this comes more naturally.
Your motivation comes from within, from wanting greater truth. Authenticity comes more easily when your motivation comes from qualities and desires within you.
While living from the outside in, is when you see yourself the way the outside world sees you… and your motivation comes from wanting to impress or please others.
I personally doubt there are many people out there who live one way or the other all the time. Instead, sometimes you see the world through your eyes and sometimes you don’t and you’re focused on what others think.
What’s important is to see the world through your authentic self.
Journaling is great for getting to know yourself better because you can be self-honest. It’s common to do what’s called automatic writing. Just let the words spill onto the page, without overthinking it.
This helps you discover your authentic self.
Let it be a mind dump.
The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron gives great suggestions for how to do this. It allows you to explore your unique personality and do something reflective and creative. The daily practice of self-reflection helps improve your confidence and self-esteem.
Find the resources to do what you dream of.
When living authentically, look at how you can achieve something you desire, even when resources are low or non-existent. For example, how can you divide this dream into smaller achievable objectives and accomplish it in an easier way with fewer resources?
Or, let’s say you want to write a book, but after working full time and running your personal and family life, you’re exhausted. You can choose an hour a week. Just carve out an hour a week where you will focus your attention on this new, fun writing project. This also helps you discover your authentic self.
It may seem like not enough time… you don’t need to pen the next American novel. You just need to write something that is authentic.
Human beings love to belong and we love authenticity, so this can create a deep inner conflict! But, the soul is always there, urging you onto your path, your truth.
Do what fulfills the soul… because there’s much to do. This means being your authentic self.
Reflecting on the Elton John lyrics above, I think of this each day when I’m putting new things on the shelf. When I see them sitting there too long, I pull them off to ease my inner tension.
When you feel in your guts that there’s something you must do, or something you must say, your soul, your authentic self is cheering you on.
And, “You do not have to be good.”