What is authenticity? Webster defines it as “living true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character.”Yet sometimes it’s hard to determine what our own true feelings and needs are. Especially if we have spent the majority of our lives sacrificing ourselves for others and not living authentically. Socrates said it best when he said, “To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.” The Greeks felt that this maxim was powerful enough that it was one of the first of three maxims inscribed in the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. The two maxims that follow “know thyself” are “nothing to excess” and “certainty brings insanity.”
Living with Authenticity—Awareness & the Heart-Centered Approach
But how do all of these relate to us in the 21st Century? Various Gurus have written about the concept of authenticity for centuries. The human condition is one where we learn best by falling down then getting up and wiping off our knees and asking ourselves, “what did I learn from that?” To know ourselves and to have a deep awareness of what our souls yearn for, what we desire, and what our soul’s purpose is the way and path to depth and character. Instead of “living lives of quiet desperation” to use Thoreau’s famous quote, we learn to live deliberately with authenticity. Some of us spend decades on automatic pilot, and it isn’t until we are forced to slow down that we realize what happens by rushing through life as though it were a flip-book. Like Thoreau, when we come to the end of our lives, we want our existence to have meant something. We want to feel that we have truly lived the life that was given to us.
The Power of Self-Love & Authenticity
It’s commendable that we make huge sacrifices for those we love, yet when these sacrifices start to deplete us, we will realize that there are consequences to years of emptiness. This dysfunctional way of living leads to resentments, health issues, broken relationships, depression, anxiety, etc. The key is to create a balance between our needs and the needs of others. Self-inquiry is paramount…asking questions such as, what do I want, or what do I need to be happy, or what is my soul’s purpose and am I moving in that direction. We may also ask ourselves, what do I need to change in my life in order to be content and healthy?
Achieving Peace: An Adventure of the Authentic Soul
To live with authenticity is to live a rich, fulfilling life with an awareness of balance, peace, love, and truth. This type of authenticity is not an egoic (selfish) one, instead it is about learning to put healthy self-care first in order to be the best person we can be for ourselves, thus becoming the best person we for those around us. Sometimes we have to restructure our lives in order to achieve this balance. This can be hard in our modern work/ambition-driven world. We can help. SpiritQuest teaches principles of authentic living and achieving peace. Read the journey of one man to re-alignment in order to achieve authenticity.
Read a powerful, personal account of this kind of life transformation The Heart Speaks.