If creating an authentic life were easy, everyone would be doing it. Sadly, life has a way of pushing us off track, having us focus on extrinsic motivations as opposed to our intrinsic desires and dreams. Why does this happen?

When we’re young, no one really tells us the importance of living authentically. We’re told other things are important, like getting good grades, making the varsity team, going to the right college and getting the right degree. We make choices based on what others think we should do rather than on what we think we should do.

Then one day we find ourselves in unfulfilling jobs and relationships, wondering about the point of our lives. If you can relate, read on to find out how you can create an authentic life and begin living it today.

Forgive and Let Go

Releasing yourself and loved ones from any past wounds is an important step in living a more authentic life. Holding onto anger or sadness will only be a burden. It’s incredibly important you release all resentment before carving out your new reality. Equally important is forgiving yourself of any mistakes you’ve made in the past. Leave them there and move on.

Have a Clear Vision

You know what hasn’t worked for you in the past, but do you have a clear idea of what it is you really want? Who do you want to be? How do you want to act? Or look? Is your job fulfilling? If not, what job or career would suit you better? What kind of people do you want to be surrounded with in this new life?

You have to really imagine your authentic life. Have fun dreaming about it and creating it in your mind. Visualize as many aspects of it as you can and really feel how it would feel if you lived here. This will not only help you make the right choices but propel you when you find making changes to be difficult.

Challenge Your Beliefs

To be clear, I’m not talking about belief in God or country, or whether little green men do in fact inhabit other planets; I’m talking about beliefs about yourself, your abilities, and your worth.

Since your old life was created based on the old beliefs you held, it makes sense that you would want to challenge some of these. Keeping the same old beliefs will hold you back and keep you stuck.

Begin to study your beliefs and hold them up to scrutiny. Try poking holes in them and see them for what they are. Maybe you’ve never thought you were good enough at painting, a hobby you’ve always wanted to take up. Ask yourself WHY you believe this. Did this belief truly come from you, or your third-grade art teacher who challenged your blue cat and orange elephant drawings?

Take some time to go through each of your beliefs about yourself to understand where they came from and determine if they are serving your life’s best interests.

Seek Guidance

Putting your life back together is no small project and there may be times you feel frustrated, confused, and overwhelmed. While friends and family members may give you a shoulder to cry on, they can’t necessarily give you professional advice. A therapist, on the other hand, will not only listen to you, but offer practical tools that will help you cope with your emotions and leverage them to build the life you’ve been dreaming of.

If you or a loved one is interested in exploring counseling, please contact us today. We would be happy to speak with you about how we may be able to help you create an authentic life.

Priscilla Hurd, LPC, M.Ed.

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