10 Simple Rules for Living an Authentic Life

Rule Number 1: Be Honest. ALWAYS

People ask me all the time where my positive energy comes from. Many of them think it’s because I quit my job in April and that’s definitely part of it, but it’s not the whole story.

For the last two years I’ve been on a huge self exploration binge. I’ve had life coaching, I’ve indulged all my passions, I’ve read every book on spirituality, self transformation and motivation that I could get my hands on. I’ve been on yoga retreats, I’ve been to meditation classes, I’ve fasted and detoxed. I’ve travelled for extended periods of time. I’ve ziplined in the jungle. I’ve been to every woo woo workshop out there. I’ve had singing lessons and dancing lessons. I’ve pushed my boundaries in every way I can think of. I’ve tried everything, without doubts and without judgments.

10 Simple Rules for Living an Authentic Life

And what I’ve learned boils down to something incredibly simple. True happiness lies in accepting yourself completely and learning to be yourself in every moment, whether you are accepted by others or not. I’m not there yet, but at least I can see where I’m going with this now.  For years I was blocked and miserable. I was so afraid to be myself. I craved the approval of other people, but I suspect they sensed the faking. As a result relationships were always difficult and fraught with misunderstandings. I’ve learned the hard way that you cannot depend on anyone else for your happiness. Friends, family, partners, children. They can’t help you with this. You have to do it yourself.

I was originally going to make this one post but I talk too much and it got a bit long so I decided to write about one of these rules each week. So here’s number 1:

Rule Number 1: Be honest. ALWAYS.

It’s always the best way. Believe me. And most of all, be honest with yourself. Sometimes when we’re stressed and unhappy, it’s hard to hear the voice of own intuition. How do we separate the nasty Voices in Your Head that tell you you’re useless and you can’t do anything, from the intuitive voice inside you that tells you that something isn’t right for you?

I struggle with this a lot but lately I’ve taken to doing my best to get to know each of these voices so I can recognise them. For me, the little voice of my inner intuition is always there but often gets overpowered by my inner critic, which now only really shows up at times of stress and panic. There was a time when my inner critic’s chatter was incessant and I couldn’t hear myself think. I would mistake this stream of consciousness rant for my feelings about things and I made poor choices as a result.

Try this trick to figure out which voice is speaking to you:

When you find yourself feeling strong emotions about something, stop for a moment to recognise what is happening. Rather than getting caught up in the story running through your head, take a few moments to explore what’s really going on. Sit for a moment with your eyes closed. Take a deep breath. Now scan your body. How do you feel? How are you breathing? Where is there tension in your body? How fast is your heartbeat? Where do you feel energy in your body?

10 Simple Rules for Living an Authentic Life

I find that, when my breathing is shallow and in my upper chest, when my temples feel tight, when my stomach feels hard, when my heart is pumping and I feel the majority of energy in my upper body, I can’t trust that what is coming to me is the truth of how I really feel. The inner critic just thrives in that environment and I know it shouts, whereas my intuition whispers. I need to get back to a sense of equilibrium in my body. I get this through yoga. You might get it through other activities but I think it does usually require a physical activity, even if it’s just a walk around the block. You need to get the energy more evenly dispersed around your body. You literally need to get your feet back on the ground.

Once I get myself back into a calm, present place, I can hear my intuition again. Even if I don’t particularly like what it has to say, at least I know it comes from the reservoirs of myself, and not from a place of anxiety and fear. Maybe it’s telling me that I don’t want to be in this relationship anymore, that it’s not giving me what I need. Maybe it’s telling me that I can’t be happy in this job or in this house. Maybe it’s telling me what I need. Maybe it’s telling me what I don’t need. But I know that it comes from my heart. And when I listen to that voice, and only that voice, I’ve already done the hard work in being honest with someone else.