What it means to be Authentic and Live an Authentic Life

choose-authenticity-in-a-marketing-agency.jpgLife is a journey of exploration and discovery with plenty obstacles to overcome, living one’s full potential in life remains quite elusive. Yet, this is only the first step toward living an authentic life.  Living an authentic life offers an opportunity to discover your goals and objectives. This often manifests by defining a path that is true to who you are and who you are about to become.

Many people who live an inauthentic life, live a life that is incompatible if not inconsistent with their values, abilities and desires. Because of this, they have strayed-off the path to discovering their true selves and real purpose in life. This is what it is like to live life inauthentic. It is a life simply hollow, incomplete and out-of-sync with oneself.

What does it mean to live an authentic life?

According to Brian Goldman, a renowned psychologist, authenticity is the unhindered operation of one’s true self in their daily enterprise. In his understanding, Goldman asserts that authenticity hold within it two very critical aspects:

  • Self-knowledge
  • Self-awareness

Essentially speaking, authentic people accept themselves for who they are. Like everyone else, such people have strengths and weaknesses. What makes them stand out is their ability to identify their strengths and at the same time seek to better their weaknesses. Being authentic is simply about connecting with one’s values, desires and abilities. Being authentic liberates one from the pressures of trying to be someone else; trying to be perfect.

Lame Deer is a Native American philosopher well-known for his work on human psychology. According to Deer, an authentic life is devoid of self-deprecation. He suggests that most people fall-short-of living authentically merely because they can’t stand their natural animal selves. Think of how people wear perfumes and deodorants to conceal their true smell. Or come to think of how people use cosmetic products and procedures to hide their true selves. Together with the various roles we undertake in the unending cycles of production and consumption as humans we remain detached from our true self and with nature itself. That is according to Lame Deer.

Authenticity in life is summarized by these two simple yet critical ingredients. In fact, self-knowledge and self-awareness defines who we are as humans. Understanding these two is just about all you need to live authentically.

Self-knowledge and self-awareness

At its very outset, authenticity begins when we commit our intentions to genuineness. A willingness to act genuine even when it feels most vulnerable. It comes with an ease of decision making in life; freedom to pick and choose on aspects that one relates very well with in as far as values and desires in life are concerned. This is in fact what it means to make unpopular decisions and choices in life. This is what it means to come to terms with some aspects that often people choose to hide away from, but which are integral parts of us. Self-knowledge and self-awareness are the building blocks of an authentic life. They make us live more honest if not engaged lives.

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Definitive characteristics of authentic persons

Living an authentic life never comes easy. In fact, research surveys suggest that most humans across civilizations live inauthentic lives. Of course there are more than enough reasons for the same. That aside, the following are some aspects that may help you single out individuals who are actually living authentic:

  • Resilience: living authentic life comes with an inherent ability to rise up to the challenge whenever one falls.
  • Purposefulness: being authentic implies having an intended purpose in life. In other words having set objectives in life.
  • Being goal-oriented: authentic people have some set goals to accomplish. They have targets in life and strive hard to realize them. In so doing, they remain steadfast and focused throughout their endeavors.

How to live authentic

Living authentic come with sacrifices as well as compromises. It calls for a complete overhaul of the past in favor of a fresh and new perspective to life. The following hints will get you started:

  • Open mindedness
  • Redefinition of values
  • trust your intuition

Open mindedness

Being open minded is the cornerstone of authenticity. Be open to ideas and be sure to experience a whole new perspective of everything this life has to offer. Authenticity never flourishes in closed and rigid minds. In fact, it fades into insignificance. Such minds never hatch brilliant ideas and such people are fated to remain average for life. Well, this is less about an opinion than a fact of life.

Redefinition of values

This is about getting clear on what you dare to care about. Holding tight on the very values we grew up with is common place in most societies. Some of these values and traditions may clash with what we in fact stand for as values. This puts authenticity in jeopardy. In brief, it is impossible to live authentically if one knows not the very values that they stand for and uphold.

Trust your intuition

Whenever one acts inauthentic, intuitively they feel out-of-sync with who they actually are and what values they stand for. Intuition is about those hunches, physical sensations and even the impressions that come alongside the actions we undertake in life. Intuition instinctively shocks us back to our senses whenever we act contrary to what we stand for in life. Intuition guards us from straying far of the true path of authenticity.

