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How to Be Radically Authentic and Align With Your True Purpose

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I’ve realized, over time, that authenticity is the first step to true spirituality.  Not only that but a key ingredient to true success in life. Why? Because we are only truly successful when we are doing something we LOVE, something we are truly aligned with. A truer purpose perhaps, and one that reflects your deepest passions and personality.

Yes, authenticity is being genuine, telling the truth and saying what you mean, but it also involves integrity in all areas of one’s life and the ability to be true to one’s REAL self.

What’s radical authenticity?

There are obvious situations in life where, in order to be honest and authentic requires a great deal of strength and courage in the midst of fear, especially when it involves the opinions of others.

So for me radical authenticity is actually stepping out of your comfort zone. It’s about standing for what you think, believe and feel, even when it’s inconvenient. Even when the thought of it gets you quaking with fear!

I don’t pretend that I’m there yet. Like most of us, I want to give in to my fears and take the easy route countless times in a day, to not speak the truth because you are afraid of what someone’s response might be or what they may think of you, say or do.

“People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.” – Dalai Lama

The webs we weave

We ALL have wounds and distorted beliefs about our own selves. Authenticity is looking at ourselves with growing awareness & sorting through these ‘untruths’ that have held us back from being who we truly are.

When we take the time to strip this away, we get back in touch with the individual self we were ultimately created to be. Going there takes courage and perseverance and this is such a necessary step along the journey towards wholeness and true success.

The masks we wear

Once we start stripping back these layers – how we think we should behave, what everyone expects of us, what society expects of us – the masks we wear even to ourselves, then automatically we’ll start to see and feel who we really are.

We tend to define ourselves by these created parts of ourselves, the parts that are there to make us feel a bit more powerful and in control, or a bit more desirable, stronger, or whatever it is that we feel we’re missing within ourselves, so we hold onto them for dear life!

New Age circles talk about ‘finding your true self’, but I’ve found that if you go looking as if it’s something you need to ‘find’, all you’ll find is another type of mask.

Personally, I’ve found that as I’ve let go of some of the roles, the obligations, the pressures to be a certain way, the ways of being that make others more comfortable, or that feel safer and more acceptable somehow, that I automatically start to feel more of my real self.

“Definiteness of purpose is the starting point of all achievement.” – W. Clement Stone

Are you a be-er or a do-er?

Particularly in the western world, we get so caught up in ‘doing’ and the myriad of roles we think we have to play. We’ve been taught that in order to be accepted and loved, we have to do things. So we don’t know how to just be. But in order to align to our true self and purpose, we actually have to learn how to let ourselves BE. Slow it down and create the space to be with yourself.

Aligning with true purpose

Asking ‘How well do I really know myself ?’ is a great question. We often assume that we do, but asking this with genuine curiosity can deliver surprising results. What are the reasons I’m doing what I’m currently doing with my time? Do I love what I’m doing? Does it make my heart sing? What would I be doing if I wasn’t afraid? What are my dearest values and what do I really believe in?

Purpose is a great word. It’s definition is actually the reason or meaning behind doing what we do, our intention behind it. So in order for something to be a TRUE purpose it needs to have meaning to us.

We need to really BELIEVE in it. And belief comes from the heart. If you are your authentic self you have no competition! I’m not all the way there yet, and I’m still a chronic ‘doer’, but feeling more and more of the real me feels wonderful, and requires a lot less energy!

I still occasionally ask myself the question: ‘How can I get more real & in truth with myself and move more towards living a life that is more in alignment with who I REALLY am?’ Are you prioritising your time with the things you really believe in and are aligned with?

What could you do today to get more into alignment with true purpose and make room for more of that in your life? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

Sam Sundara is the creator of Holistic Mumma, a passionate writer, health coach, educator, and mum. With a background of 18 years as a natural therapist, in community services & counselling and a passion for spiritual psychology, Sam offers a holistic view to parenting & wellbeing. You can connect with her on her Facebook.

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Online Essay Writers UK

    Mar 20, 2018 at 5:59 am

    Great and true post. Eminem said in his song ‘beautiful’ “God gave you them shows to fit you, so be yourself man, be proud of who you are, and even it sounds crazy, don’t let anyone tell you ‘you ain’t beautiful’. “

  2. Aaron Force

    Mar 2, 2018 at 9:08 pm

    These are really dear subjects to me, authenticity and purpose. They really are related, aren’t they? I’ve come to the same conclusion, too, that as we get closer to our Authentic Self we get closer to our purpose. Thanks for sharing— what a great article!

  3. Karin Sebelin

    Feb 27, 2018 at 12:20 pm

    Good question: “Are you a be-er or a do-er?”

    –> “We’ve been taught that in order to be accepted and loved, we have to do things. So we don’t know how to just be.”

    We should learn to be one with ourselves, with our true #purpose.

    Thank you for this wonderful inspiration.

    Best regards

    • Sam Sundara

      Mar 1, 2018 at 11:13 am

      So glad you enjoyed the article Karin. Happy ‘being’! 🙂

  4. Isaac Wechuli

    Feb 26, 2018 at 10:17 am

    Wonderful article. i also believe that conforming to the societal expectations is the number one thing that prevents us from being our true selves. Conformity eliminates authenticity because by conforming we will always try to ensure that we do what other people want us to do..Ditch the society, embrace solitude, and you will find your true self

    • Sam Sundara

      Feb 27, 2018 at 10:32 am

      Thank you for your comments Isaac. Absolutely, making time to be with yourself and stepping away from the roles and identity we often have within our community & culture to find out who we are really, underneath all those layers, can be very powerful!

