In my new book, Live True, I say that it’s a lot harder to be who we aren’t, than who we are. Living falsely; meaning, being who we’re not is because we’re afraid to reveal ourselves, and if we showed people who we really are, we won’t be loved.
The authentic self is the “real deal”, the “genuine substance”, the “real McCoy”, and anything other than that is false and untrue. If you’ve been inauthentic to yourself, it’s probably made you unhappy, and you may not even know why, and it might take a very long time to wake up to the reality that you’re living a life that doesn’t feel honest, and you don’t know how that happened.
As I say in Live True:
Mindfulness helps us not forget who we are. It keeps us present and aware, and if, or when we might feel an impulse to be inauthentic, it reminds us immediately that falseness of any kind feels wrong with every fiber of our being.
When we’re mindful, we have heightened awareness, and with heightened awareness it’s hard to be dishonest with ourselves. It’s like having an inner lie detector, or truth barometer that goes off inside us, and makes it almost impossible not to pay attention to it. Even if someone is suggesting what we should do, or who we should be, we get a signal loud and clear that no one can decide who we are, and only we can determine our authenticity.
Basically, Mindfulness doesn’t let you escape yourself, unless you choose to hide who you really are, and if so, being present with honesty is something you will avoid. If that’s what you find yourself doing, ask what you have to gain from that. Why keep trying to avoid or escape the real you? Isn’t that taxing or exhausting? It takes a lot of energy to keep up a false image of yourself, which is like always having a mask or a disguise on, but once you surrender to your most authentic self; you can feel so much lighter, and most likely relieved to let the burdens of deception go.
Mindfulness will always keep you connected to, and on top of what is going on with you, and everything around you. And when you’re present, you’re more connected to your truth, and when you’re connected to your truth, you live honestly. It works seamlessly with your true nature because you’re functioning as you are meant to; honestly, naturally, and in the complete flow of who you really are.
And, when you practice Mindfulness, you are not a harsh critic, but instead what I call a “constructive advisor.” This means you’re guiding or counseling yourself productively, and what you’re telling yourself is useful and constructive. Honesty, when used aggressively, or meanly towards oneself, is not honesty, but unkindness, or even cruelty. Don’t mistake one for the other. Honesty is not meant to hurt, but to help. And, if what you’re telling yourself isn’t helping you, then stop telling yourself whatever it is that’s making you feel bad or horrible about yourself, and start supporting your authentic self with advice that can truly help you strive to be your most conscious self. This means telling yourself only things that support you being the best version of your authentic self.Even if you’re putting your focus and awareness on areas you would genuinely like to change or improve, then do it consciously.
Living authentically means you’re being honest with yourself, and your honesty is what you have to live with. Even if you take a step back from it out of fear or insecurity, or for whatever reasons, know that you can step right back into the flow of your deepest “authentic truth” which is the greatest honesty to realize.
Ora Nadrich is founder and president of the Institute for Transformational Thinking and author of "Says Who? How One Simple Question Can Change the Way You Think Forever". A certified life coach and mindfulness teacher, she specializes in transformational thinking, self-discovery, and mentoring new coaches as they develop their careers.