If you were asked to describe your authentic self, what words or descriptions would you use?
At first glance, this may seem simple to answer.
But what if your authentic self goes beyond your name, age, marital status, what your profession currently is or used to be, or even what you do for fun?
What gets in the way of knowing and embracing your authentic self are pre-determined categories and pre-imposed definitions about who you are that shaped your sense of value and self-worth.
Now, here we are, 60 and over, and I wonder how many of us truly have an idea of who or what our authentic self is.
I know for myself that I didn’t start getting a sense of who my authentic self is until the last 10 to 15 years. Knowing more of who I truly am remains a work in progress to this very day.
To help you get a better sense of who your authentic self is, I am going to share what it means to “Embrace Your Authentic Self.” This is the fifth of a six-part series titled, “5 Simple Steps to Being What It Is We Seek.”
Most of our generation were not raised or educated early on to develop a healthy relationship with our authentic self.
Not surprisingly, as we became adults, other people’s opinions about us and the value of our accomplishments served as benchmarks for our place in the world. In spite of this, each of us did our best to be authentic.
But is it possible in our efforts to be loved, accepted, and valued, we lost track of who we truly are? To better answer that, let’s look at what it meant for many of us to be authentic during the era we grew up in.
Whether we were struggling or succeeding, to get our desires met likely placed us in environments that demanded we sacrifice our authentic self. This sacrifice was made in order to be someone else’s version of who they wanted or needed us to be.
This sacrifice was acceptable for two reasons.
While all of this may have seemed normal, deep down we knew that it is not natural.
How do we begin to reverse the effects of this today?
The answer comes down to getting clear on what voice are you under the influence of when you have a desire to improve any part of your life after 60.
If you are like most people, the voice you have been listening to for a majority of your life is what psychologists refer to as your negative introject. Another name it goes by is your inner critic.
Your inner critic’s voice speaks through a fixed mindset based on fear, scarcity, and unworthiness. It creates resistance to positive change and will conjure up reasons why you can’t be, do, and have what you desire.
The voice of your authentic self is based on unconditional love. It encourages you to have your deepest desires met and supports positive changes.
Your authentic self guides you through life with a growth mindset. This means your mind and heart are open to new things.
Your authentic self also encourages you to use the power of your childhood imagination to be curious and explore new ways to enjoy life. Therefore, the more you trust and embrace your authentic self the easier and more abundant life becomes.
Listening to and trusting your authentic self seems like a no-brainer. Why is it so difficult to do?
Here are four big obstacles to embracing your true, authentic self:
To overcome these obstacles requires less time worrying about what you don’t have and more time embracing the authentic part of you who knows you are worthy of your desires.
When you feel any doubt creeping up, remind yourself that as doors to your past are closed, a new door to create the life of your dreams after 60 opens. Trust you are ready to walk through that door.
As poet Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe once wrote: “As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.”
In the next article and video of this series for Sixty and Me, we will focus on step five of being what it is you seek, “Play with Your Desires.”
In the meantime, join me in the video where I will share additional insights on embracing your authentic self, and I will guide you through three journal prompts.
Have you found your authentic self? Through what practices? Do you know how to live as a result of finding your authentic self? Which of the four obstacles have you battled against?