  5. Gregory (Pappi) Henderson

    Feb 25, 2018 at 6:04 pm

    Great Post Sam, Our true Identity is hidden behind many masks for sure and the only path to align with our true purpose is to be happy and love ourselves first. Until we can truly love ourselves we’ll always struggle with breaking out of our comfort zone which has become a self-made prison cell for our thoughts and feelings. You have touched on some great points to meditate on and apply to how lives, really appreciate the insight 🙂

    • Sam Sundara

      Feb 26, 2018 at 9:38 am

      Thank you Pappi, glad you connected to some insights on the subject. I believe we automatically start to feel more joy & happiness once we start to become more connected to our real self, our true passions & desires and take action on them because it feels right and so satisfying to be doing what’s really in our hearts! <3

  6. Amir Ayaz

    Feb 25, 2018 at 11:08 am

    Great Article.

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3 Simple Hacks That Can Recharge Your Willpower and Help You Perform Better at Work

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How many times did you wake up feeling like you could conquer the world? You set ambitious goals for the day, you put on your best attire and walked out the door with a big smile on your face but eventually, life took over. Traffic, emails, work, family, and everything else you have around slowly but steadily started to drain your energy and made you feel exhausted.

You run out of battery, and the only solution that seemed viable was to rely on more caffeine. When that stopped working, all the temptations around you started to look much more appealing, and that sense of drive and commitment you had before slowly faded away. This is you running out of willpower.

Willpower: what is it? Why is it limited?

The American Psychology Association describes willpower as “the ability to resist short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals.” In the book “The Willpower Instinct”, Dr. Kelly McGonigal, explains how every person’s willpower is limited, and slowly depletes throughout the day. The more “willpower challenges” you face, the quicker your reserve drains. Dr. McGonigal divided the different types of willpower challenges you might encounter in three categories:

  • I will: We face this type of challenge whenever we should do something, but we simply don’t feel like getting it done right now.
  • I won’t: We face this challenge when we try to resist temptation, or we try to keep cool in stressful situations.
  • I want: This is a particular type of challenge where we keep track of our long term goals, dreams, and desires. In this instance, we feel like we should take action right now to come one step closer to the goal. 

It’s easy to recognize it when you face a willpower challenge because you literally “feel it in your body.” Imagine being really hungry and walking in front of a bakery. The sight and the smell of pastries quickly triggers an “I won’t” type of challenge, and it takes a severe amount of effort and energy to walk away.

Every time you manage to win one of those challenges, a little bit of your willpower reserve gets used. The more challenges you face daily, the harder it will be to stay true to your goals.

Can you train or recharge your willpower?

A growing body of research suggests that willpower should be considered a muscle. To strengthen it, you should exercise it regularly, but you should not overwork it. Therefore, we shouldn’t try to “be good” at all times. Instead, we should learn how to relax and recharge our willpower.

The general advice on how to improve willpower involves sleep, proper nutrition, and regular exercise. This broad and general recommendation is often not downright applicable by most, because it consists of changing various daily habits. Luckily, three very effective hacks have been discovered, that have an immediate effect on our willpower and take just a few minutes to apply.

Here are the 3 ways to refill your willpower reserves:

1. Focused breathing

Breathing, when done correctly, can stimulate the release of calming hormones while reducing the release of stress hormones like cortisol and catecholamines. To make this effective, you should deeply and slowly inhale through the nose for at least five seconds. Fill your belly with air first, then your chest, and when there’s no more space for air, still try to do tiny inhalations through the nose.

You should feel a pulling sensation around your neck and trapezius muscles. Once your lungs are full, try to hold the breath for five seconds, then slowly exhale through the mouth for at least five seconds. If you repeat this process ten to twenty times, you should feel dramatically more relaxed. Use this method several times a day, especially when you’re experiencing high levels of stress or anxiety.

2. Reward yourself when you accomplish a micro goal

According to a recent study, frequent instant rewards can boost motivation, and therefore, willpower. Creating your own reward system can help you to accomplish your to-do list, and also resist temptations. Since every individual has different tastes, you should come up with creative ideas about the small and frequent rewards you will give yourself upon winning any willpower challenge.

You can see this hack in practice in Apps like the popular Duolinguo, where after completing each lesson you get presented with a chance to open a treasure chest. This rewarding system seems to keep the users much more likely to keep learning new lessons.

3. Taking cold showers

Your body has an autonomic response to cold water. Getting into a cold shower is a difficult (but minor) willpower challenge on its own. As I previously mentioned, winning a willpower challenge strengthens your willpower muscle. Having a morning cold shower, on top of having multiple health benefits, will set you up for a positive winning streak of further challenges.

High performance is the sum of many small habits. Successful people don’t have an unlimited reserve of willpower, but they do have a set of daily rituals that made them succeed. These three hacks are some of the most effective techniques to develop willpower, but some of them may not fit every individual. You should try to find the perfect mix of daily practices that best fits your lifestyle and likes, so that you can strengthen your willpower muscle and perform better at work.

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