In the last blog entry, How Authentic Are You?, I invited you to reflect on some questions to help you connect better with yourself.
How did that go? What came up for you in those quiet moments?
I hope you took some time for that inner reflection because we are going to shift to focusing on some external factors that can also help you become truer to yourself.
“About all you can do in life is be who you are. Some people will love you for you. Most will love you for what you can do for them, and some won’t like you at all.”– Rita Mae Brown
When you have tried to change habits and behaviors to become a better version of yourself, you probably have this idea that it’s all up to you to make it happen; that it’s about your willpower and determination, and if you want it badly enough, you just have to dig down deep in your soul and DO IT. Right?
More than likely, this is what you have been told either consciously or subconsciously for much of your life. The problem is – what happens when you don’t succeed? Or, when you do for a while, but then you fall right back into old patterns and go-to’s?
If you’re like most people, waves of shame or guilt, and negative self-talk wash over you – “Why can’t I stick to this?” or “If I just tried harder” or “If I really cared about this, I would do it” or “I give up – I guess I’m not meant to have/be this”…the list of negative self-talk phrases could go on and on. I know. I’ve been there. Many, many times.
“Let yourself be drawn by the stronger pull of that which you truly love.”– Rumi
What you may not often hear about is how much of your surrounding environment impacts and influences not only your identity, but also your “ability” to stick to being you and making the changes you want or need to make in your life.
I’m talking about the relationships you have in your life, your job, your income, your health, your responsibilities and obligations, your home, the resources you are able to access or not access (i.e. health care, financial services, healthy food, reliable transportation, time, etc.) – ALL – play a role in whether or not making successful lasting change in your life is easier or more difficult to do. For some of you, it’s quite possible that even finding ten minutes to be alone with yourself is a luxury!
So, here are some ideas to help you identify the impact your environment has on your efforts to be your authentic self. They will also help you consider what changes could be made so that your surroundings support your intentions and goals instead of getting in the way of them.
First of all, get curious about the relationships you have in your life. Consider which close family members, friends, and colleagues lift you up and unconditionally accept you for who you are and who you want to be. Also think about which relationships expect you to be who THEY want you to be. What options are available for being around those who are like-minded and who support you more often?
Secondly, make a list of all the resources you have access to at this time in your life. How do they support you in making lasting change and staying true to yourself? For example, maybe you have access to a reliable babysitter, how can this resource be used to help you move forward with your goals? Additionally, consider what resources are missing that could provide you with further opportunities to achieve your vision? What options are available to access some of these needed resources?
Finally, what (or who) can you let go of that may be holding you back from being true to yourself and going after what you want in your life? And, if letting go of some things or people isn’t an option, what can be done to improve the likelihood of you being you and making lasting change in spite of them?
“Never dull your shine for somebody else.”– Tyra Banks
Now, I never said that being responsible for your authenticity would be easy. There are so many positive and negative influences in your life that can shift your perception of who you think you are on any given day. And, depending on how you’re feeling, how you’ve been taking care of yourself, or the supportive or toxic environments you might find yourself in – your perception can work in your favor – or not.
I invite you to take the time to develop a stronger relationship with yourself – it is an essential part of the journey that will help you from being easily deterred off your path toward more meaning and fulfillment in life.