The Authentic Life

What does it mean to live authentically?

My mother would say it means to say what you mean and mean what you say, but if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.

She had it right.

But, living an authentic life is also about being true to ourselves in how we share ourselves in the world. And, I’m not just talking about sharing our opinions. If we never share our talents, reveal our creations—that painting, that poem, that song, that idea for a new business—are we being authentic? When we hide behind the paycheck of an unfulfilling job rather than start that business we’ve been planning and concocting for years, are we living an authentic life? When we dream of giving, of helping, of donating, of praising, of serving, and we withhold, are we being authentic?

Whatever your reasons have been, I invite you to stop believing them.

Living an authentic life requires vulnerability, to admit that wrong, to ask for what we need, to be the first to say, “I’m sorry,” to be the first to say, “I love you.”

Paul Coehlo says, “The magic moment is that in which a ‘Yes’ or a ‘No’ may change the all of your existence.”

When we live an authentic life, we appreciate those magic moments more… because we’re consciously creating them. We understand when we’re standing on the precipice because we chose to climb up here. Indeed, we created the precipice.

Of course, living an authentic life requires courage… a great deal of courage. After all, sometimes the scariest thing in the world is to stand up for what we believe in when everyone else is sitting down. Imagine yourself for a minute standing up there… alone.

What had you stand up? What causes you to remain standing? Is it the ego’s need to be right?  Or something more? Something greater?  Think about it… what has you stay standing has far more stamina than the ego. The ego would have sat down long ago.

At some point, we come to realize that living an authentic life is nothing less than an act of Love… perhaps the greatest act of Love there is.

Love, and Love alone, can stand up there forever. Love knows that authenticity brings greater intimacy, greater meaning, and greater rewards, even if no one else gets up there with you.

What does it mean to live authentically?

To live an authentic life means to be Love in every moment because there is no acceptable alternative.

After all, if we’re not authentic, what are we?

© 2012, Gretchen DeWees Kennedy

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