What does living an authentic life really look like?
There’s nothing better than being loved and admired by your tribe for being exactly who you are.
It’s the topic of a MULTITUDE of Instagram posts, especially given the context of the highly-saturated, goals-based social media cacophony our eyes and ears are assaulted with on the daily.
Over-posed, over-thought and deliberated to the ‘enth’ degree, the way we share and present our lives has become a curated version of our true selves.
CEO of Collective Hub and author/co-author of more than 40 books, Lisa Messenger, is on a mission to end that cycle.
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Speaking to Body+Soul’s daily podcast Healthy-ish, she says that authenticity hasn’t come naturally to her and has been the result of years of work, but that the results are worth it.
“For me, authenticity is about being unapologetically myself, living my life out loud and trying to be as I would be behind closed doors in a public interfacing place,” she tells host Felicity Harley on the Healthy-ish episode What does living an authentic life really look like?
“I’m continuously working at trying to keep myself accountable. And, you know, I’ve just found that it’s actually easier just living my life exactly as it is internally, externally for all to see, as opposed to trying to present to the world a different version of myself. I mean, that’s just exhausting, right?”
She’s spot on. Spending all that time and effort trying to be someone you think people want, takes away from all the joy and validation you could be receiving and exploring for just being yourself.
For Messenger, a lot of her soul-searching occurred in her 20s.
“I think a lot of my 20s, I felt like I was living life according to other people’s expectations. I didn’t really have a semblance of who I was,” she explains.
“I was doing a career because people said that was what I should do. And I was continuously trying to present to the world something that I thought society was dictating.”
“What happened for me was actually the complete opposite. I started drinking way too much. I was living quite an inauthentic life. I was lonely, depressed. I was often living with fear, guilt, shame, remorse, like all these awful things.”
It took getting to this low point – and realising it – for Messenger to turn her life around.
“I actually gave up drinking nearly 17 years ago…What I would say is find out what is holding you back, what is keeping you small, what you’re using as a crutch. And in my case, it was alcohol to self-sabotage. When I actually stopped doing that and worked on the underlying issues (of which there were many)…I just was like, I just want to be me.”
“That feels so damn refreshing, you know, to not have to put on a face or a persona that I think the world wants to see. So yeah, it actually takes a lot of pressure off,” she adds.
One of the key parts of living authentically is finding out more about yourself. What are your values, what makes you tick?
Messengers tip is to go online and just Google lists of different values and see what pops out for you.
“There are easily lists of 50 values or 100 values, and that’s actually a really great place to start. It’s really simple to run through the list.”
“Some of the values for me are things like honesty, authenticity, compassion, being ethical, having a sense of fun. So it’s really good to work out what are the things that are really important to you and how do you actually want to live a life on purpose that is actually authentic to you as a person.”
Like all things, a journey to find yourself is a process, and it’s about holding yourself accountable.
“Fun and joy are two of my greatest values and essences. So as soon as I feel myself turning into a bit of an angry pants, I try and flip my attitude to gratitude. I go, ‘right now I want to feel more joy. I want to be more grateful. I want to have more fun’,” Messenger explains.
She also recommends a daily check in.
“I have a daily check in, because it’s so easy to get off course, right? There’s so much external noise and things pulling at us on a daily basis. We’re all wearing a multitude of hats.”
“It’s easy to be drawn down a path that isn’t authentic. So I check in every single day, am I doing this right?” she says.
“I am so far from perfect, but I do try to keep my values and my beliefs close to me every single day. And I do those check-ins to ensure that I do stay authentic.”