Discovering who we actually are is but a continuous process. It is more like a journey than a destination, where we keep unfolding bits and pieces of ourselves as we move along. It is the beginning of being authentic and living authentic.

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Effective Goal Setting

Setting goals for your life is something that is so important. It can be very difficult to decide in which direction you want to take things, but it is very important that you set goals in order to achieve some sort of direction. Goals help keep your life structured and constantly moving forward. But how do you effectively set your goals?

Challenge yourself.

Goals should challenge you to make changes and better your life. Goals can be small or big, but they should present a hurtle that your need to jump over. Your goals should require you to expand your mind and push yourself to work hard to make your life the happiest it can be.

Make goals attainable.

It is important that your goals are not only challenging but realistic. Your goals should be something that you can achieve in a reasonable amount of time that you set. For example, setting a goal to complete a 4 year university program in 2 years or owning a house withing a year when you do not have a stable full time job really isn’t realistic. Instead, setting the goal to graduate within the time your supposed to or perhaps finding a job that gives the right amount of pay and hours to get ready to buy that house.

Find ways to stay motivated.

Staying motivated is one of the biggest challenges of attaining goals. Achieving what you want out of life is hard work, and at times it can see impossible. You need to find ways to keep yourself on your path towards your goals and there are lots of ways that you can do that. Finding a way to treat yourself is so important to help keep you motivated. Maybe you just need a quiet night in with a good book, or a night out with your friends. Whatever is a good way for you to wind down and give yourself a break from the hard work.

Keep your goals fluid and accept change. 

Lives change regularly, and sometimes our goals need to change right along with them. Lots of things can happen unexpectedly and you need to prepare yourself for that chance that you might need to change your direction. The best way you can do that is to continue to be open to new experiences and embrace all that life has to offer you. It is not considered a failure to change your goals, but rather a successful way to reevaluate your life.

You can do anything that you set your mind to, but you need to set goals to get there. Being effective at goal setting will help you get things done and keep you going in the right direction. Set your goals and start working towards a happier and healthier life today.

Why Keeping Score Doesn’t Work In Relationships

Keeping score is detrimental to relationships, and it will often end up killing them completely. But why do people keep score in the first place?

Well, it is often because it is a learned behaviour. Our parents are often our very first role models for relationships, and how they functioned together can say a lot about how our future relationships play out. If your parents kept score, chances are you will as well. Keeping score in your relationships will not only end in heartache, but it is a completely exhausting and unnecessary practice. It is also modeled in a lot of other dysfunctional relationships that we can find ourselves in (friendships, professional relationships, and other family relationships).

It is true that you should be getting back what you put into a relationship, but the meaning behind this is oftentimes misunderstood. This does not mean that you should be spending as much money as your partner, or doing nice things in equal amounts. It means that you and your partner should be doing things for each other and working towards the common goal of happiness and fulfillment in relationship (not working against each other). When things are truly even in a relationship, there is no need to keep score.

Here are some things to keep in mind, and to help you to break the habit of keeping score in your relationship:

Love is not a competition. Being in love with someone and having a relationship is not a “you vs. them” situation. Relationships are a partnership, and keeping score makes it a competition. It is important to recognize that you are not playing for opposing teams, but for the same team. Working together is how we overcome the challenges and struggles in a relationship.

Keeping score builds resentments. If one partner feels that they are putting far more into it then they are getting back out, resentment will start to build. Resentments can start out small, but they will morph into a general dislike towards your partner. Functioning in a relationship where love and mutual happiness is no longer the main goal is nearly impossible.

People need to give and take different amounts at different times during a relationship.Relationships cannot always be perfectly balanced. One partner may need a bit extra emotional support from their partner at one point, and these positions will switch back and forth throughout the course of the relationship. The important thing is that overall you will be getting back as much as you put in, it may just be at a different time or in a different situation.

Scoring is different for everyone. What you hold in high value, may be something totally different for your partner. You and your partner may value different things, making it impossible to keep an accurate “score”. This will just cause more problems than it solves and it is not something that can be changed, as values are a part of your core being.

The best thing that you can do for your relationship is to stop taking inventory of what you are doing for each other, and take a good hard look at what you and your partner want for each other. If the end goal is not mutual happiness and fulfillment, it is certainly time to re-evaluate just how invested the two of you are in the relationship. Don’t keep score, instead, live each day working towards a happy and healthy relationship.

