There are so many competing demands on us, and so many powerful messages to succeed and fit into the world. Many of us have so much, yet we continue to be wildly unhappy, and depression, stress and anxiety levels are high. Living an authentic life is a key part of changing this. It does not mean everything is perfect. It means you know who you are and are comfortable with that, which strengthens your ability to deal with whatever life throws at you. Being stuck in a story of your life that is saturated in fear is the best pathway to unhappiness. Choosing to be inauthentic will cripple you. Do you struggle with fear? Embrace your vulnerability and discover why authenticity is vital to your happiness.
I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
When I quit my job and started my own charity and online counselling service in 2001, I was FULL of fear. I did not see myself as a Entrepreneur, I was taking a step away from the vast fear of staying where I was, to a vulnerable place of where I wanted to go. I embraced my vulnerability and my fears and chose to go my own way. Flick to 2016 and Entrepreneur is the buzzword of the moment – everyone is starting something, or so it seems. Glamorous and successful people fill our airwaves, most of them ordinary people who appear to have discovered some secret recipe to success. But have they really? Or is it more about knowing who you are and what is holding you back?
When you were at school did you fit in to any particular group? You know those terrible preppy movies about the nerds vs the jocks? Or the pretty girls vs the smart ones? I was always “different” or so it seemed to me. I experienced a feeling of being on the outside for most of my growing up, and a fear of not fitting in. It was only when I realised that there is no place to fit, that this changed for me. I started to celebrate my unique self and become more vulnerable in the process.
In recent months I have been taught even more powerful lessons by my first real experiences of online bullies. I won’t call them trolls as they were more than annoying pranksters, and more like big balls of angry, jealous, sad, mean and nasty messes – they were out to try and destroy me with total bullshit, all for the sake of their own ego. At first I had the same knee jerk reaction of my youth – fears around needing to prove they were wrong about me, that I needed people to like me and could not face the biggest horror of all – others believing this rubbish being spread about me. My vulnerability factor was enormous. This was exacerbated by a prior experience in my late teens of a violent relationship – where this man made up awful things about me and I spent my days trying to prove he was wrong. But as the weeks wore on, their grip on my life became less and less, and in fact, I felt enlightened. I embraced my vulnerability and this started to allow me to make choices.
It reminded me of this:
Not everyone will like you and that is ok
This fear of people not liking me, or needing to fit in, was washed away by these sad individuals holding so much fear they have to go around the world trying to crush others.
Underpinning many of our actions are fears like this. Fears are there to protect you from some past experience, thoughts or feelings. Fear can be helpful, but it can also be crippling. Knowing what those fears are, being vulnerable and facing them head on with your authenticity, will enable you to stand up and go in the direction that you desire.
Authenticity is a choice we make every day. You can choose and practice it. This brings vulnerability and difficult emotions and thoughts, but it is here where you will find the joy of life. Be open to your personal vulnerabilities and you will find your authenticity. In this space you will find true happiness, joy, love and belonging, and not the kind that you find in a teenage movie.
Do you choose authenticity?