Living an authentic life means that sometimes you’ll have to make decisions that might be unpopular with other people or peoples expectations. Most of us, don’t live that way, most of us aren’t aware that we aren’t being authentic to our inner selves.
We are always compromising what we as individuals want or need.
We often will do things we don’t want to do because we feel like we should do something, and we should do it because society/friends/family/the world expects us to.
We do it because we don’t want to let people down.
We don’t want to let ourselves down, and we don’t want to look bad in front of our peers.
We know people expect too much of us and yet we still live in fear of not living up to that.
I have been simplifying my life to suit me lately because I want to live an authentically and true to myself life, which means small but significant changes for myself and my family.
Here are 3 ways I have been authentic to myself this year.
1. No more doing things because you think you should be doing them:
I quit my job.
Why? Because I don’t want it.
Because I don’t have to work if I don’t want to, it complicates my already complicated life. I will work when my kids no longer require me to make all their meals, and clean poo off of random objects.
We are fortunate to live in a society where there are systems in place to support us while we are at home with the kids, studying or caring for someone etc.
Some people even have husbands that are willing to crush their own hearts and dreams and work hard so people like me can stay home and fulfil our lives with motherhood and other duties.
(I am aware that there are people who love what they do and that is great, I am also aware that not everyone is in my position and some people have to work….)
While working was good for my social anxiety and my confidence, it was one extra thing I had to do.
I have three children, I have kindy and school lunches to make, drop offs and pick ups, I have a husband who makes a living as a musician that works nights on weekends, who is also a student by day, I also have 100 billion eleven pets and I have my own shit to cope with in-between that.
I needed to simplify my life and work was the first thing to go. (sorry lovely bosses).
I went to my therapist and told him how overwhelmed I was and how anxious I felt about working in general.
I told him I have to work and that I should want to work, and he asked me,
“Why do you have to do it when you don’t want to or need to?”
He himself had only ever worked one full-time week in his whole life (he’s now in his late 50’s-early 60’s) and he hated every minute of it and has never once considered working like that again.
I asked him:
“How will I ever enjoy working a full time job? I’m starting a uni degree in Law and Society that will take me three years of my life to complete, just so I can get a full time job in something other than cafe work, but I don’t even know for sure that i’ll enjoy that?”
Where is the logic in doing that?
Doing that won’t make me happy. I know that, right now…. it won’t.
In my little reality what I’d LOVE to do is a writing degree of some kind, something that I know I already love, something that might not give me any work anywhere but also might, I know my heart will be in it 100%.
So why am I preparing myself for a future where the right thing to do is to study to get a full time job so I can pay bills that little bit easier than I’m already paying now just on a smaller income?
So studying a degree to only potentially change my income status seems ridiculous to me. When what is within me and my heart is more important than my income.
Why do we do this to ourselves?
My therapist said something along the lines of “You may never have to work full time, something might pop up. Do what you want to do not what you have to do, we only get one chance.”
So…. yeah I quit my job. And yes, we will now have less money.
Society has pushed us into this hole that tells us that if we are unemployed, if we aren’t educated, if we aren’t doing what everyone else is doing, that it’s a bad thing, but I don’t believe in that. I believe those that follow their hearts despite the potential outcomes must be an incredibly humbling and soul cleansing thing to do.
I know plenty of people who follow their dreams that don’t regret it. But I know plenty of other people that after a 4 year degree, bail on it in the last year or finish and decide its not for them and pursue something totally unrelated, some of them can’t even get work in their fields. I know so many people who hate their jobs but stay because they have to, they need to, but the truth is, no, you don’t.
You have choices. There is always more money.
Bonus secret paragraph:
In the small time it took me to write this last section I decided I will do some kind of degree to help me with my writing because I want to, because life is too short to chase the what if’s, its too short to use back up plans like studying practical degrees so I can be a ‘real’ grown up.
2. Bail on the societal norms and don’t make christmas about gifts:
This year we decided not to do gifts for the 20 odd kids we usually buy for or for our parents, we will buy our own children gifts, but that is all.
On average each year we spend about $5oo or more on our extended families presents.
I sent out a text to everyone in my family telling/asking them all if we could skip the christmas presents this year.
Why? Because, we don’t need anything, our kids don’t need anything and neither do my aunties kids or the sister in laws kids, or their kids, kids, kids, anything we add to that is just clutter and noise,which will just be lost in the chaos of gift giving at christmas. Christmas is not about giving, it’s about family, friends, and fun.I wanted to take the stress out of christmas for my little family.
AND I’m still paying off a centrelink loan we had to take out last year to buy my families kid’s presents. Where is the sense in doing it all over again?I want christmas to be known for the time we spend together and the epic food we will eat and the wine we consume. I want it to be about family and coming together, not the kids expecting gifts from each and every person as that rocks up. And I am pretty sure that my family would much rather us all just keep our money and not be in debt for $20 presents for 400 different children.
At the end of the day our bellies and our hearts will still be full.
3. Speaking out when shit was just not right.
One BIG thing I did to be authentic to myself was to speak out publicly about my abuse. And I continue to rally on for those who don’t have a voice, even when people are sick of hearing it, I continue, because there will always be those without a voice.
Keeping it inside was poisoning my heart, my head and my life.
How can I be authentic and true to myself if I keep myself closed, if I hold this deep secret so close to my chest?
I opened it, I let it out, I was being true to myself and in doing that a whole world of change has been left in its place. I created this new life where I have nothing to hide, from myself and from those around me. I sat in this closed in little bubble all my life, worrying what my family might think if I spoke out, what my friends and fellow acquaintances might say or think about me for coming out with such uncomfortable topic. How might people see me now, how might they interact with me now, were all real concerns to me.Part of getting past that was having to be real with myself, looking inside and seeing how this painful past sat with me, and it didn’t sit well. Once it was out it was no longer just my burden to bare, others consoled me, embraced me, loved me. It changed nothing but who I saw myself as, and in turn has begun this incredible path of new and exciting parts of my personality, I am no longer frail, I am no longer in pieces.
I am solid now, because I was true and authentic to myself.
But this can apply to ANY situation, relationships, work, school, what ever; if shit ain’t right, it ain’t right, even if it ain’t right just for you.
Live an authentic life, live a life that is true to you.
Living an authentic life is not about how you contribute to society, it is not about your income or your status.
If you can truely find that person inside you and work on that person, the needs, the desires rather than the expectations; then you my friend are well on your way to living authentically.
The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.
~ Carl Jung