Isolation Leads to Destruction
There have been times in my life when I have worn a mask. Times when I didn’t feel comfortable in my own shoes. Moments when I felt the need to isolate myself from everyone and everything life seemed to toss in my direction.
It wouldn’t surprise me if you have ever felt the same. There was probably a period of your life when you were afraid to share your feelings. It’s plausible that life possibly had you feeling defeated, or that something was burning deep inside of you.
Like me, I’d be willing to bet that you, too, have also worn a mask. You’ve also held your cards close without ever revealing your hand – possibly folding when everyone else was ‘all in’.
Over the past week, I have been a part of two conversations that have been focused on living authentically. Even more specifically, the discussions centered on the authenticity that we share and exude in the relationships with the most important people in our lives.
Questions were raised, such as, ‘what causes you to isolate yourself,’ or, ‘why do we choose not to share our true feelings and emotions with others’. On the other end of the spectrum, questions were also posed such as, ‘how do we help one another live authentically’, and, ‘are there characteristics of a person who lives authentically’.
These conversations were intriguing. Most of all, they were authentic, genuine if you will. From the conversations, I walked away with ideas on how I could improve my relationships with others, and experience personal growth, by choosing to live authentically – rooted in values with strength.
The alternative, living in isolation, has a tendency to cause even deeper frustration, anger or hurt. When you isolate yourself, deep down, isn’t help the one simple thing you want? And so, living authentically helps to provide the mechanisms needed to break away from the isolation. Authenticity gives you the ability to shine as your own person, true to the person you are.
5 Suggestions for Living Authentically
The word authenticity is similar to terms such as genuine, valid, and real. In other words, authenticity is something that is true in form. And, when something is true, we understand it, and we appreciate it. Authenticity is of undisputed origin. So, when we take the word in context in our relationship with ourselves and others, we know everything about what one is experiencing – because it’s real, genuine, and true.
And the question becomes, “How do we get to the point of living authentically?” To answer pointedly, I don’t have a definitive answer, but I have some ideas.
- Choose to be vulnerable – Say what you are thinking. Acknowledge your fears, flaws, imperfections, and struggles. Let yourself find a level of comfort that allows you to expose these characteristics with others – not just anyone, but people who you trust.
- Live without regret – Life doesn’t afford ‘do-overs’ or repeats, and very few second chances. Living without regret allows you to put yourself out there, never reaching a point of saying, “What if?”
- Invite People to your Table – Let’s be honest, life is much easier (and more exciting) when done with other people. Literally seek out and invite others to go through life with you. It’s important to have an established relationship with these people – one in which you build into one another, never judging or questioning, but rather loving and caring.
- Stick to your Values – Each of us has values or beliefs that we consider important. Write these values on a piece of paper. Put them in a place where you see them. Live by them each and every day without questioning yourself or what others will say when you choose to abide by them.
- Quit Questioning Yourself – There is a reason you go through the different challenges life hands you. In being authentic, it doesn’t help to question yourself, your abilities, or why you are where you are. Quite honestly, you are exactly where you need to be at this moment in time. Appreciating the moment is choosing to live authentically.
Let’s be honest, we live in a world that can be cruel and hateful. At times, this causes us to isolate ourselves, out of fear of ridicule and mockery. Among the struggle, it’s hard to be the real you that you want to be for yourself and the people in your life. Not everyone likes authenticity, but most people appreciate it. And so, I’ll leave you with this quote:
To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you someone else is the greatest accomplishment. –Ralph Waldo Emerson