“Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.”― Thomas Jefferson
As I was working with a client this week we were talking about being authentic and getting in touch with that spark within that is who we truly are. She looked at me intently and noted that she hasn’t been in touch with that part in so long that she doesn’t know what that means anymore. We were able to have a good discussion on what it means to be authentic and although it sounds simple, it is not. We are taught from early on in life that we need to conform and fit in with social norms. Many of us have been taught that it is better to put other’s needs before our own. We learn to live life from the outside in. We look into other people’s eyes for approval and feel disappointed or upset when others fail to give us what we feel we are deserving of. We live life trying to please others and feel happy when others return the favor and resentful when they don’t. When we are living this way we are not in touch with our authentic part. We are living from our ego, where we are judging, critical and comparing ourselves to everyone around us in order to know where we fit in.
There is a different way to live and it is by being authentic. When we are authentic we are at peace with ourselves. We do things for other people because we have made a choice for ourselves that we are going to live by being kind, compassionate and caring to others. When we decide that we are going to practice living from a place of love instead of a place of fear and comparison, we decide that we are living for ourselves. Choosing to live life from a place of love is to choose to live authentically. Taking action looks different when it is from a place of love. We choose to do things for other people because it makes us feel good to do it, instead of thinking about what we will be able to get in return. We choose to give and act graciously towards others, because we understand that we are all doing our best in life and sometimes we will fall short of where we would like to be. Every action that we take is an opportunity to learn and grow. When we recognize that we didn’t act from a place of love we give ourselves loving compassion to know that we will do better next time and then practice that when we have the opportunity. Actually living and defining our lives by our actions is taking the steps needed for us to identify who we truly are. Walking the walk is the action that defines and creates our authentic self. So get up and take some action!