What does it mean to live as my authentic self? I love this question because it is exactly the topic of my next book and new course. When we find the pathway to our authentic selves, we find transformation, clarity and power. The root Greek word is authentikos, which means “original or genuine.” It is derived from authentes, meaning “acting on one’s own authority” or “self-doer, self-being.” So, when we are following the voice of our genuine selves, we are living as “self beings” – not “other beings.”
To understand what it means to live authentically, it is helpful to look at what it means to live inauthentically. When we live outside of our original selves, we are usually acting on someone else’s expectations of us. We agree to let others’ opinions, judgments and beliefs project onto us. We are, as the Greek origin defines, not acting in our “own authority.”
The inauthentic being usually wears masks to please others and reacts out of fear – fear that he or she will not be loved, accepted or understood. Perhaps it is fear of harm, abandonment or shame. We stuff our own needs, quiet our voices and let someone else’s ideas about us define our own. I have so much compassion for those lost in this cycle because I lived that way for most of my life – until I had my own self-transformation.
Photo by Nita Blum / Blumsbrandhouse.com
When we are acting as the authentic self, we are in line with our true inner being. Here is my framework explaining 4 Key Qualities of the Authentic S.E.L.F.: Soul Center, Emotions, Love and Freedom.
SOUL CENTER: The core of your being-ness. We are spiritual creatures having a human experience that is filled with mental, physical and emotional layers. The central layer that holds our deepest wisdom is the soul, which communicates to us through emotions and sensations.
This inner source of wisdom works from a place of intuitive knowing – the core of the self. The mind is a place for grounding, information storing and analyzing. But it is also the place where we hold faulty beliefs and negative thought loops that turn us away from our original selves. The “monkey mind” often over-analyzes because of programmed fear, and, in turn, rejects the inner voice.
When we are purposefully seeking authentic choices, we return inward for decisions instead of outward (others) or upward (monkey mind). We look at what emotions, needs and passions call from our center and choose what feels best to us – which is always what feels lightest to the soul.
EMOTIONS: Your internal guidance system. When you understand how important your emotions are and begin honoring them, your life will completely change. Your feelings are your soul’s communication to you about whether something is in alignment with you or not. Your emotions interplay with your physical body to trigger authentic action to move toward something or away from it.
This brilliant guidance system is actually very simple. When something feels good to you – sparking emotions such as happiness, excitement or comfort – your authenticity is being confirmed. Your body chemically responds by releasing feel-good hormones, such as dopamine and serotonin. These chemicals naturally boost happiness, immunity and feelings of well-being.
When you have negative reactions such as retraction, dread or discomfort, your emotional system is telling you that you are not in alignment with the real you. Your systems respond, releasing stress hormones, such as cortisol, into your system. Over time, the continuous release of cortisol causes the immune system to diminish, causing sickness, weakness and feelings of diminished well-being.
When you start to honor the guidance of your emotions, you will find yourself feeling healthier, stronger and more creative. The body is brilliantly set up to reward you this way! Even more, you will experience a heightened sense of awareness, connection and peace. Things will start to flow to you more freely because you are lining up with the natural current of your life.
Photo by Nita Blum / Blumsbrandhouse.com
LOVE: Acceptance and compassion for the self and others. When you are living in your truth, following the self’s true passions and desires, you are acknowledging your worthiness. By valuing yourself first, you begin loving yourself as you were intended to from birth – with full acceptance.
When you experience your own compassion and grace, you learn to accept all parts of yourself and stop comparing them to others. The authentic self is confident, empowered and at peace with who he or she is. In turn, a purer love for others flows from you. You shine so much brighter because you stop letting fear and self-doubt cloud your relationships with others. You move more freely within yourself and within the world.
FREEDOM: Free to be, speak and act. My favorite gift in my self-growth journey has been freedom. I cannot explain how empowering and transformational this allowance has been. Freedom meant letting go of what I thought everyone else needed from me and holding onto what felt right for me, whether it be as a writer, mother or free-spirited woman out playing in the world.
Truth is, freedom is our birthright, but most of us have been conditioned to believe we are not worthy of it. When we disallow our own free will, we clog up the natural flow of our lives, and we are not able to reach our true greatness. When we accept that we are created to live freely as our true selves, we discover an awakened life that can shine brighter than ever before.
And that, my friends, is exactly how you can spot someone living as their authentic self – they are glowing as bright as the sun..
Dr. Karin Luise is an award-winning author, whole life coach and host of “The Dr. Karin Show.” Find Karin at DoctorKarin.com, thelightersidenetwork.com and thefatherlessdaughterproject.com. Facebook @DR. KARIN; Instagram & Twitter @DoctorKarin