What is an 'authentic life'?
What does it mean to live an authentic life?
Well, let’s firstly look at what it means to be living an inauthentic life, one that perhaps might be described as being fake.
A fake life could perhaps be described as one that isn’t in harmony with our inner beliefs. We may be leading a life that is based on pleasing others, or one that is based on the values of perhaps our parents or partners. Perhaps we are even living a life through them? Pushing our children to achieve like we may not have been able to, and even neglecting our own dreams by substituting theirs for ours?
In order to lead an authentic life, or ‘keeping it real’, we may, therefore, need to firstly discover what our own values and beliefs are. What do we really want and enjoy in our life besides the things that directly benefit those close to us? But what if we don’t know what these even are? What if we are so lost we have forgotten who we are, and what we even like in life?
Counselling can help you explore your thoughts and feelings about yourself, and gives us the space to reflect on our relationships and find meaning of why they may be troubled. Time also spent alone, and focusing on ourselves can lead us into a path of self-discovery, and towards a journey of self-awareness. This may difficult when we have relied on others to define and shape our own identity, and the discovery of who we are can create ruptures in already established relationships. We all have free will though, and striving for an authentic life is a journey that may take some of us longer than others; if we even choose to pursue it at all. It is, however, a journey worth embarking on, as it can reward us with peace and resilience, and to quote Skin Horse, “when you are real, you don’t mind being hurt” (Williams, 2007).
Williams, M. (2007) The Velveteen Rabbit. Egmont
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About Linda Harris
Linda Harris MSc. Reg. MBACP is an integrative therapist in private practice in Northamptonshire.