Making a Strong Support System

Having a support system when you are in recovery from addiction is so important. With a support system you are much more likely to be successful in recovery, and work towards other goals that you have set for yourself. Your support network can be made up of professionals, family members, friends, as well as mentors from places like AA or NA. A good support person is so much more than just helping you maintain a positive attitude. Listed below are some of the other qualities that a good support person should have:

 Stability. People in your support system should also be stable themselves. Your addiction may have had a serious effect on them as well, so it is important that they are seeking out the help that they need. It is also important that they are not currently abusing drugs, and are sure in their own recovery (if they are recovering from their own addiction). Part of stability is also helping you maintain a safe space to live and stay. This means that there should be no drugs and as few triggers as possible while you are working through your recovery.

 Understanding of recovery and relapse prevention. It is very difficult to be supportive of a process that they don’t understand, so it is important that the people in your support network are educated about addiction, recovery, and relapse prevention. The best person to educate them about your needs and triggers is you. It is critical that you explain what sorts of situations/things are triggering for your cravings and what they can do during difficult times in order to help get you through. It is also important that they understand their role in your relapse prevention. It is important that you communicate what you need from them and they need to be comfortable in the role that they are taking on so that they can remain an asset to you and a good support when you need it the most.

 Ability to be part of a team. Supporting someone through recovery takes much more than just one person. It is often times a team of people that are supporting and providing different types of support to the person in recovery. The people that you choose to be part of your support system need to be able to work together and be trusted to keep their personal issues out of the way. You may need everyone to come together at one time or another, which is why making sure they can get along and work together is so important. If two or more people in your chosen support system just don’t get along, you personally need to decide whether or not it is worth it having that as a part of your recovery. Needless disagreements and arguing can really take the focus off of you and your recovery, and put that attention on things that are really not worth it. 

People so often forget just how important it is to have a strong support system throughout the recovery process. The individuals that you choose to be part of this support system can make or break you during the very first stages of your recovery, and this is why it is imperative that you think long and hard about what you need and who you think would be able to provide that need to you. A good support person will always be there when you need them, and help keep you on track when you cannot do it yourself

Internet Dating

wmp__1299247966_iStock_000010264931XSmallInternet dating has become increasingly popular for people of all ages. There seems to be a site for just about any type of relationship or partner you might be looking for, and it is not uncommon for some to be subscribed to more than one. The effectiveness of each site can vary widely from user to user, but more often than not there are several horror stories associated with internet dating. From people not being what they claim to be, or horrible matches in general, dating via the internet can be very hit or miss. The experience is really what you make it, and internet dating can be a great experience.

Internet dating has changed how many people view dating in general. Many sites try and take the guess work out of meeting people, matching you with people that are best suited for you based on their parameters. How well do these parameters work? It varies because it largely depends on people being completely honest with the answers to their questions. Deception is a big part of internet dating for some people. It may be the excitement of getting away with the lies, or perhaps they are just not confident enough in their own personality to attract others. Sorting out the lies from the truth can be a difficult task, but it is usually best to go with your gut if you get a bad feeling about someone.

Safety is so important when it comes to internet dating. You never know who you could run into on the internet, and you certainly don’t know how honest they are being with you. Here are just a few tips to keep you stock-footage-online-dating-computer-screen-conceptsafe.

Get to know them before you agree to meet. Too many times people rush into meeting someone they just met online. Ask the potential date questions past what their interests are. Asking them what they are passionate about and what their goals are can be a great way to give you an idea as to what type of partner they would be for you, and how their goals would mesh with yours.

Go with your gut feeling. Our instincts will very rarely lead us astray. If in your heart you do not think that this person is safe, a good match, or there is something “off” about them, go with your gut. Don’t put yourself in a situation that you do not trust.

Make your boundaries clear. This includes both physical and emotional boundaries. Not everyone is going to be comfortable or have the same boundaries as you. It is so important that you know that your date knows your limits and will not push things that you are firm on.

Meet somewhere public for a first date. This is just a suggestion, but it is the easiest way to keep yourself safe. Meeting someone for the first time can be extremely nerve racking but meeting in a neutral place around other people can put you both at ease. It will help keep you out of any unsavoury situations that could pop up.

