Authentic Living: How Our Values Shape Us

In this post, I’m going to break down what ‘living authentically’ means and how we can move towards this way of living so that we can just be ourselves without having to change who we are to please others or keep parts of ourselves hidden away.

The term ‘authentic self’ is banded around a lot in the therapy and self-development world and in my opinion it sounds a bit airy-fairy so I’m going to break down what it actually means.

Living authentically means that we are connected and in alignment with our real self; not the person that we present to the world at times, not the us that is full of defence mechanisms and coping strategies, but the real us that’s hiding beneath years and years of social and familial conditioning.  In other words, the person you would be if you were free to be who you really are inside with no restrictions or limitations.  It means living in such a way that feels like you are being true to yourself and not compromising who you are to make others happy.

I know, that’s the dream, right?

Helping people to connect to who they really are inside is a core part of the therapeutic process and the work that I do with clients.  It's usually when a part of us is out of alignment with what feels right for us that causes us to feel unhappy or disconnected in some way.

One way that I work with people in therapy is to get them to think about their core values – what’s important to them.  Once these are identified, we can look at the ways in which they are living in alignment (or not) with these values.

For example, if someone tells me that their health is their number one priority and thing they value most, yet they are living on takeaways, or barely eating at all, drinking too much alcohol, not exercising or getting enough sleep, then I might question if they are really living in alignment to their values.

Or if they say that their time is very precious to them, yet they constantly find themselves bending over backwards to help other people and find it very hard to say no, I might question whether they are really valuing their own time and whether some boundaries may be needed.

Looking at our values can help us to really identify where there is a disconnect and we can then examine the reality of how we are living and work out what might help to bring us closer to living true to ourselves.

Have you ever sat and consciously thought about your values and what matters to you? If you have, what kind of things came up for you?  It may be helpful to reflect on this list and really think about how these values play out in everyday life.

If you value honesty in others but find that you often tell small lies to get out of things you don’t want to do, are you really living in alignment?  If you value kindness but are then doing things which are quite unkind to yourself, how is that honouring what you value most?

What changes could you make to connect your values with living a truer, more authentic life?

If you need any help or support to figure this out, why not get in touch today for a free chat about how I can help you.

Janine x