How to be Authentic

Authentic or NotBeing Authentic (deliberate capital A) is something we’re told we should aspire to. We’re also told someone Authentic does it easily without a care in the world, without even having to think about it.

According to this view, if we’re not comfortably and easily being ourselves – our Authentic selves – then clearly there’s something wrong with us.

The thing with being Authentic is that it comes with risks.

If you find it important to be liked then being Authentic could mean rubbing people up the wrong way.

Oprah says something to the effect of “You know when you’re being yourself because there will be at least 5 people who are upset with you.”

Mark Manson who wrote The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck says about being Authentic “You can’t be an important and life-changing presence for some people without also being a joke and embarrassment to others.”

So if looking like a fool makes you wish the earth would open up and swallow you, maybe being Authentic will be quite a challenge.

But what if you could assure yourself that these challenges and risks to how people see you were normal? What if you could assure yourself that the payoff – the good things that come from being Authentic (better relationships, a greater sense of integrity, more confidence in yourself – outweighed the risks?

Then you could make the choice in each moment to follow the Authentic path.

You could choose to keep the peace……. or you could choose to stay true to yourself and invite conflict.

You could choose not to dance because you think you look stupid……. or you could let go and have an authentically great time.

You could choose to keep your vulnerability to yourself so you don’t look ‘weak’ ……or you could share your Authentic vulnerable self and be rewarded with more intimacy in your relationships.

Brene Brown reports that her research says that Whole-Hearted People (who describe themselves as Authentic) work at being Authentic. It’s not just an idea for them. It’s a practice.

To make this a practice, try this little exercise. For one week, notice and write down how many times you make the decision to be Authentic and how many times you choose to take the less authentic path because it’s easier.

Then for the next week try to halve the less authentic decisions.

Then the next week halve them again.

It could be tough. It could be uncomfortable. But I’m guessing it will be incredibly rewarding.

Let me know how you go.

Can’t move on? Brain Hack to help you

Brain HackLife throws us challenges that don’t always work out. Your relationship fails. Your business fails. Something completely side-swipes you and brings you to your knees.

Try as you might, you can’t move on.

Your mind is still consumed with your ex. You’re cautious about making business decisions. You lay low, trying to protect yourself from the unpredictable.

Of course, none of this helps.

Living in the past or being afraid of the future only helps to keep us stuck.

What you need to do is move on. And here’s how to harness the power of your brain to help you.

Memory is largely to blame for keeping us stuck. Fortunately, our memory system is incredibly unreliable. We can use this to our advantage.

Do you keep ruminating about how much your ex hurt you? Use your memory system to weaken bad memories. Imagine them fading – the volume goes down, the lighting gets dimmer, they become more and more out of focus.

To make this even more powerful you can intersperse the memories with something funny or more positive. Imagine your ex wearing the most ludicrous outfit imaginable at the precise moment they were the most hurtful. Rewrite the memory so that instead of you shrinking with pain, you grow taller, more confident, bulletproof.

Are you super-cautious after a failure? If you find yourself remembering the failures, consciously take your memory system on a journey through your past successes. Dim out the failure memories. Rewrite them with all the clever things you actually did through that time. Prepare a future memory script that shows you coming up with inventive, amazing ideas if the going gets tough.

No matter if it’s the failure of a relationship, the failure of a business or just generally being side swiped, these brain hacks will help you move on.

Get creative with what you do but remember that positive rewrites should be vivid with lots of detail for each of the senses. Fading negative memories should be as bland as possible – no colour, muted sound and fuzzy focus.

Happy Brain Hacking

 

 

 

If I Had to Hang Out with Myself, Would I Like It?

two faces of meOne of my clients (who had worked really hard and made lots of changes in their life) told me this question the other day and I immediately had to steal it for my blog. You know who you are – thank you. They said it was a question that helped instigate change.

The great question: If I had to hang out with myself, would I like it?

Too often we judge our own behaviour based on our interior world only. That means we can feel justified in our what we do because we’re hurt, or angry, or whatever it is we’re feeling.

But if we start thinking about what our behaviour looks like from the outside, things get a little different.

So… nagging because our partner is a lazy slob suddenly doesn’t feel so reasonable. Would I want to hang out with someone who nags all the time?

And how about if I shut off emotionally from my partner? Would I want to hang out with someone who dismissed me or acted like they didn’t care?

More often than not, the things we do that we wouldn’t want to be around, don’t get the response we want anyway. When has nagging made your partner help more around the house? When has the emotional shut down ever made things better in your relationship?

The things we wouldn’t like to hang out with, are things that are often destructive. And things that make us feel bad internally too. Have you ever felt better after a good nag?

So ask yourself if you would like to hang out with you and make a commitment to yourself to change the things you don’t like. Not only will your relationships be better but you will like yourself sooooooo much more.

Is Anxiety an Asset Rather than a Curse?

anxietyIf you’ve ever felt anxious you’ll be wondering how I can possibly suggest it might be an asset.

First of all, it doesn’t feel good. Your heart races. So do your thoughts. And it’s usually accompanied by a tightness in your chest or twisting in your stomach.

Second, everyone tells you it’s a ‘disorder’. Which essentially means there’s something ‘wrong’ with you.

But what if there wasn’t?

What if your anxiety was actually something useful?

Researchers at SUNY Downstate Medical Centre in New York found that people with Generalised Anxiety Disorder had higher IQ’s than people without anxiety. They hypothesised that being prone to worry increased intelligence over time. You know – a long time – evolutionary length. But hey – details, details.

The bottom line is that if you’re a worrier you’re probably going to be smarter than the average non-worrier. And because you’re smarter you can find and utilise strategies to overcome your worries. So all good.

If you have social anxiety – you’re a bit shy, or you get super nervous if you have to meet new people, or you fear being judged whenever you’re with people – there’s good news. The University of Haifa in Israel found that if you are socially anxious, you are more likely to have empathy for others – to put yourself in their shoes and understand where they’re coming from. This is a highly developed social skill.

Your empathy could also be an advantage for your anxiety. If you spend time tuning into the people you are talking to rather than focusing on your own anxiety, you could make a really good impression. There’s nothing we like more than someone really getting us.

So… my anxious friends. Now that we know you’re super-smart empaths I think we can ditch the ‘disorder’ title.