We spend so much time in life trying to please everyone else and fit in the boxes of society that before we know what is happening, we often find ourselves living a life that doesn’t feel like our most authentic life.
You know how it goes… One day we sort of look at where we are, at our jobs, friends, hobbies, or place of living and have this overwhelming feeling of how did I get here?!
It was years before I realized I was not living an authentic life.
I know for me, I’ve had dozens of those moments over the course of my 38-years on the planet. When I was smack in the middle of my addiction and I was strung out, broke, homeless, and suicidal, I was baffled as to how the hell I had gotten myself to that point. At another point in my late twenties, I was slaving away as a bartender and server (which I loathed), I was going to RN school, I was traveling (which was my escape), and I was in a relationship with a decent guy but it felt as though we were playing house or something. The life just didn’t fit me.
I wasn’t miserable, but I wasn’t happy and fulfilled either. And that was a hard truth to swallow. Outwardly, I had everything most people could want. A loving partner whom I had a lot of fun with, a sweet house a couple miles from the blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico, loving dogs, a whole bunch of friends, money in the bank, a 4.0 GPA in a very competitive nursing school, and all the freedom to do what I wanted.
None of it mattered.
I still walked away from all of it to get high because the external stuff can’t fix the internal pain. Nothing I did fulfilled me because I didn’t even know who I was or what I wanted. I had spent my entire life trying to gain everyone else’s approval since the time I was a child.
Early on it was my Dad who I wanted to tell me I was enough. My Mom was pretty loving, but that didn’t do it for me. I needed it from the one place I wasn’t getting it. Then it was my sister. After that, friends and teachers. On and on it went until I found myself lost and alone on the edge of death, which was not my most authentic life!
I had spent decades suppressing my authentic self because I believed that there was something wrong with who that was. (We could go on and on about the psychology of the shame dynamic and where it came from but that’s not what this article is about.) Naturally, this resulted in me trying to fit into the world’s idea of who and what I should be. No one told me that I could just be Lindsay and that would be okay.
When we never take the time to find out who we are, how can we know what the hell we want? We can’t! And this is exactly what we’re seeing play out on a large scale in the world today. We are seeing massive internal disconnection manifesting outwardly in the form of addiction, depression, aggression, violence, and oppression to name a few.
5 major signs you are not living your authentic life:
- Addiction/compulsion is a pattern for you. This stems from the pain that arises from living inauthentically. When we are existing in a life that does not fill us up, and we’re selling ourselves out to fit in someone else’s mold, it causes deep pain. On a soul level. We also feel out of control which fuels compulsions because that’s the only way we feel like we have any control.
- Depression is a pattern for you. For the same reason as addiction, depression also can arise because we aren’t happy. Depression rates are sky high in America, and I firmly believe that it has less to do with brain chemicals and everything to do with disconnection. People are depressed because their lives are depressing. I know someone will want to argue this point, to cling to their limitations that say it has everything to do with neurotransmitters and nothing to do with life being empty and devoid of meaning, but that’s okay. I understand that holding onto limitations keeps us in a safety zone where we don’t need to take any responsibility.
- Anxiety is a constant companion. Think of it like this: When we aren’t living authentically, we are avoiding a very real part of who we are. We may not be consciously avoiding it, but avoidance is there. This can be for many different reasons – fear, insecurity, programming – it doesn’t matter why we’re avoiding our truth. It only matters that we are doing so. Anything we avoid gains power over us. In avoidance, we create aversions and in aversion we create anxiety. Have you ever considered that unexplained anxiety may simply arise from the fact that deep within you know you should be doing something else?
- Feelings of emptiness/lack of purpose have plagued you. When we start living authentically we suddenly come to the understanding that we do have a purpose. And that purpose is simply being exactly who we are. When we align with our inner passions and truths, and we start giving those gifts to the world we see that everything we do has meaning and purpose. Even if it only has a meaning to us.
- You need constant approval from others. The only time we need approval from others is when we doubt or don’t approve of ourselves. It’s that simple. We only need others to tell us we’re doing the right thing when we doubt what we’re doing. How can anyone else ever tell us what is right for us? When we seek the approval of others or allow their opinions to dictate who we are, we’re essentially saying, “You know what’s best for me, will you tell me?” Talk about giving away our power!
As with anything that we are ready to be free of, the key lies in acknowledging its presence. We cant address a problem until we admit the problem exists. We can’t embrace our authenticity until we admit to ourselves where we are to honestly take stock of how much of our life aligns with who we are.
And finally, we can’t begin to figure out what our authentic life looks like if we don’t know who we are! If you’re ready to get honest with yourself and start embracing all of you (the dark and the light) in order to find out what your authentic life looks like, then we invite you to come and join our facebook community!
Author: Linds Carricarte-Jones
Image: Daily mAil – www.2littlefleas.co.uk
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