Authentic living in today’s world – is it even possible? What does it mean to live authentically and how can it elevate your life?
Chantal here – welcome to my site. I appreciate you stopping by. 🙂
Before you read this post, know that my personal backstory and experience are at the forefront of everything I do. If you don’t want to read about that stuff, this site may not be for you.
But the backstory is such and important component to this particular piece of writing, so I hope you stick around.
Backstory is everything.
Not just for me, but for you, too.
As you think about authentic living, becoming your true self, and living authentically in general, it will be nearly impossible not to consider your backstory.
Let’s start by talking about what authentic living means. To me, authentic living means letting go of what you think you are supposed to be and living in a way that honors your true self.
If it seems a bit granola or a bit weird, that’s because it is. These days, it’s weird to see people living authentically because there is just so much FAKE out there.
Fake food, fake politicians, fake bodies, fake relationships, fake products, fake, fake, fake…
So I guess if we’re speaking plainly, authentic living is just the opposite of being fake.
That is, of course, my simple definition of it. But authentic living is actually quite complex and for some of us, it requires a lot of work.
Work to let go of who we think we should be, work to let go of vanity, work to embrace our true selves, and so much more.
Most people don’t experience true authentic living until they are in their 30s and beyond, and some people may never experience it.
I am only just now in my early 30s and am finally feeling just a tad bit of freedom from my “fake” self.
But it has taken work to get here. I’m not exactly where I want to be, but I’m slowly letting go of who I am NOT meant to be.
It’s required lot of contemplation, writing, more thinking, and a lot of pain.
Yes, authentic living involves pain.
But I would argue that becoming your true self is the most rewarding and freeing process that you will ever go through.
Of course, this is just my working theory.
Stop and think about some of the most successful people you know. Now think about the people who are happy and successful.
Most truly successful and happy people have something very special in common: they made their riches off of their true selves.
I’ll let you think about that for a minute. But my thought is that people who are truly gifted or interested in a particular subject are often the most successful.
Musicians are a prime example. Most of them are in love with music as a whole and many of them had a natural talent or passion for music. They become successful by following their hearts (cheesy, I’m aware) and chasing that dream.
Authentic living doesn’t have to be so extreme, but authentic living may reward you in similar ways.
If you are a Christian, maybe you can see it like this – we were each born with God-given talents and gifts. Using and embracing those things will reward us. Our faith in who we are supposed to be will guide us and protect us.
But where does the pain come in?
Ah yes, the pain. The pain comes in many forms. Sometimes we don’t know what our true gifts, interests, or talents are.
Sometimes our life experiences hurt us but they make us stronger and become a gift.
Other times, we think we have a certain gift or we long for a gift someone else has, and we must deny those things once we discover our true gifts.
For me, authentic living means going back to the drawing board. As I look upon my life, I have to consider the things I have been naturally drawn to since childhood.
I also have to consider my experiences, education, and my natural talents.
Writing has always been one. Simple living and mothering have always been important, too.
But for years and years, I assumed that I was not given any gifts because I didn’t feel I had any talents. So I started to envy people with a seemingly clear path in life and began to adopt other people’s gifts.
I had no clear career path and no clear talents that I could think of. So I simply chose a direction that seemed appealing to me superficially and ran with it.
But I struggled the whole way through.
The journey to authenticity has been full of rejection.
I dropped out of college because I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life.
Since then, there has been heartache after heartache as I have tried to build a career in the wrong realm for the wrong reasons.
I’ll be very honest with you, I have made my fair share of superficial decisions in life.
For over five years now, I have been writing fitness articles and pretending to be in love with fitness. I do enjoy exercise, but I made it my whole personality.
I became a personal trainer because it was “cool” – but that isn’t really my only interest. That was the vanity talking.
I think back on my life and writing has always been my one true love, so at least I am not entirely off-the-mark.
However, I have forced myself to write about things I feel little passion for and sometimes even feel wrong talking about.
The world doesn’t need more superficial weight loss advice. It needs truth, it needs light, and it needs encouragement.
But that doesn’t mean it was all for naught. The years I have spent trying to be a fitness influencer led me here.
They taught me marketing, they taught me how to build a website, and they taught me what isn’t my true self.
I also have to appreciate these years where I was extremely focused on fitness because I learned a lot about how to keep myself healthy when in dark times.
Having babies is hard. Being a homemaker in this society is lonely. Depression and anxiety are the worst.
Those years focused on exercise and nutrition helped me through all of that.
But now I am on the other side and that much closer to my true self.
When I sat down to write this post, I was dreaming about dark, rainy days with a cup of coffee and, well – writing.
A day-in-the-life of my most authentic self includes tending to my garden, cooking from-scratch meals, baking, coffee, writing, and a bit of exercise.
I may even have chickens.
Over the years, I have dreamt of these things countless times, but I had always pushed them away because that is not the life I have right now.
My mind has always had a mental block saying, “There is no possible way you can have those things.”
But why? Do you know how many times I have subconsciously acknowledged the fact that maybe I’m not meant to be a fitness influencer, but simply a writer?
Why do we deny our true selves?
I believe that we all have personal reasons for denying ourselves an authentic life. We have influences from the past and present driving us away from our most authentic selves.
At the end of the day, authentic living requires constant denial of intrusive thoughts, imposter syndrome, and society’s opinion.
We must constantly and consciously accept who we are and what we are meant to do.
You know those dreams that have been with you since day one?
They are there for a reason.
It’s my belief that when we choose to look within and acknowledge our true gifts, dreams, and passions, we will have success.
But not just the rat-race type of success – I’m talking about inner success.
True happiness and peace of mind that will rest our souls and ease our pain.
But how do you pursue authentic living if you don’t know where to start?
For me, it started with taking note of what thoughts kept returning time and time again.
Those things that were just nagging me. Things that had me daydreaming and things that kept me up at night.
Then I started thinking way back to when I was genuinely happy. Doing this always brings me back to being nose-deep in a fat novel while spending the summers at my Aunt’s farm.
The best dusks were spent with my nose in a book after a long day of work in the gardens or simply tinkering around the farm.
Another thing I keep coming back to were my natural interests and strengths academically. It was always English and language arts.
I went to writing conventions, studied novelists and their methods for fun, and aced my college writing classes.
Blogging is a different thing, of course, and I love it’s casual nature. But still, there is that.
So – what are you good at? What do you find yourself dreaming about?
Not just today, but for years now?
What hard life lessons have you had that have actually made you stronger?
For me, being depressed, suicidal and lonely as a homemaker who lacked purpose and direction were pretty big.
That brings me to this blog.
After writing in many niches and owning many different websites, it is the truest possible version of who I am.
I’m not making any rules, and I am not promising anything.
This blog is for me to write what I please on the topics I adore most. It is self-titled because I won’t box myself into anything else.
My website will only contain content that reflects my true self and the topics I feel most passionate about.
Slow and authentic living, homemaking and backyard gardening, personal development and business, sourdough baking and books, and ultimately – finding purpose in a busy, fake & fast-paced world.
A Final Plea
I’m of the opinion that the world doesn’t need one more copycat. It is okay to try new things and explore various interests, but we the world needs your true self.
There is only one “you,” and your unique combination of experience, education, and natural gifts is unmatched.
It can be hard to know what your gifts and talents are and what you are meant to do. Keep going and keep looking inward – you will discover yourself in time.
Learning to decipher between what you think you should do based on the world around you versus the person who you are really meant to be can be difficult.
Keep working that muscle and listening to yourself – no one else’s opinion matters.
Know that you do indeed have gifts and talents that you are meant to share with the world, and have faith that you will find your place in time.
Best of luck on your journey,