What if I told you I know someone who has the ability to make you perfectly happy for the rest of your life? You'd want to meet them, right?!
Now, what if I told you that person is you?
Your Authentic Self knows precisely what you are longing for in order to live your best life—and it's high time you got to know her (or him!).
Think of your Authentic Self as the you-est version of you. She is your innate tendencies, your natural qualities, and your hard-wired personal preferences. She is the part of you that likes salty over sweet, prefers an evening at home over a night out barhopping, and would choose Ryan Gosling over Ryan Reynolds any day of the week. Your Authentic Self is the part of you that loves what she loves, wants what she wants, and knows precisely how to get there (if you let her).
Unfortunately, the voice of your Authentic Self gets drowned out by the Good Girl all too often, by all the "shoulds," "have-tos," and "gottas" in your head. Here's how to shut the "shoulds" up and make your Authentic Self your new BFF:
1. Be a good zookeeper.
It's easier to connect with your Authentic Self when your physical self is content. Our bodies are essentially animals, so be a good zookeeper to your animal. Feed it food it enjoys, keep it well-hydrated, and offer it regular access to its preferred environment. A happy body creates a strong link to your Authentic Self.
2. Listen to your body.
Your body doesn't lie, and it always knows when you're living authentically and when you're not. Think of a time when you felt you had to do something even though you didn't want to. How did your body feel? Probably tense, tired, and stressed.
Now, think of time when your felt full of purpose, joy, and excitement. What did you feel then? You were likely more open, expansive, and lighthearted. These two sets of physical sensations are how your body tells you when you are connected to your Authentic Self and when you are not. Heed those signals.
3. Shut the "should" up.
Sometimes societal pressures, cultural expectations, and our own feelings of "should" cause us to forget or deny our Authentic Self. Make a practice of giving yourself permission to follow what you love instead of always doing what you're supposed to.
The vacuuming will wait—go and play already! Consistently choosing joy over "should" keeps you connected to your Authentic Self and creates a hot-wire to happiness in your brain.
4. Try not trying.
Instead of forcing your Authentic Self to speak up, try giving her a little space. Think of a physical activity that you enjoy but that requires a minimal amount of mental engagement. Take a walk by yourself, finish up that painting project, or cook a favorite dish. Make space for your Authentic Self to quietly whisper her musings to you. Let her out to play a little. What she has to say may surprise you.
5. Tell the truth.
This one can be tricky. To remain connected to your Authentic Self, you must be willing to tell the truth. Many of us are afraid to tell our truth because we fear it will be unpopular, but start small. Do something like stating your preference for dinner instead of just going along with what your friends want. Pay attention to how your body responds to that truth. See if you can come up with some teeny-tiny steps to take toward living your truth.
6. Gather your tribe.
One of the most loving ways to reconnect with yourself is to have kindred spirits around you who are able to remind you of who you are. Surround yourself with the people who value the real you, who really get you, and who understand your desire to reconnect with yourself.
There is only one person in this world who truly knows how to make you happy and that's you. So if you are looking to open yourself up to some serious joy, take the time to invest in your relationship with yourself.