Do you ever feel like you’re disconnected from your true self and having some sort of ‘out of body’ experience? That you don’t really know who you are any more? That instead of plain sailing, your day-to-day life has become disorientating, even a little numb and out of whack?
If this sounds familiar, fear not. You’re not alone! This confusing sense of not really knowing yourself, or what you want out of life is far more common that you think. According to Marcia Reynolds, an American coaching expert and columnist for The Huffington Post, there are literally millions of adult (and younger) women experiencing this malaise and embarking on what she calls a ‘mid-life quest’ in search of their identity.
As she puts it: “For smart, goal-driven women, a mid-life crisis isn’t about recovering lost youth. It’s about discovering the application of their greatness. The problem is that no one has defined what ‘greatness’ looks like so the quest has no specific destination. Having the goal of being great is as hard to define as it is to achieve. There is always the next great thing to master, which may leave them feeling incomplete. I have come to call this phenomenon the ‘Burden of Greatness.”
Does this statement resonate with you as much as it did with me!
If you stop and think about it, most of us grow up believing that by the time we hit our mid 30’s, we’d have it all figured out. We’d have the guy, the car, the education, the job, the kids, the gym membership – maybe even two vacations a year if we’re lucky. What a shock then to get there and realize that we’re still nowhere near as complete, sorted and sussed as we thought we would be. That we’re still dragging around a cart load of ‘baggage’ and have lost sight of what we truly want to be doing and who we are being.
To Thine Own Self Be True
So what does it mean to be your ‘authentic self’ and how can you set about being unabashedly true to yourself?
I want to answer this with a question. When somebody asks you, “Who are you?”, what’s your response? “I’m a Mum”. “I’m a MilSpouse”. “I’m a Tantric yoga teacher”. “I’m a part-time dog walker”. “I’m a budding, multi-passionate entrepreneur”.
Often the answer people give is not who they are, but what they do. They define and identify themselves by what I call an ‘outer label’. Or to put it another way as their ‘fictional self’ – the person the world has told them to be. Their identity is based on placing themselves in boxes and categories to other people as a result of their upbringing or circumstance. In this way their identity becomes bound-up with their ego and a set of labels. It’s all about the size of their pay cheque or job title or social status or political views or school they went to.
But none of these are WHO you are. The authentic YOU is the you that can be found at your absolute core. Like peeling the layers of an artichoke, you need to go deep, deep inside to find the answers. To patiently work your way through many layers before you get to the sweet, succulent, delicious heart of who you are. The part that isn’t defined by your job , function or role but by all the magnificent things that are uniquely yours and need expression. The quirky, the messy, the exuberant, the raw, the divine. The precious. The perfect. The imperfect.
This is the real, true, genuine substance of who you are.
The thing is that the more we live on the surface of life and our identity, the less we are in touch with our intuition, spirituality and deeper self. I know this only too well because this was the way I lived for many, many years. I suppressed my deepest desires. I wasn’t living faithfully as my authentic self. I felt disconnected, angry and incomplete. I literally felt as though there was a hole in my soul.
How to Re-Connect With Your Authentic Self: An Exercise
Living from a place of authenticity involves being deliciously rooted in your most heartfelt values, beliefs and truth and living a life that is a genuine reflection of them. It’s about being utterly honest with yourself and congruent through your thoughts, words and actions.
Every moment you make a choice to align with the truth of who you are, you’re making tiny little steps towards your authentic self. That’s how you blossom and begin the journey of living a life beyond your wildest dreams!
Follow These Steps!
#1. Get clear about your core values and beliefs. [f you’re not sure what they are, I’d strongly recommend you hire a professionally qualified Life Coach or NLP Practioner. They’ll help guide you through a process to identity them.]
#2. Next, try this exercise! Imagine you have a giant light bulb directly above your head and that, when you are doing the things that give you most joy and juice in life, it lights up! Big time! Then ask yourself these 3 questions: Who Am I? What do I most desire? What makes me feel most connected to my authentic self? Excavate how you want to feel in your skin, heart and career.
#3. Next ask yourself: What makes my light bulb radiant and shine? What turns it on? Make a list of what makes you FEEL most alive and inspired as well as motivated to contribute to the world in a meaningful way. What are the things that spontaneously bring a smile to your face; that fill you with energy, passion and enthusiasm? On the flip side, what diminishes its light?
#4. Once you’ve got the answers to these questions, start spending time working on yourself by prioritizing things that give you most bliss. Go get yourself a copy of Danielle LaPorte’s gorgeous. life-changing new book ‘The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul.’
#5. Everyday do a little more of what you really want to be doing and a little less of what you don’t want, until your ideal becomes what’s real!
So what about you? Share with us one new practice you can put in place in your everyday. Tell us when you feel most CONNECTED to your authentic self. The Spring is a magical time for new beginnings – make it happen! To begin your Self-Love Affair TODAY sign-up at www.theblisbible.com.
Love and artichokes,
Belinda Furneaux-Harris, founder of The Bliss Biz a cutting-edge Personal Growth Company, is a writer, motivational speaker, former corporate executive and award-winning Branding expert. Her weekly blogs and website http://www.theblissbible.com/ help connect, teach and inspire women around the world on the topic of Radical Self-Love. Her debut book – ‘The Bliss Bible: A Beautifully Practical Guide to Transforming Your Life from The Inside Out’ will be published in 2015.