Authenticity & Assessment
As I sit down to write this first official U&i blog, I am navigating an assembly of mixed emotions… Excitement for the opportunity to finally be here. Intimidation regarding how it will be received or if it will even be read. Confidence in the message I am sending. And of course, insecurity. To me this is personal and therefore meaningful. I’ll simply speak from the heart and hope it finds its way home to yours. What would life be without the unending frontier of fear and the many growth-opportunities it presents? :)
I had trouble selecting the content or topic of this first blog and ultimately decided against an “introductory” tone. Those of you that know me well know that I don’t do well beating around the bush. For future reference, topics of the U&i blog will be wide ranging but each will have an undertone of self-discovery, connection with ourselves, and the natural world.
Imagine a world where people actually relate with one another, and themselves… A world where we can mutually agree, and respectfully disagree, with one another in a way that preserves our own integrity and also promotes the common good.
Authenticity. What emotions or images does this word conjure up when it enters your psyche? Specifically, when you think about the relationship you have with yourself. Seriously, say the word again and think about it with your eyes closed for 5 seconds… Is there an assuredness, or is there a feeling of something left lingering? Something that you can’t quite put your finger on. Perhaps it’s a feeling that you’re not quite sure you want to further investigate or learn more about? Perhaps it’s a feeling that your excited to lean in to?
Regardless of your psychological or physiological response, know that the purpose of this blog is to inspire and encourage you to consider what a more authentic relationship with your self looks like.
- What have you always wanted to do or be?
- What dreams and aspirations did you have in your youth? Are they the same today or different?
- Who are the obvious people or things in your life that are preventing you from making progress?
- What events, or experiences, or aspects of life do you want to have before your final hours?
The questions seem a bit corny don’t they? That’s because they are, but consider this: just as one might use humor to mask an uncomfortable truth, the “cheese factor” in these questions mask the gravity of the truth awaiting in your reply… I am not here to give you answers to these questions or tell you that you just need to “hold it in your mind and wait for it to manifest in your life.” It being what your desire(s) are. Instead, I’m prompting you to spend time in the space that we all must occupy before we decide to commit to authentic change. And that space is, assessment. More precisely, honest assessment. The process of committing to change is something we will dive deeper in to during later renditions of this blog. Today, spend some time thinking about authenticity and assessment.
Assess… What does authenticity mean to you? What does it look like? How does it feel? Does this show up in your life currently? If so, what are the events, where are the places, who are the people, that bring about authentic experiences and fulfillment? Do authentic experiences or relationships show up in your life at all? If not, how do you feel about that? Are you willing to do what it takes to change this?
Make these prompts REAL by allowing them to occupy a physical space and time in your life today or this week. Write these questions down. Then write down some answers to them. Clear, concise answers. Spend time solely devoted to identifying and answering them honestly. This is the first step in creating a vision and designing a clearer path to a more authentic relationship with your Self and your experience of life. If we know where we want to go, that’s great. But how can we get there, or even begin moving in that direction, if we don’t know where we are starting from? Assessment helps you identify your starting point; where you are right now.
This process and continued practice of self-awareness is critical for a more authentic life. Naturally, authenticity will look different and mean different things for every individual. Only when we are able to align our actions (which often require behavior modification) with our intentions (which require knowing what we want and how to get there) can we create the type of authenticity in life we are searching for. Remember the Joseph Campbell quote from above? We may not all come up with the same definition of authenticity but we can all use the same formula to figure out what authenticity means to us.
Remember, there is always only one time for self-development, and it’s always the same time…right now.