To Tap into Our True Authenticity, We Have to Do Some Work

Older couple takes bike ride in tree-lined park. Both are smiling happilyDo you know what you need to do in order to feel authentically rooted, connected, and tuned into who you are?

If you answered, “Yes,” good for you!

It must be said, though, that knowing what to do and actually using this knowledge to take action are two separate things.

We can have an inner sense of knowing of what we “need” to do in order to get a certain feeling or result in our lives. But many of us get stuck in the process of following through. But inner knowing without an accompanying action doesn’t seem to equal a huge result. This can be a really frustrating place in which to live.

The reality is that many of the people I work with in therapy come to me knowing exactly what actions, thoughts, and perspectives they “need” to face, stop avoiding, or simply start practicing in order to quiet or change their experience of suffering, frustration, or pain.

In order to get into action mode and get yourself back on track toward connection and true authenticity, it’s necessary to get your gusto back. When we feel recharged and are living in our truth, we are then most likely to be able to use our natural ability to see things more clearly and make better decisions for our life.

Not sure how to tap back into your truth? Consider the suggestions below.

Do What You Love

Doing the things you love on a consistent basis can help you feel more fulfilled and balanced in your life. The things we choose to fill our time with with absolutely impact our moods, experiences, the people we come across, and our overall feelings about our life. I understand that things like time, expenses, family responsibilities, and so on can act as blocks. Take traveling, for example. Factors such as money, time, arrangements, and availability all need to align before we can consider planning a trip.

If it isn’t possible to spend a week in France, consider making a day trip to a more local destination or having a “staycation” in your own city. There’s always a way to get out of your routine and create feelings of adventure to mimic a travel experience. If you do your best to bring the things you love into your everyday life, you may be surprised at just how much of a difference this makes.

Surround Yourself with People Who Fill You Up

The company you keep, without a doubt, will and does rub off on you. The people you surround yourself with consistently can become a representation of you. You get to pick the personal relationships in your life, and I encourage you to choose wisely. Sometimes fear can keep us in relationships that are not serving us. It may be difficult to consider the potential loneliness that might occur as a result of ending these relationships, but getting to a point where we can enjoy your own company enough to tolerate the gaps in times of transition can allow for a whole new level of relational bliss.

When we are able to tolerate temporary aloneness and hold out for relationships that are mutually fulfilling, while trusting that good people are coming, our patience and trust is likely to be rewarded. We get what we think we deserve. We also get what we give. It can be helpful to keep these two concepts in mind while choosing the people we spend our time with.

Make Space for Yourself

It’s common for many of us in this plug-in-and-go-go-go world to be chronically “busy.” I know more people who never stop, who appear to always be going than people who mindfully give themselves adequate time to regroup, recharge, and just be. So often we’re afraid of what will come up and jump out at us when we finally have a moment or two of quiet.

Can you tolerate the thought of an hour, an evening, or a weekend of just your own company? Arriving at a place in life where we enjoy, perhaps even look forward to or set aside this kind of alone time can be an important step in the direction of true authenticity.

I find it interesting how many of us will tolerate or create certain types of situations and experiences in order to avoid being with ourselves. We create drama, or we stay in dramatic situations. We create things to do while ignoring the bodily clues that we are exhausted and ready for rest. We make back-to-back plans in order to keep our anxiety at bay and ensure we will “have something to do” or “somewhere to be.” What would we happen if we didn’t have something to do? If we didn’t have anywhere to be? That’s a question many of us fear on getting to the bottom of.

Can you tolerate the thought of an hour, an evening, or a weekend of just your own company? No plans with anyone, no planned entertainment. Does the thought of this bring up some discomfort for you? If so, it might be helpful to consider why. Arriving at a place in life where we enjoy, perhaps even look forward to or set aside this kind of alone time can be an important step in the direction of true authenticity. Consider embarking on this personal experiment for yourself, even if it does make you a bit uncomfortable at first. After all, it is in the discomfort that we can begin to grow.   

Connect with Others

Having a sense of community is of great importance, especially today. We live in an interesting time. On one hand, technology allows us to connect with others instantly and maintain a constant awareness of what everyone in our lives, or even the greater world, is doing. Yet at the same time we may experience a persistent sense of disconnect and isolation. We now, more than ever before, are notified when acquaintances are getting married, having a baby, or graduating from college. Social media and e-mail catch-ups often highlight the things that are going well in the lives of others, but we don’t have the full picture. If we are consistently updated with others’ successes, we may sometimes feel as if we are missing out. Thus, this greater “connection” can lead us to feel alone than ever.

Feeling connected to the people and environment around you is an instinctual human desire. It’s connected to our survival. It’s healthy. But I encourage you to do your best to make sure you’re putting yourself out there in your surrounding physical world and making an effort to connect with the people who are in this world. Taking a few extra moments to connect, even a little, with others in your community—in your neighborhood, at your office, at the grocery store, while picking your child up from school—during your day can help you feel more connected to the world at large.

We Make Our Own Experiences

Getting rooted (or remaining rooted) in who you are helps create a solid foundation for your life. It dictates how you show up and feel, which is generally reflected in the life you create. You are an artist, making your own experience. When you’re creating from a place where you feel authentically connected to who you are, your life, as a result, will be that much richer.

Maybe we’re scared. Maybe we’re comfortably uncomfortable. Maybe we have a convincing and rational story of why we don’t do that one thing that would, most likely, change our situation for the better and shed some much-needed light on our lives. There often are multiple mind-made reasons that keep us from feeling more peaceful with ourselves and living more fulfilling lives.

I absolutely relate. I think many of us can, for we are all human, after all. And I don’t claim to have the answers, certainly not for anyone but myself. But here is something I recently experienced on my latest trip to Tulum, Mexico.

In Tulum I spent time doing activities in an environment that filled me up personally on many levels. My days consisted of exploring the underwater world, eating great food, being around friendly people, adventuring with camera in hand, diving, biking, walking and swimming. My soul was fed from this constant engagement with the things I love. I realized how very connected I felt to who I was as I spent time doing the things that truly awakened my spirit and sense of aliveness.

As a result, I felt powerful, connected to myself, excited for things to come, confident in what the future might bring my way and—as cheesy as it may sound—a lot of love. All because I was tapping into my true heart’s desire.

The simple lesson I took from my experience was this: Put yourself in environments that are filled with what wakes you up. Go toward the activities, people, and surroundings that speak to you. You don’t have to travel to tap into what lights you up. It’s available to you now. It’s just a matter of searching and finding the people, places, and things in your own environment that you feel connected and tapped into.

It’s been easy to avoid “doing the work” by waiting for your next trip, or your next encounter, to awaken these feelings. Deep down, though, I know I can find the people, environments, and moments I need to be able to live my “real life” more fully, here in my life now.

You can, too! If you’d like to explore more about how to make this happen in your life, I encourage you to reach out to a therapist or counselor who can help.

© Copyright 2018 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Kim Egel, MA, MFT, therapist in Cardiff, California

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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