If I’m being completely honest here, which I am, writing this post terrified me. When Alison first asked me to be a part of Authentically Alison our friendship was a little shaky. For a long time I’d been having a lot of inner turmoil that I didn’t particularly want to deal with, as we all do from time to time, and I pulled away from a lot of the people that cared about me—Alison was one of them— and lost the motivation to do almost everything. I quickly agreed to be a guest blogger thinking it would be just the thing to pull me out of this slump and when she gave us the topic for this first post, I was right.
What does it mean to live an authentic life? What does that mean for you?
This brought out a way of thinking in me that I had never really addressed before. It started to haunt me. What did it mean to live an authentic life? Was I living an authentic life? When I realized I wasn’t, that scared me because that’s pretty much what I’d been fighting inside myself all along. So, I let the idea stew—for a long, long time—while I tried to come up with an answer and I think I’ve finally got it. Living authentically means living your life in such a way that when you’re reminiscing back on it, there are no “real” regrets.
I came up with five ways on how you can kickstart yourself into living an authentic life. They’re just things I’ve started to do myself that have been helping, I hope at least one of them helps you too.
1. Spend Time with Yourself
This might sound really difficult because with all this technology it’s really easy to lose ourselves. Have you sat down in a quiet place with just yourself and your thoughts lately because it might be a good idea? When it really comes down to it, you’re the only one that really has to live with yourself. Do you like yourself? Would you really want to be your friend?
This might be the most difficult on the list, but turn off your phone every now and then. We spend so much time looking down at a screen that sometimes we forget to look up and enjoy “real” life. You don’t need to delete all your social media accounts and toss your phone out the window, just create more of a balance between your online life and your real one.
3. Listen and Learn
You don’t have to write down and study everything everyone says, it’s a lot easier than that. Give people your time. Don’t tell your Grandpa you’re too “busy” when he starts one of those “Back In My Day” stories. You might have heard it a million and one times, but if you really listen to it, you might learn something you hadn’t before.
4. Appreciate People
This one shouldn’t even need to be on the list, but I feel like we’ve forgotten how important it really is. Say your manners, hold doors for people, help an elderly lady across the street, apologize when you’re wrong. Not only does it make everyone feel a little better, it makes you feel good too.
5. Just Be
If you ask me, this one is the most important. When you feel distant from your life, like I often do, sometimes you need to take a minute to remind yourself you are alive. When you’re walking down the street, close your eyes for a moment and just let your other senses take over as you absorb the world around you. Listen to what’s around you. Feel. Be in the moment. Be present. Just be.
Living authentically doesn’t come overnight, it takes practice, patience, and dedication. If this scares you like it scares me, just take it one step at a time. Live authentic moments, then authentic minutes, then authentic days, and authentic weeks, and pretty soon you’ll forget how it feels to live idly and you won’t even realize how authentic your life’s become until you’re at the very end of it looking back with a smile knowing you wouldn’t change a thing.