Being authentic is the emergence of your genuine self. It is when we arrive at who WE say we are and we do not rely on how others define us.
Being true to ourselves allows our actions to align with what our core believes.
When there is a shift in our actions that cause conflict with our inner beliefs, difficulties will arise in our life creating speed bumps and sometimes complete roadblocks making us feel stuck.
When you have chronic pain, it increases and complicates the roadblocks further. Like when someone asks how you are doing. I’ve always had trouble answering that question.
My hubby and I have code words. If I tell someone I am “peachy” then he knows the pain level is high, but I don’t want to complain. Most people do not understand the experiences people with pain go through.
It’s easier to just say you are fine. This false response creates stress because we want to be real about our experience and the pressure of not being authentic creates more pain; physical and emotional. So, we are not helping ourselves when we lie about how we feel because it is easier for others to accept or so that we don’t have to say no.
SIGNS YOU AREN’T LIVING AN AUTHENTIC LIFE
You are a people pleaser – do you do things for others out of guilt? Feeling like you must do everything for everyone will get in the way of your self-care.
Honoring others is important but not at the expense of our health. It is not selfish to take the time for ourselves.
Some days I find my body exhausted and in excruciating pain. I only have myself to blame sometimes because I did not say no to a request or make the time to take care of myself.
Refueling yourself is the best way to be able to give to others
You question your own thoughts – do you rely on others to validate your feelings? Doubt fuels negative thinking. We can find ourselves quickly spiraling down when we doubt ourselves. I constantly doubt myself. I doubt myself right now while I am writing this! On some days my unbelief in myself can be paralyzing.
You compare yourself to others – do you feel like other people have it all together and you don’t? I have a love-hate relationship with social media. So much of it is fake. No one and I mean no one has a perfect life. A friend of mine told me that her daughter would spend hours taking selfies to post one picture online. Hours to post one picture! Live who you are.
You blame others for your problems to avoid dealing with them- do you accept responsibility for your actions? Isn’t it easier to blame someone else? It takes the pressure off of ourselves and relieves the feeling that we need to take some action. There is a little part of everyone that does not want to accept responsibility for the things we do. Not taking control of your actions is just denying there is a problem and denial will keep you stuck. Look at yourself honestly but remember to look with love also.
When we do not live authentically, we become stuck where we are at in life which can lead to depression and anxiety.
I developed severe anxiety and depression after the back and leg pain began to be daily in 2014. I lived in the pit with all of these things I listed above and it kept me frozen with fear. I did not want to leave my house or see anyone. And I definitely didn’t want anyone coming over and seeing my home.
Over the past 2 years, I have worked very hard on trying to stop the control that fear has over my life. I have picked up a few tips on living authentically I’d like to share with you. It will give you a few tools to find your happy place by learning to live and love who you really are, even with chronic pain. Your life can still be exceptional!
HOW TO EMERGE AS WHO YOU WANT TO BE
Decide to accept yourself. We need to love ourselves on purpose as we are at this exact moment. We can choose to love ourselves like we can choose to be angry or to be sad.
Accepting ourselves can be especially hard if we feel our body has let us down because we have chronic pain.
Living in a shell of a body that always seems to fail can make us feel unworthy of joy if we allow it to.
We each need to meet ourselves where we are at in this world and begin a real journey of self-discovery. We are exquisitely made by our Creator. Be you.
Make a list of your strengths. Whatever we are good at should be celebrated. With chronic pain, life can be challenging.
Think of all that you have overcome and put it on this list. You are reading this, so you are still standing. We may have lost some of our strengths, but we cannot forget to remind ourselves of what we can still accomplish.
I promise you that you can continue to have fulfillment with chronic pain. Dig deeper, and you can find new ways to be strong. Don’t forget you are intelligent and creative.
Stop listening to the negative voice in your head. Our minds are powerful, and we can decide where our thoughts go. Your thoughts also decide your next steps in life.
Just remember that we would probably never speak to other people the way that we talk to ourselves.
Slow down your thoughts to find out what you are saying to yourself and change the dialogue to be who you want to be.
Distance yourself from the people that do not believe in you. Your feelings and thoughts are important.
We need to surround ourselves with people that will nurture us, helping us reach our true potential, not tearing us down or keeping us stuck.
Grieve your previous life before your chronic pain or illness. I wish I had a magical way of going through grief without any pain, but everyone is much too different to have one tried and true way to get through grief. The five stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance and are a part of the framework that helps us understand what we are experiencing when we grieve a loss. I would suggest if you feel stuck in any of the stages of grief to seek out professional help.
Spend time doing the things you love. I am doing a complete overhaul of how I spend my time every day. I feel like I don’t have time for everything I want to accomplish. I have found that I need to make blocks of time and set them aside for the things that I enjoy doing. Find what you love and do it.
Communicate with the people around you. I understand now that I need to communicate truthfully with the people close to me. It is incredible how much of a difference being real has helped with feeling good mentally and physically. I encourage you to do it but if you haven’t had a voice in a while. Go easy on those around you. Explain to them the things you want to change in your life and recruit their help.
You can live your whole life and never reveal your real self to the world. What a shame that would be not to be truly known. You can decide today to live authentically and find happiness. You can learn to love yourself and even be proud of yourself. It creates better life opportunities and promotes creativity. It empowers us to live our best life, even with chronic pain.
Your life is not over. In some ways, when you get to this vantage point of living authentically, your life has just begun.
Much Love and Many Prayers,
Photo by Micah Hill on Unsplash
Photo by Taylor Smith on Unsplash
Photo by Ivan Karasev on Unsplash