I am writing this having just finished having a very authentic heartfelt conversation with a friend. A conversation that was hard as hell and made us both uncomfortable and sorrowful but a conversation that was standing in the way of our relationship. A conversation that needed to be had to move forward. The easier choice would have been to ignore the issue, to not speak up for my needs, or to totally ruin the relationship and “ghost out” without being honest. This, however, would not have fed into my desire to show my authenticity.
Every day we are each faced with the decision to step forward into our authentic selves or to stay in our inauthentic comfort zones. As humans, we can live inside our comfort zones and for the most part cruise through life growing only when it is necessary. We can wear our inauthentic daily masks, put smiles on our faces when we are unhappy, sit with resentments, and deny our desires. We can physically survive through this all but in the words of Albert Schweitzer; “The tragedy of life is not that we die, but is rather, what dies inside a man while he lives”. When we are not living our authentic life, then we are not really living but instead are dying.
Often food, sex and relationships are some of the most obvious places that suffer when we are not living authentically. They are also the areas that can bring the most joy and fulfillment in our lives when they are in alignment with our values.
Food: You may wonder how you can live authentically with food and may feel that the two have nothing to do with each other, however, they are actually connected. When we are not living our authentic lives, then we end up finding ways to fill those gaps and spaces that are hurting. This is when many people turn to food and begin eating foods that are also not in line with their values. If you value yourself, your spirit, and are living authentically, then you are going to feed your body in a manner that nourishes your spirit. When you are not living authentically, you are going to end up using food in unhelpful ways, and the food you are choosing most likely will not be feeding your soul.
Sex: This is one area that people find tough to be authentic. The general topic of sexuality is hard enough for many individuals but when you start getting personal and talk about how sex is for you as an individual most people end up hiding. Authentic sex is about first realizing what truly feels good to you and what you need personally and then ask for just that in the bedroom. It is telling your partner when they are not doing something the way you want it or when you want to try something new. It is about being truly connected with your body and your partner through the entire act. It is about not leaving away from desires and fantasies and also having boundaries when something is beyond your level of comfort. Authentic sex is owning your sexuality and not dampening it for others comfort but also not inflating it just to prove something to the world. It is about being right where you are with your sexing at the moment. This can be a scary process but one that can bring not only defect physical connections but also emotional connections to your life.
Relationships: From a very young age many of us learn to wear fake masks and hide our true feelings. This ends up bleeding into our daily relationships including intimate relationships and friendships. We as humans often want to be seen but yet are so lost in our missions that we can not seem to take them off long enough to let others see our true authentic selves. We are often afraid of what others will think of us or try to hide the “imperfections” with inauthenticity; We are afraid to be hurt. Alternately, you may constantly be trying to save the other person’s feelings and / or avoiding the “big” issues that will ever form a rift in the relationship. When we are not authentic in our relationships, we end up feeling empty, angry, sad, and resentful. We are left in a state of wanting and in inner turmoil. However, when we can be authentic, we are left feeling seen, heard, and loved and yet still able to stand strong in ourselves.
This inauthenticity includes the relationship with ourselves! We first need to be absolutely authentic with ourselves, our needs, wants, desires, dreams, and so forth. We can not try to live our authentic lives if we do not even know who we are authentically. Take off your masks for yourself and figure out who you are at your core. Take the time to figure that out, really evaluate your values, begin being authentic with yourself and then try to work on each of the three above areas. You will see major changes in your life and your life will begin to feel more congruent as a person.
It is not always the easiest path, but it is the most rewarding and the only way we really LIVE while we are on earth!
by Addison Bell