Living an honest and authentic life may sound like a natural way to be. However, the reality is that it isn't always so simple!
You may be someone who finds it difficult to say how they truly feel, or perhaps you struggle to maintain authenticity in your relationships as you find it hard to always let go and be yourself.
There are countless reasons why many of us sometimes find it challenging to express how we are really feeling. One of the common ways that we try to hide this struggle is by putting on a mask to hide our true selves. This mask helps us to feel brave, to feel confident, and to be more comfortable in certain situations. However, this mask is also covering up our true and authentic selves!
Open and Honest Communication
If we want to manifest a joyful and personally fulfilling existence, then we must be honest with ourselves, and with others. If we can't manage this, then we will continue to live inauthentic lives and this can quickly become a detriment to our own happiness!
We must learn to speak what we genuinely feel in a loving and kind way, and to maintain this level of communication in all that we do.
Sometimes starting honest and deep conversations with those who are close to us can seem terrifying. This is especially the case if there is a conflict to resolve between the two of you. Emotions can be running high, personality differences can manifest, or it may just be a super-sensitive topic.
When you learn to speak your authentic truth without letting emotions get out of hand – staying calm, cool and collected – you will find that this helps you through these conversations.
Being able to communicate in this way will also better enable you to have more meaningful relationships. You are being honest and you are not hiding anything, which essentially means that the mask is off!
Leave Your Mask Off
Every time you are in a situation where you feel you are in danger of putting your mask back on, then try to embrace the following advice. It can of course be difficult, and there is much comfort to be had in playing it safe instead of being vulnerable, but this is essential if you are to move towards genuine authenticity.
Always be honest
First and foremost, basing everything you say on total honesty is an incredible way to achieve true authenticity.
Although this is of course concerned with the bigger things, it also includes those little white lies. They may seem harmless, and perhaps they sometimes are, but do they make you feel good? The chances are that they don't, and they can actually normalise the act of being dishonest.
The truth can be hard to express at first and it can hurt both you and others – but, trust me, dishonesty hurts everyone so much more. Once you start embracing the habit of being honest, with yourself and with others, those feelings of shame, guilt and embarrassment will begin to disappear.
Start with positive intentions
Begin every conversation and interaction with positive intentions and try to hold on to this positivity, regardless of the direction things go in.
If you know you need to have a difficult conversation or are entering into a situation where there is a lot of negative energy present, then remind yourself of your intentions.
Take a few breaths before initiating the conversation and say to yourself,
‘I am going to bring my positive energy in and stay true to myself’
When you do this, then no matter how difficult things are, you will notice that you are less prone to defensive or angry responses.
Know your role
When you are communicating with another person it can be really helpful to always be aware of what your role is within each interaction.
Are you the listener in this situation, or is someone actively seeking your advice? Perhaps you are being asked to provide an explanation, or to give an account of something that has happened.
If your past behaviour or actions are the reason for a conversation that is taking place, be honest about all that has happened. Your main focus at all times should be reaching a resolution that everyone is happy with and providing an honest insight.
If you know that this conversation is happening because of something you need to apologise for or explain, then it is all the more important that you are willing to listen and learn. Vulnerability is a strength and not a weakness, and with the admission of vulnerability comes respect.
Speak for yourself
Yours is the only truth that you can genuinely and authentically speak, so make sure that you never try to be the voice of anyone else. That is of course unless they ask you to be because they are struggling with their own ability to speak their truth!
When you talk to other people, always try to speak from your own perspective, and be clear that the opinions and feelings you are offering are your own.
Never make assumptions
Not fully understanding a situation is totally normal, especially if you feel you haven't been given all of the information, or have been given just one side of a story.
It is when we make our own assumptions about events that we have been told, heard or read – or perhaps even situations that we have experienced – that things start to go wrong. That can often lead to unnecessary negative energy circulating and for other people to make false assumptions. Observe situations with accuracy and remember that you never know what other people might be going through.
Express Your Emotions
At the end of the day, living an authentic life means never being dishonest about the way you feel, and acknowledging that all of your thoughts, feelings and emotions are valid in all situations!
Expressing these emotions, and communicating clearly and calmly with those around you can help you to process and understand them better, as well as helping you to build more meaningful relationships.
These are things that we surely all want to embrace as we move through life!