To thine own self be true. -W. Shakespeare, Polonius in Hamlet
As members of modern society and pop culture, we have an obsession with living an authentic life. What does it mean to live authentically and in alignment, anyway?
When meeting with clients for the first time, I ask them this question: “Who are you?” I receive responses and phrases like, “I’m a dad of three… I’m a business owner… I run a multi-million dollar consulting firm…” and so on. As our work progresses, I’ll ask the question again, and the responses to this question change drastically given the nature of our work together.
Living in alignment, or living authentically, requires that we know who we are. When we don’t know who we are, what we stand for, or what our intentions are during our short time here on this earth, we are living in an aimless pursuit of happiness. We get lost. We think we should pursue happiness, but that leads to empty bouts of project pursuits. If we want to live a fulfilling life – not just simply a happy life – we need to know the answer to the question, Who am I? But before we can answer this question, we have to learn to take off our masks.
How can you tell if you’re wearing a mask?
- You feel restless. When you’re not happy with what you’re doing, don’t understand why the weekdays just crawl by, you know the feeling of being restless. You’re rarely in the moment, and want to move from A to B before others know you were even at A. You make purchases frequently that leave you feeling emptier than you did to start. You get bored easily.
- You feel out of place. You find yourself holding your tongue often. You feel exhausted after spending time with others. You know what feels good, but it feels like you’re forcing yourself to be where you are now. You do it to serve your family or because that’s what’s expected of you, but it just doesn’t feel good. You dread going to work, seeing friends, or mingling with your coworkers.
- You second guess yourself. You find yourself holding your tongue – a lot. You’re never really sure what you want to say, or whether it’s a good idea to say it. You have magical moments of genius, but squash them down because they’re not realistic enough. You hear a lot of noise, and it gets so confusing to make decisions. Speaking of decisions, it probably takes you a really long time to make small decisions, like deciding which box of cereal to buy.
If any of the above sounds like you, it may be that you haven’t been so honest with yourself. Are you just going through the motions, because you’re expected to behave a certain way? You live your life the way you’re supposed to – because that’s just what everyone else does? Don’t wait till you’ve wasted your life wearing a mask. Eventually it gets stifling, but you learn to live with it anyway. And that’s the greatest tragedy in life. In fact, it’s the number one regret people have on their deathbeds. You may be living with that mask on because someone once told you life was supposed to be hard.
If you haven’t been living authentically – true to yourself – I invite you to take the first step to walking away from that life. Ask yourself, Who am I? Not what defines you on paper, but who you really are. When I ask myself that same question, the resounding words, Bold, Vibrant, and Visionary, ring in my ears. Write yours down, and remind yourself to look at them every day. Don’t forget that you are the creator of your life – you get to choose who to be in this world. Don’t give that power to others. You’re the protector of your dreams, and in order to live your dreams, you have to start by taking off that mask.
Contact Me if you want to connect with your family and community authentically.
Your life is your gift. Don’t waste it. #SingularPresence
Photo courtesy of @whmii