The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.
~ Carl Jung
What does it mean to live authentically?
The phrase is kicked around a lot in this self-help culture we find ourselves in. “Live an authentic life. Just be you.” They say. But how do we find that place within ourselves? How do we know we are not being influenced by past messages and beliefs or outside influences and distractions?
Being authentic means coming from a real place within. It is when our actions and words align with our beliefs and values. It is being ourselves, not an imitation of what we think we should be or have been told we should be.
But wait a minute. If being authentic means being our true self, how many of us have really taken the time to get to know ourselves on this level?
I recently started a conversation with my friend Bianca about this topic. Truth be told she started this conversation with herself a few years ago and I’ve enjoyed watching her journey and asked her to share.
What was the catalyst for this? What clicked and made you start making changes in your life?
2015 was an extremely overwhelming year in my life. It was full of changes, some I asked for and some I did not. It held a lot of growth within my career, I found my biological father, sister + brother, my boyfriend and I were unhappy with our living situation, I still didn’t have a car OR my license at 24 years old, I was continuing to struggle with depression… and still every chance I got, I was trying to work towards self-improvement and development.
I was attempting to juggle several projects at once while feeling like I wasn’t doing enough, which would then lead me to feeling overwhelmed and getting down on myself. There was a constant sense of dread looming over my head. No matter how badly I wanted to do things for myself, it never felt like a possibility. I was in an area of my life where it felt more comfortable to be a victim of my circumstances, to be complacent and okay with not being happy or feeling excitement.
I felt like I had lost myself completely. I didn’t know what I needed or wanted, I had no idea who I was anymore, and I had no sense of freedom. I was completely dependent and stuck.
There were several months where various adventure opportunities would catch my eye – concerts, festivals, wellness retreats, etc. I would see them happening all over the country and think, “I would love to check out Chicago or that yoga festival sounds amazing.” and that’s where the thought would end. I wouldn’t ever pull out a calendar and think about what was possible.
At the beginning of a January 2016 staff meeting, I jokingly announced “I’ve decided I’m taking A LOT of vacations this year”. Everyone laughed and I did too, not expecting to follow through with my day dreams.
But then amazing things started happening.
I got my driver’s license. I bought a car. I called my friend in Washington and picked dates to visit. I actually bought the plane tickets. My boyfriend and I moved into a new place with a few close friends. I was going to yoga regularly three days a week. My relationship with my family was improving every day.
I was asking The Universe for what I wanted and it was listening. I was slowly becoming a participant in my life. Things were going really, really well.
And then all of the sudden - they weren’t.
It was like driving through a beautiful, scenic mountain side… and then BAM!
I fell off the cliff….
Read more next week as Bianca talks more about her journey to cultivating an authentic life.