In this age where appearances seem to count for so much, there’s a lot of talk about authenticity. Lately, when I was giving a talk about the Business of Wellbeing, I was asked about the importance of authenticity.
In a way, it’s a puzzling question, because being authentic is just about being genuine, not being false. It really is a sign of the times that we need extra reminders to be ourselves, and get asked how important it is to be genuine.
But these are the days we live in. These days, we all have a public profile which is what is found on Google and on social media. I don’t know about you, but my public profile doesn’t much represent what it’s really like to live in my bones day to day.
Our social media and Google search profiles would have many of us cut out to be lame, one-sided narcissists. Which is OK if that’s who you genuinely are!
You Don’t Have To Shout About It
And it strikes me as a bit odd that when folks are asked about living authentically they somehow equate this with making your entire life public. Is living authentically the same thing as telling folks how human you are because you get frustrated, angry, tired and upset, like everyone else?
There is a strange state of affairs when folks think that to be ‘real’ must be showing everything that’s going on in your life that day. Must you go around telling people how bad your day has been to be authentic?
It’s Deeper Than That
I think that living authentically is actually something a little bit deeper than telling everyone that you too are human and your life is also sometimes tough. Because, of course, that’s just life for all of us human beings.
In fact, I think that this kind of spilling the beans on the downsides of life is sometimes as frustratingly inauthentic as pretending that everything is just awesome all the time.
Beware the Narcissists
Because I think that all this ‘authenticity’ is actually just yet more narcissism. Just another excuse for everyone to see every side of our ‘personality’. And to me, such a focus on our personality is a slippery slope to inauthenticity again.
But the trouble is that people are often so detached from who they are that they think that they are a string of life events. They are their job, their successes or failures, they are their children, their passions, or just a mood, or a feeling.
And to me, showing these sides to our personality and life events is unfortunately just yet more narcissism, which is what our culture is so good at encouraging in each of us.
Yoga Nidra Can Help
So if being authentic is more than just showing up our personality, or our life happenstance events, what is it to be authentic in an age of social media, personality culture and celebrity?
For me, the first thing to do to live authentically is first of all to get to know who the ‘you’ is to live authentically by. This is why we practice our yoga, meditation and mindfulness, and for me, this is where Yoga Nidra comes into it’s own.
Whichever method you choose, the practice is to sit deep and quietly with who you are. Not with your stories, your life events, your how you feel right now, but with your heart.
And for me, this process requires silence, a lot of nature, a lot of yoga nidra and quiet yoga practice on my own. It takes a lot of time for me to be me in my own company.
It’s not getting caught up in the story of my childhood, the drama of my journey or my daily grind. I have a very compelling story of myself. And I have various successes and failures in my life, but none of these things is the genuine ‘me’.
For me, being authentic is knowing the quiet space in my life, knowing that my message has an integrity of its own, my life is one which is lived ethically and that I’m in touch with the non-ego version of me.
Balance With Your Ego
Of course, the ego version of me shines through in daily life – gets caught up in daily grind and events, and wants ‘success’ or ‘happiness’ or whatever it is that I strive for.
But living authentically for me is knowing that these events aren’t ‘me’. It’s knowing that although I love praise, happiness and success, that my life isn’t actually about these things. It’s knowing that my work has meaning, my life is a process and each and every day is a learning, a journey and each day is exactly how it is meant to be.
Written with love