One of the most valuable gifts we can give ourselves is the freedom to be our authentic selves. There are many points of argument on what is the Authentic Self.
Some may say it is the freedom to be whatever they want to be...
Others say it is to be aligned with one's soul and to be that soul on earth without conforming to the pressures and cookie-cutter uniformity of society...
And there are others who say that being the Authentic Self is to be faithful to one's inner promptings at any one time.
I tend to think that being your Authentic Self is being whatever you think this means to you -- and taking responsibility for the consequences you have created through living life as this self.
I also think being your Authentic Self means being who you are uniquely meant to be and not trying to be someone else. There are just too many imitators out there who are completely compromising their own values, desires, likes, unique purpose and mission. Mind you, it does take courage to be your Authentic Self sometimes because it may not be what you want to be, from the ego's perspective.
The freedom to be authentic is a process -- the process is the price that one has to pay. It does not come cheaply because of the many hidden lessons and challenges but going through the process is highly rewarding.
Here are three steps towards building your freedom towards your Authentic Self:
1. Liking Yourself.
We all know that we have to love ourselves, that's a given. And we have read enough self-help books that teach us why and how to love ourselves.
But I think the biggest challenge really is LIKING ourselves. When we do not like ourselves, it is like being in the same room with someone we find offensive and we try to avoid making eye contact, and we do not want to be in the same space as the person.
When we do not like ourselves, we avoid looking at what we are doing in our lives and we live in denial of what really makes us happy. When we do not like ourselves, we accept what other people say and do as our own truth because we have stopped listening to what we truly like and love. When we do not like ourselves, we may not even know it -- this is without a doubt challenging unless we are prepared to practice self-awareness and inner introspection.
2. Accepting Your Path/Life Without Comparison.
One of the fatal mistakes people make is feeling like a victim in their chosen path. I have heard people complaining about their path and they start comparing themselves with others. The temptation to follow someone else's path becomes inevitable when one is unhappy with themselves. And so they live in misguidance.
To be true to yourself, it is necessary to work within, to move through the inner transformation and one's true path will be revealed and the passion and fire within will fuel all actions one undertakes.
3. Accepting Your Flaws And Making Them Work For You, Rather Than Against You.
I think human beings in general are afraid to see their own flaws. They think admitting to their own flaws is a failure.
The reality is admitting to your own flaws and being brave enough to see them take courage. The more one tries to cover one's flaws, the more obvious they become. But if a person is not obsessed about their flaws but is willing to admit and see them as they are, one's flaws can easily be turned into a strength. For eg. in my own story, there was once a lady who knew that I was highly dependent on alcohol before I became a spiritual teacher/mentor, she 'threatened' to expose me labelling me as a fraud. I did not intentionally want to hide my past story but I realised that I had to 'expose' myself and share my own story before she did!
And it worked for me, it became my strength, and it actually gave me credibility as people saw that I have been there and done that and I knew what I was talking about in the area of being a transformational coach! So ironically this lady taught me the importance of being my authentic self!
The most important thing about being your Authentic Self is that it gives you a sense of freedom that nothing else in the world can give you, and you certainly cannot buy this freedom.
First published in ©2018, edited in ©2022
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Shamala Tan is an author, spiritual entrepreneur and healer. Her work focuses on transforming the lives of others on the spiritual, emotional, mental and earthly levels.
Shamala’s clients include small business owners, holistic practitioners as well as those seeking to find more significant meaning and value in life. Shamala offers laser coaching to her clients on a one-to-one basis or in a group environment, offline as well as online.