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How to Cultivate Authenticity: A Complete Guide

Hello, dear one!

Oftentimes, you’ll hear me talk about living authentically. If you’re new on this journey with me, welcome. To those who have been with me, welcome back. I thought I would create an anchor post where I touch on the key points of what it means to cultivate your own authentic self. Save this to refer back to or send it to a friend.

Live Wholeheartedly

Living wholeheartedly means being present and fully engaged in the moment. It also requires courage, because to live this way means to be vulnerable—to be open to disappointment and hurt as well as joy and love. Wholehearted living is about cultivating resilience, mindfulness, authenticity, self-compassion, gratitude, playfulness, and acceptance of both ourselves and others.

Some examples of wholehearted living include embracing imperfection; practicing gratitude; cultivating joy and optimism; developing creativity; pursuing meaningful work; nurturing relationships with others by learning how to express our needs in an assertive manner while respecting the needs of others; keeping our hearts open even when we’ve been hurt or disappointed in the past; taking care of ourselves physically by practicing healthy nutrition habits and physical activity; treating ourselves with kindness rather than beating ourselves up for perceived shortcomings or faults; finding humor in our situation (even when it’s difficult); setting boundaries that prevent us from over-committing while still allowing us enough time each day to experience joy; learning how to say “no” when necessary so we don't become overwhelmed or burned out; learning how not to engage in negative self-talk but instead replace that negative self-talk with positive affirmations; letting go of what other people think about us; letting go of the need for certainty (since fear of uncertainty is a primary driver behind anxiety); being mindful of what goes into our bodies (including social media).

Cultivate Purpose and Perspective

To cultivate a perspective that allows you to be authentically yourself, you must understand who you are and what motivates you. You can do this by asking yourself:

  • What am I meant to be doing?

  • What is my passion in life?

  • Where do I want to go?

To cultivate purpose and perspective, strive to:

  • Be curious. Seek out new experiences, places and people so that you may learn more about the world around you. When was the last time you tried something new?

  • Be openminded. Assume that everyone has something valuable to contribute even if it is different from your own point of view. Are there situations where your assumptions have prevented you from seeing things objectively?

  • Be intentional with your time. Pick a few important goals or values and make choices based on these priorities rather than just going through the motions of life. How much time are you spending on social media or other activities that take away from achieving your goals?

  • Be present in your surroundings. Focus on what matters most in the moment whether at work, school or home instead of constantly checking email or texting others. When was the last time when being present gave way to opportunities for growth that were unexpected?

Create Space for Reflection, Rest and Connection

It’s important to learn to slow down and take the time to reflect on your day. When we rush through life without stopping to observe, it can be difficult to maintain a sense of authenticity. One of the best ways to reconnect with yourself is by simply taking some time each day where you aren't busy or distracted by others.

Slowing down has been shown in research to improve our ability to process information. It also allows us space for reflection and deeper self-awareness. One way many people practice this is by taking a break from social media for a short period of time each day or week. In addition, spending time with family and friends often enhances a sense of belonging, which research shows is one way that people cultivate authenticity in their lives.

Authenticity also means being kind to yourself and recognizing that you are enough just as you are. If something doesn't go well during your day, don't get down on yourself! Everyone makes mistakes occasionally, so it’s helpful to try to not to beat yourself up over things that are out of your control or were honest errors. Authentic people know how much they have already accomplished and recognize their own strengths rather than dwelling on negative aspects of themselves or their lives.

Another great idea is finding activities you love doing and setting aside time for them each week. Don't let work take over every minute of your life! Perhaps that's going out dancing with friends, meditating at home alone at night, or exercising outdoors in your free time—whatever it may be, find something you enjoy doing consistently and make space for it in your life whenever possible.

Achieving authenticity is about living with purpose and connecting with others.

Authenticity is all about living in the present and being true to yourself. Connecting with other people and having purpose in your life are major contributors, too. It takes time to develop authentic behavior, but once you get there, it's easier to be happy with who you are. How do we foster authenticity? Here are some steps you can take:

  • Accept yourself for who you are - flaws included.

  • Listen to your inner voice -- what it tells you is important, whether it relates to a specific situation or relates to larger life goals that may take years to accomplish. Sometimes this means doing things that others might not understand or agree with.

  • Limit the amount of time spent on social media and other distractions so that you have more time for face-to-face interactions.

  • Participate in activities that make you feel good about yourself -- whether it's volunteering at a local animal shelter or fundraising for a cause that matters deeply to you.

I’m grateful to share this space with you. If you’re interested in delving deeper into this soul-aligning work, please reach out. Let’s schedule a time to talk.

Until next time, let’s live more authentically.

Grace and Peace,

~Lea, xo

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