Dating can be tricky. Finding someone that you connect with on all levels is not an easy feat. Internet dating has made connecting to new people much easier, but it is so important to protect yourself. Trust in your gut, and know that at the end of the day that each and every encounter is a chance to learn, grow, and prosper.

The Power of Affirmations

beliefs-and-affirmations-IIIt can be quite difficult sometimes to think of something positive about ourselves. At times, we are our own harshest critics. It is easier to point out our own flaws, than recognize the positive things about ourselves. It is so important that we can find the positive things about ourselves, developing our self-love.

shutterstock_132820748Self-love is something that many people struggle with, finding it hard to love and accept themselves for who they are. This can be because of a lifetime of being told that they aren’t good enough, trying to live up to impossible standards, and feeling like they have let people down when they don’t. There can be a lot of shame and guilt associated with insignificant failures, and they can be carried for years beyond the memory of the failure itself. These situations can take a serious toll on your well-being, namely your self-esteem and confidence, components that are essential to self-love.

Affirmations are a great way to boost self-esteem, confidence, and help you regain a sense of self-love. They are simple, easy to remember sayings that are meant to promote positive self-talk and remind you of just how great you really are. Affirmations are an easy way to remind yourself each and every day that there are so many great things about you. Affirmations can also be used to learn acceptance and move past some of the mistakes we might have made. Below are just a few examples.

I am worthwhile and intelligent. My contributions matter.daily_affirmations_giveaway_02

I am beautiful/handsome.

I love myself.

I forgive myself for the mistakes I have made.

I trust myself.

I can see the wonderful things that others see in me.

Coming up with your own affirmations will help making them more specific to yourself. Think about what you struggle to believe about yourself, and turn it into an affirmation. There is no reason for you to feel any less amazing than you are, and by taking a moment each day to remind yourself, you are building a path to a happier and healthier you.

Affirmations help remind us just how unique, capable, and special each and every one of us is. They lead us towards developing a better sense of self-love, contributing to a higher self-esteem and confidence level. Affirmations are extremely powerful and can help you change your outlook on yourself as well as your life. Next time you are feeling sad, scared, alone, or insignificant, remember just how amazing you are.

Social Media

So many of us are attached to our social media accounts. Whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or Instagram, many people are either checking or posting throughout the day. Photos, milestones, and our thoughts are the marks we leave on social media, but what kind of mark does it leave on us?facebook-addiction-590x202

Social media has a huge impact on many of our everyday interactions. Nowadays, it is hard to find someone who doesn’t engage with their friends and loved ones via some form of social media. It has become the go-to forum for expressing opinions, and sharing our lives with those around us. What we share sends a message to the world about who we are and what we are all about, defining us through our posts. This is why it is so important to be careful about what you share and who you share it with. It is helpful to take a second and think before posting. What would a future employer say about what he/she sees on your Facebook? What would a future partner say about you tweets? We don’t always consider the consequences of our actions on the internet, but it is much more important than it might initially seem.

Too often we see breakups and drama brought to the forefront of forums like Facebook and Twitter. Hurtful messages spewed out for the entire world to see. The unfortunate part is that often times the things that are being said would have never been said if it was a face-to-face conversation. It is hard for people to hold back from behind the keyboard, and it makes many people forget that there is a real person on the other iStock_000016401115XSmallend. There have been so many cases of destroyed relationships because of what has been said online, and much of it could have been prevented.

And what about the younger generations? They are growing up with social media as a central part of their lives. What impact is this going to have on the way that they interact with their peers? We are seeing younger and younger children logging onto places like Facebook, choosing to spend their time socializing with their friends via the internet rather than face-to-face. This also opens up the field to bullies and tormentors alike. Adolescence is such a trying time for any child, and it can be made harder by social media. We hear more and more about adolescents viciously attacking each other on social media, spreading rumours and hateful comments. Educating the younger generations about responsibly using social media is a great way to work on issues like bullying.

Facebook addictionSocial media is a very useful tool when used properly. It is great for networking and keeping in touch with those that may not be as close to us. But it is also a very powerful tool. It can make or break us in many important situations. We need to think about being respectful and sharing appropriately. It takes not more than a few moments to consider how our words could hurt someone on the other side. Remembering to treat those around us with love, respect and understanding, is an easy way to make social media more enjoyable for everyone.