“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.” – Carl Jung
Last week I briefly mentioned the importance of mindfulness in making decisions from a position of clarity and authenticity. I did my #Tuesdaytip this week on being mindfully authentic and today I want to go into more detail. One of the most important life lessons I have had to date is that of being myself. It sounds easy but in reality there are years of ‘shoulds’ and ‘what ifs’ to acknowledge. This isn’t about giving ourselves more work to do but about removing the expectations we set ourselves and living a more effortless and satisfying existence.
Why choose authenticity?
When you live your life authentically you feel fulfilled and happy. Giving yourself permission to be happy based on what is real, as opposed to what we think/feel is a gift, not only for yourself but for those around you also. Mindfulness is noticing what is real and acknowledging and allowing what isn’t; it provides you with the space to take a step back from self-directed judgments and observe your authentic thoughts, feelings, and values with openness and acceptance. Lots of people say mindfulness is about letting go, but my observation would be that first you have to let it be.
Using mindfulness to live more authentically
How do you know when you are truly leading an authentic life? Many people experience a subjective sense of authenticity in life when their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are all in harmony. If you want to live more authentically, in the present moment rather than getting caught up in the expectations we set ourselves then these five tips will help:
- You cannot solve thoughts with more thoughts. Einstein once said “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” By being curious about our thoughts and allowing them to come and go without judgement (and so more thinking) we are able to observe instead of react. In these observations and in the stillness we find insights.
- Stay in the not knowing. It’s ok to admit that you don’t know – to yourself and/or to others. Sometimes it feels uncomfortable not to know something – that’s ok too. What I have learnt through coaching others is that actually, we do know…the answer is always inside, we aren’t always aware of it though. In acknowledging we don’t know we can remain open to all of the possibilities available to us.
- Listen to your wisdom. We all have it – wisdom, intuition or gut feeling but we don’t always hear it amongst all of the other noise around us. Whether you go for a walk, meditate or take a moment to reflect over a cup of tea we can create the stillness we need to listen to our own wisdom.
- Be open to spontaneity. We love to plan and project scenarios. I do it all the time and I get caught up in my imagination of what will happen if I do x or y. However, when I am at my most creative it comes from being open to whatever is going to happen next – rather than trying to force it. When you don’t know what to do, stay present and ask yourself the simple question ‘what next?’ (or even better, just flow with it).
- You are enough. Remember when we get caught up in the ‘shoulds’ and thinking/feeling we are not enough it is us who create those thoughts. Those thoughts are not real. You are always enough. I was talking with someone about this yesterday – you are always doing the best you can with the information you have. As you receive new information you may/may not change – that is your choice.