Over the years of navigating my own personal healing journey and supporting others in navigating their paths towards deeper wellness, I’ve noticed that one of the most impactful practices for creating powerfully positive life shifts is the cultivation of deep authenticity.
So much of the discontent and dis-ease that I see in my clients and have experienced in my own life has been rooted in a fundamental disconnection from one’s inner truth or the belief that, for some reason, we can’t or shouldn’t live in a way that honors that truth.
What I see again and again, in my own life and in the lives of those around me, is that the more people live from a place of authenticity, meaning that they live in a way that honors their truth, their unique gifts, and their deepest desires, the more they heal from the inside out.
And it makes sense really. Of all of the factors that can create illness in our bodies, research is increasingly pointing to stress as one of the most nefarious culprits. And what is more stressful than living a life that, at best, feels lackluster or, at worst, leaves you feeling so miserable that you feel the need to numb yourself, in ways big or small, just to make it through each day?
The key to creating a life that supports your ability to be present, joyful, and healthy is making sure that it’s one that deeply resonates with your values and dreams and allows you to be fully, unapologetically yourself. But where do you start if you’re wanting to bring more authenticity into your life?
Whether you feel like your life is in need of a little upgrade or a total overhaul, the number one place to begin when you’re trying to cultivate a life that feels truer to you is actively developing a more intimate relationship with yourself. So many people, when asked to describe their vision of their best life, find themselves at a loss, unsure of what that would even look like. In order to create a life that is a living embodiment of your dreams and values, you first need to hone in on what those are and engaging in mindfulness practices, meditation, and self-reflection can help you do just that. As you build greater self-awareness and strengthen the connections both with and between your mind, body, and spirit, you’ll naturally experience more clarity around how you relate to difference experiences and aspects of your life.
As you begin to tune into what’s happening in your mind, body, and spirit, you may notice some unexpected things. Hidden frustration or tension that had gone unnoticed previously. Joy in surprising moments. A sense of disconnection in places that had seemed to be comfortable or familiar. Unexplainable draws to new people, places, and opportunities. These are signs that you’re becoming more attuned to your own experience, so pay close attention. It can be alarming, at first, to suddenly realize that you don’t feel at home amongst some long-term friends or that you’ve secretly always wanted to pursue a different career path, so don’t pressure yourself to make any sudden changes. Simply allow yourself to stay present and curious about what’s coming up for you. Journaling or speaking with an objective and trustworthy person such as a therapist or a coach can be especially helpful as you process and integrate the insights that come forward during this time.
You may also want to consider taking a “life inventory” in which you examine each area of your life to determine what feels aligned and what doesn’t. Be as thorough as possible. Ask yourself how you feel in your work life, your relationships (including your relationship with yourself), your home, your daily habits, and any other areas that you invest your time and energy. Do these experiences light you up or leave you feeling drained? Do they bring you closer to the vision you have of your best life or are they pulling you farther away from that reality? What is working? What could be better? Again, this practice is about gathering information as opposed to judging or shaming yourself for not already having your ideal life. In order to find a route to a new place, we have to first figure out where we are, so do your best to be honest with yourself about where you’re at right now. Remember, it is only the starting point.
After you’ve gotten clear about what feels aligned in your life and what might not be truly serving you, you can begin the process of restructuring your life so that it is a more authentic expression of who you are and what you wish to create in the world around you. While some people might feel inclined to make dramatic, sweeping life changes, it’s often the subtle shifts that have more lasting impacts. Adding in activities that bring you simple pleasure or light you up with curiosity and inspiration, acknowledging and honoring your innermost desires in whatever ways you can, and allowing yourself to be more vulnerably honest about who you are with those around you can be the seeds that give way to profound changes. Don’t be afraid to be playful in this process and allow yourself to try new things. Your entire life can be approached like a piece of art, and as the artist, you can continue tweaking it and making adjustments until you absolutely love what you see in front of you.
In fact, because we are dynamic beings that evolve continuously, this process has no end point or finish line to get to and should be revisited consistently. Our inner worlds and bodily experiences are like neverending onions that only reveal countless new layers as each one falls away. Remaining curious about what comes up for us and open to change allows us to honor who we are in each and every moment, and that’s really at the heart of living authentically. This journey, as with all part of our healing journeys, is about progress, not perfection, so be gentle with yourself, take time to acknowledge how far you’ve come, and trust that your commitment to living your truth will always lead you right to where you’re meant to be.
Ashley Berry is an Ojai-based Breathwork Facilitator, Reiki and AromaTouch Practitioner, Wellness Coach, and Intuitive Card Reader whose mission is to offer heart-centered support for individuals and groups seeking healing in mind, body, and spirit. Click Here to learn more about Ashley.