Dear Readers, the benefits and consequences of living an authentic life have been on my mind a lot recently, as I continue to contemplate if it’s truly possible to do so. Everywhere I turn I see articles, books and workshops encouraging us to live an authentic life. And this idea is not just in new age, metaphysical and self-help books; it's gone mainstream; i.e., in J.K. Rowling’s new fiction book, A Casual Vacancy, there’s a character that makes a decision to live a completely authentic life, and that decision, interestingly, has unpleasant consequences.
To me, being authentic means being true to yourself, to who you are, and perhaps even to what you’re feeling at any given moment. I cannot help but see both positive and negative sides to being 100% authentic; for instance: Should we say exactly what we feel or think, even if it will hurt someone’s feelings? I’m thinking here of the continued admonitions from my Guide Groups about the energetic effects of our thoughts and words.
And what are the social and economic consequences of being 100% authentic? I can share with you that recently, after holding in certain feelings for nearly two years, I finally opened up about those feelings to someone who could effect change for me, those changes were made, and I feel like a new woman—but it could have gone another way--you just don't know until you express yourself. I feel sure that holding in your true feelings as I did is not synonymous with living an authentic life, yet I feel sure that choosing when and how to best express those feelings is equally important to expressing them. Do we say, ‘That dress makes you look fat,’ or ‘Your blue dress makes you look fabulous,’ or is it better to say nothing at all rather than saying exactly what we think?
Because I am intent on learning more about how to reconcile living an authentic life with the confines of existing social and spiritual paradigms, to help me better understand what is meant by the expression living an authentic life, I have enlisted the aid of two dear friends who have done much to help others live authentic lives, and who both strive to do so themselves:
From Intuitive Medium, Metaphysical Radio Show Host, and Spiritual Teacher Shelly Wilson: ‘I believe that living authentically involves being genuine with all people you come into contact with. This means not being afraid to be yourself or to feel the need to hide certain aspects of yourself due to fear of what others may think. It’s necessary to allow the ‘real deal’ to shine through always. In other words, you are aligning your thoughts, words, and actions with your beliefs. You are walking your talk and talking your walk.
I feel that it is important to always be conscious of the energy you are putting out in the Universe. Being mindful of the words you choose to express is being considerate of others’ feelings yet still allows one to be authentic. It’s important to honor and respect everyone’s beliefs, yet not always energetically appropriate to share your own. In no way do I feel that if you choose to remain silent are you being less than authentic; rather, I feel that you are simply being compassionate. There is a difference.'
From Spiritual Psychotherapist, Author and Columnist, Jill Lebeau, MFT: ‘Sherri, I am honored that you included me in your article. I mean that authentically. While we tend to associate being authentic with saying something of a confrontational nature to someone, it’s also fully expressing the truth about how much we love people and feel great being included! Without authenticity, there’s no real intimacy. Not only do people often feel afraid of dealing with confrontation, they also tend to feel uncomfortable expressing their love and appreciation. That’s the fear of intimacy running both ways. Here’s the deal: It’s expensive when we don’t feel free to speak our truth; we stagnate our energy and slip right out of the delicious flow of Universal energy.
Of course, we ideally are communicating out of conscious awareness, being sensitive to the other person’s feelings. With that said, the truth does set us free. I have always been someone who naturally speaks my truth – which is why I was so popular in my family of origin. I was the one who couldn’t help pointing out the elephant in the room. While my truth-telling nature may not have scored me many points in my younger days, today it is a source of great joy. I see being authentic as a gift…I wouldn’t want someone to B.S. me about their feelings toward me. And when I’m authentic with someone, it’s offered in the spirit of wanting to maintain clear energy within the relationship (because I care about them) and within myself.
Sherri, you mentioned coming clean with someone recently and then feeling like a new woman. That’s it. Every time I choose to be authentic with someone, there’s an immediate release of the stuck energy which feels fantastic. It takes the relationship to a whole new level. Truth is a form of love and when we speak our truth, we are conveying our love for the other, in addition to honoring and loving ourselves. Authenticity? It’s a gift.’
Shelly and Jill have given me much to meditate about, and I’m beginning to see that learning to live an authentic life is as much of a journey as is our search for the truth of who we are and why we’re here. I think it's a journey that, once begun, will serve to continually open windows of opportunity for learning and allow us to take positive steps toward expediting our spiritual growth.
More about Shelly Wilson: Intuitive Medium, Reiki Master and Spiritual Teacher Shelly Wilson assists people on their spiritual journey. With respect, truth, integrity and love, Shelly honors free will and recognizes that we are co-creating our reality with the Universe. The Shelly Wilson Show airs live each Wednesday at 2:00 pm CST on Blog Talk Radio. Contact Shelly through her website and/or Facebook.
More about Jill Lebeau: Spiritual Psychotherapist, Author, and Examiner.com Columnist for Spiritual Inspiration, Jill Lebeau is the co-author of the ground-breaking book, Feng Shui Your Mind--Four Easy Steps to Rapidly Transform Your Life. With 28 years of clinical experience, Jill is passionate about teaching people simple but powerful ways they can create success through ease. A visionary in her work, Jill has been featured in the San Francisco Chronicle and other Bay Area newspapers. Along with seeing clients in her Albany office, she provides phone sessions coast to coast, and loves assisting people to rapidly transform their life through laughter and joy. Contact Jill through her website and or Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.
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