By Jessi Franz
The journey to find our authenticity begins by loving ourselves for who we truly are.
If you are not living for yourself, you are living for everyone else.
Think about that.
When you start living your life for you, the world around will start to shift.
It sounds selfish, right? Living your life wholeheartedly for you?
As humans, we tend to strive for acceptance. This is a natural response to the world and people around us. We want people to enjoy our presence We want love. It’s psychology.
Then, we get sucked in. We get sucked into this world and start changing who we authentically are to “fit in” with the crowds around us. If we let this go on for too long, we inevitably lose sight of who we truly are, what our soul desires, and what we need to lead a happy and whole life.
Maybe you fall into the large group of people who never even took the time to discover what that looks like because your sole purpose has been trying to fit into the mold!
We seek approval from those we cherish most. At an early age, it’s from our parents and close family members. Later, we look to our teachers, our friends, our teammates. Further down the road, we seek approval from our employers and employees, potential significant others, and new groups of adult friends. All this time, as we’ve been seeking acceptance, we lose sight of our true selves. We conform to what society deems acceptable and successful at the expense of our authentic expression.
My dad used to constantly tell me growing up, “You are who you hang with.” Those in your circle have a huge impact on how you act, dress, talk, and how you interpret the world around you (positive and negative).
We identify ourselves with the roles we play. Whether it is a parent, professional, wife, husband, etc., our identity turns into our persona. We no longer recognize who we are outside of those roles. Some of us go our entire lives not even taking a moment to recognize and understand what that even looks like!
The first step to discovering who you authentically are—what makes you YOU—is being open to the journey. The journey begins by loving ourselves for who we truly are. But to do that we must know who we truly are.
Start by making lists. Make lists of things you like and things you do not like. Make a list of your goals and dreams. Make a list of things you want to change about your current situation. Make a list of things that you love about yourself, and things that you want to work on. List the amazing qualities that you have within yourself. Be vulnerable, be honest and be real with your lists. Next, start incorporating these into your everyday life. Make a point to embrace them, or work on them.
The freedom that comes along with intensely loving exactly who you authentically are is indescribable. Part of the practice of loving yourself is paying attention to self-talk. Are you feeding your mind, body and soul positive words and affirmations? Are you harsh with yourself, or do you hold yourself to unrealistic standards based on what society tells you? Positive self-talk is critical on your journey. Instead of saying and believing, “I am not good enough,” challenge your thinking! Reverse that thought to “I am worthy. I am good enough. I am me—and I am amazing.”
Make sure you are double checking your standards. Setting them too high can cause the feeling of defeat. Setting your stands too low will prohibit you from the challenge needed to fuel growth—and growth should always be a central goal.
This leads to me the last step: Do things that intimidate you. Do things that scare you, that make you nervous. Do things that you know you need to do but have not done out of fear of rejection or failure. You know that amazing feeling that you get in the pit of your stomach when you are excited and scared all at the same time? That is your body and soul telling you to take the leap of faith!
All these things are beneficial for your personal growth. It is time to start living for yourself, and not everyone else. You can be selfish. By being true to who you are and knowing what that looks like, it will allow you to be a better you for everyone you surround yourself with.
Now is your time. Start the journey, flourish and thrive.
Jessi Franz is the wife of an amazing, supportive husband, TJ, and she has four beautiful children. She is a public speaker, university graduate with my BA in Behavioral Sciences, certified Master Life Coach, Recovery Coach, Relationship Coach, Goal Success Life Coach, Happiness Life Coach and Life Purpose Life Coach. Jessi has made it her life’s mission to help as many people as possible, in all walks of life, to find peace during chaos and confidence in their authentic Self, and to help them embrace their personal journeys. She has completed extensive studies on many therapeutic techniques to help beautiful souls overcome adversity, whatever it may be, and to reach their full potential. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.