Once upon a time, you were perfectly happy. You probably don’t remember it. It was when you were a young child. Back then, left all alone with nobody to tell you what to do, you were purely and simply happy. You didn’t strive and struggle to be happy – you just were. Simply being all you, only you, and it was bliss. You did whatever delighted your little heart, with glee.
What the heck happened?
Well, what happened is you stopped being you. Parents begin molding you in the ways they think you should go. You start becoming aware that some people like you and some don’t. Not long after, you begin tweaking things here and there, when you see more people like you tweaked. The happiness begins to fade and the stress begins as you start losing yourself.
How is it that simply being your authentic self creates a happy life? When you are being your authentic self, you’re a lot less stressed because you aren’t play acting all the time. Your relationships are stronger, because they are based on real connections between real people. You will discover your purpose and in doing that, find true, deep fulfillment and happiness.
Let’s look at these one-by-one, starting with the benefit of less stress. Woohoo! Anything that lessens stress is a good thing. No doubt we all agree that modern man is stressed!
Authenticity is considerably less stressful than Acting.
Think about it. What you must to go through to be fake:
- Decide what will be fake and how you will act the part
- Practicing it in your head so you know your lines when you need them
- You have to remember which of your natural character traits can’t be shown and how to hide them
- Think through which version of you you’ll be at any given function, ahead of time!
- You’re never able to relax and enjoy the world around you because you are always having to work the fake you
- Your relationships aren’t real, because you aren’t. With no foundation of truth, it’ll never be anything but fake
- You had better hope your memory never starts to go. You must remember each lie, as well as who has heard the lie, who hasn’t, and who knows the truth.
- At some point have to make up lies to cover lies. That can get many layers of lies deep. Takes a sharp mind just to keep up with it all. Maybe a notebook would help?
Now, let’s compare that scenario to this one, where you are authentically YOU, all the time:
- You live your life doing what fits you. Life is grand
Which scenario would you prefer?
Real People Have Real Relationships
I think we will all agree relationships are hard. They take work, no matter how amazing each person may be. We are all so human. Every relationship requires some work, if it is to be a quality relationship. Few relationships stay nice, neat, and tidy throughout their duration. Peopling can be tough.
How much tougher do we make it then, when we aren’t relating to others as our true selves? Really, that makes those relationships more than some work, it makes them impossible. We were not created to live in isolation. How can one hope to ever be happy without any real relationships? You can’t. Instead, you’re stuck with that every-waking-minute job of maintaining the act to have fake relationships. I’d rather be lonely.
If the Key to Happiness is Finding your Purpose, You Must Be YOU to Do That
Now, I realize, not everyone agrees that the key to happiness is finding and fulfilling your purpose in life. A great number of us do, however, so I am going with the assumption that you agree. It does make you feel amazing to know you are doing what you were meant to do. Totally gives you a reason to get out of bed each morning, excited about your day, looking forward to your plans….
Gee, that sounds like the way happy people wake up, doesn’t it?
“I’m sold! How do I learn to be all me, only me, all the time?”
How to Meet and Be the Real You
It is not at all complicated.
I think you will find the process a lot of fun because it starts with finding and getting to know your inner child.
You know, the person you were before life started changing you… and you let it?
You are going to reconnect. Let’s learn how!
- Journal the Discovery
- Be Aware and Choose You
Do you remember what it was like to be truly you? Think back to the happiest memories of your childhood. What were you doing? Those were the things that the real you enjoyed. They are authentic because they express you. Remember them.
As a child, everything (I mean, EVERYTHING) is about the pursuit of personal happiness. We are born that way; hunting for a fix to satisfy self. Anyone who has ever lived through raising a toddler will verify that as truth. Those are the years where we are learning that at times, personal happiness must be put aside for the sake of the bigger picture. It’s tough, but those are lessons we all learn.
At times, we learn them too well. Instead of finding ways to express ourselves without getting our butts whooped, we start suppressing ourselves. We hide who we are behind what we think others want us to be. Over the years, it becomes so habitual, we don’t think about it, or realize we are adapting to others’ expectations. Ewwwww. We didn’t mean to do that. Yes, it sneaks up on you, but there is a fix.
Start getting yourself back by simply remembering who you were when you were happy and then, return to being that. Do the things you did, even if they seem silly. It will feel right if you practice. Get an attitude that says, “I will enjoy life if I wanna!” and do it in the ways that make your heart sing.
Journal the Discovery
Some people can’t remember their childhood very well. That doesn’t have to mean you can’t find your inner child and learn to let it loose. In situations like that, I recommend using a self-discovery journal.
What is a self-discovery journal?
It is where you will experiment with finding out what does thrill your soul. Sometimes it’s shocking to me, because I am very self-aware, that many people don’t even know what thrills them and what doesn’t. They have lost themselves. Here is how to find yourself again:
- Get a notebook
- Create categories. Examples would be: foods I like, Places I love to visit, things I enjoy doing, people I feel good around etc…
- Start listing things you might enjoy, do them, then record how you felt about it
It is as simple as that.
I have had people not realize, until this exercise, that they loved creating. Or that they truly love city life better than country life. Perhaps that they prefer mornings to evenings. Many people never ponder these things, they just endlessly go with the flow.
It is easy to spot these people when they change a romantic relationship or get a new best friend. They always seem to be totally into whatever that person is, claiming it as their own passion. After time, they lose track of who they were before they started trying to please others. Journaling a discovery of self this way will help you to reconnect with who you truly are.
Be Aware and Choose You
Once you have re-discovered who the real you IS, you need to be conscious of the habit of being fake. Then you work on denying it while allowing the real you to shine through.
For example, I am, by nature, quite the introvert. Though it became my habit over the years, to act like completely the opposite because that is the person others needed me to be. This of course, created stress every time I’d be called upon to be the extrovert, when I wasn’t naturally one at all.
Once I became aware of this dynamic, when faced with being the fake extrovert or the true introvert, I fess up, then act in ways that are best for my introverted nature. It does not mean I don’t love people. It does not mean I don’t love being with people. It DOES mean, being an introvert, if it is not on my terms, it stresses me out. So, I people in ways that suit me, when it suits me. That is me. The end results? I am more successful as my lil’ old introverted self. I have found many wonderful friends who are just like me that way and get it. I am happier as myself than I was as the fake I thought people wanted.
I am happy. I am all me, all the time. Are you?
If you aren’t feeling happy in life, I would encourage you to look at yourself. Are you being truly you, all the time? How much does not being yourself cost you in happiness? Is it worth it?
If you feel you haven’t been living authentically, returning to who you are could be the key that opens the floodgates of happiness for you. But you won’t know if you don’t investigate it. I encourage you to take some time to ponder these things. Search your heart and if finding you is the fix you need, I hope this helps point you in the right direction. Apply it, and then please, come back, let us know how it went and let us meet the true you