A lot has happened societally over the last several years. People have had to wrestle with numerous challenges and adapt. And still now many are contemplating where we are and what it means moving forward. When there is a lot of change, challenge and angst, it’s normal to be introspective around how you fit in. It can also be a silver lining moment to be unexpectedly led to consider the things that would create a chance for more personal happiness and life satisfaction.
Who is important?
Who is emotionally draining?
Who are your people?
What and who deserves your sacred time?
How do you want to be?
What no longer serves you?
It may seem like a lot to think about and in many ways it is but if you find yourself feeling internally led to change, there’s probably good reason for it. Perhaps there is space opening for you to go deeper within, to understand who you are, what really matters and make adjustments.
If you are ready for a reset or renewal here are some steps.
Notice. Pay attention to your thoughts and emotional response to your environment, the people around you and what brings you joy. Take note of things that don’t feel in alignment. Highlight the things that do or even things you’d like to have or do in your life.
The act of “noticing” is not not natural to all but it can be a developed skill. When you notice, there is more space for awareness, curiosity and presence. It also is a seed for change.
Ponder. When you make time to reflect and be curious, you set the stage for living with more authenticity in relationships (and with self), with intention and in alignment with you. Many actually live in other spaces; in their automatic reactions without thoughtfulness, in a lack of awareness of what they want, need or their impact on others. And some don’t fully connect the dots if they are in spaces that aren’t ultimately serving them well.
The ability to ponder on all of these things further expands the potential for shifts.
Lean in to change. When you’re clear that you need a reset, the next step is to start practicing doing things differently. This could mean a million different things for people but this could include more often saying “no” when you feel “no,” sleeping more if you need it, less alcohol if you want to move away from a drinking lifestyle, putting more energy into higher quality connections…and less to relationships that feel empty or unsatisfying.
Making changes can be met with resistance by others who may be invested in seeing you the same way, for whatever reason. Stay the course, especially if your changes are not harmful to others. If you don’t value and respect your inner wisdom, who will?
Let go of guilt and shame. Whether or not people respond negatively to your growth, your job is to address any inappropriate guilt or shame around your journey to find yourself. Let go of any false beliefs around how you’re “supposed” to be (likely starting from your family of origin experiences).
Prior experiences drive much of human behavior so it’s important to get clear on what shaped you; what has served you well and what has not. You can change direction at any time in your life.
Check in with yourself. As you’re doing the work of getting into deeper touch with who you are and how you want to be in this world, periodically ask yourself how it feels. Do you notice more joy? Do you care less about what others think about how you’ve changed? As you make more authentic and valuable connections with people, you will find this is not an issue.
Remember this: You are a work in progress.
Subtle indicators of internal distress can become a louder voice prompting you to be in better alignment with your true self. The more you can embrace these moments and respond accordingly, the more authenticity and inner peace you will find, allowing you to find others who are in a similar place. They are out there.
How do researchers define authenticity?
- Self-awareness: Knowledge of and trust in one’s own motives, emotions, preferences, and abilities.
- Unbiased processing: Clarity in evaluating your strengths and your weaknesses without denial or blame.
- Behavior: Acting in ways congruent with your own values and needs, even at the risk of criticism or rejection.
- Relational orientation: Close relationships, which inherently require openness and honesty.
And even if you remain connected with people in your life who appear less interested in this path, you can still meet them where they are, as you wish. Perhaps it will be with less emotional attachment and understanding that they are doing what is comfortable for them and if/when they feel differently, perhaps they will go on a similar journey. Or not.
There are many reasons that people choose to live with less connection to their authentic selves. And they may even appear to be less interested in connecting authentically with others. But, their journey is theirs.
If something feels off for you internally and you are feeling intuitive encouragement to change, listen! YOU are the most important expert on YOU. Perhaps your authentic self is trying to get your attention, for good reason.2