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Three Barriers to Authentic Living

Deep within us all is the aspiration to be comfortable in our own skin, confidently and securely living and enjoying our uniqueness as an individual in our daily life. Sadly few people are fulfilling that desire, and are held back by invisible barriers restraining attempts at authentic living. The thought of showing what we are really like generates fears of vulnerability and rejection. Having an awareness of the invisible barriers that stop us living authentically is the first step to breaking free of them. This article examines three common barriers that prevent living an authentic lifestyle.

Tunnel vision

We perceive and see ourselves through our own form of tunnel vision. The way we were parented, the culture and environment in which we were raised, our past experiences, our established values and beliefs have all conditioned us to think, behave and respond in certain ways. We are unconsciously biased to these familiar patterns and these have a strong influence on the way we respond and react. Even though you may have a desire to behave and respond differently, you feel comfortable and more secure in your tunnel. To consider operating outside of the familiarity of the tunnel brings feelings of fear, insecurity and uncertainty. A changed response or behavior that takes you out of that comfort zone may feel risky, and even ‘wrong’. Change is not necessarily wrong, but it is different and takes courage to implement as the implications and consequences of living outside of our tunnel are unknown.

The People Factor

The need to be accepted, liked and approved of by other people is very strong. We like to please others and be respected, and this often governs our behavior. Very often our behavior towards other people is based on a false belief. We believe that we have the power to make others happy by the way we act and the things we say. This belief causes us not to communicate what we really think or need, and we adapt our behavior to please others first instead of being true to our inner self. The reality is we do not have the power to make another person happy, only they have that power. The choices and control we have are over our own happiness and behavior, not others, and we cannot take on responsibility for the choices and decisions they make. This, however, does not give us the liberty to bulldoze our way through life with the attitude of ‘It’s my way or the highway’. In being real and authentic to who we really are, we still have the responsibility to communicate our choices and responses to others firmly and clearly, but without any accusation or aggression. The choices and decisions we make are not about or for others, but about us. 

Societal Expectations

We are constantly bombarded my messages from society that  restrain us from living authentically. Advertising, in particular, strongly influences our perceptions and expectations of, for example, what an acceptable body image is like, how we can be happy, have fun and enjoy popularity. Advertising and the media imply that the car we drive, the food we eat and the clothes we wear determine who we are as a person and how we should act and behave. These expectations cause us to conform, or aspire to be different to who we really are. Uniqueness and authenticity are rarely modeled as desirable or acceptable in society and culture, rather it is the exception rather than the norm.

Change Your Beliefs, Change Your Life

 Awareness of these barriers that conflict with our desire to live authentically give us an opportunity to reassess our beliefs and conditioned responses that have been the governing yardstick of the choices and decisions we make in daily life. As we learn to listen to our authentic self and notice the motives that determine our behavior and choices, we can begin to make changes that empower us to live a more authentic lifestyle

By

Barbara White

For more information on authentic living seminars please contact Barbara seminars@livingbeyondbetter.com

 

 

 

by Barbara White