Stupid. Talentless. Dumb ideas. Poor communicator. Unattractive. Lacking money. Directionless. Flawed. Loss of self. How many of these harsh words do you identify with? Who are you trying to be? What moves you? Who are you pleasing? When was the last time you felt really authentic?
The topic of authenticity is pivotal in today’s world where social media depicts fairytale lives and Hollywood promotes people that resemble wax figures as perfection. Oftentimes in order to be “accepted” your body must be on point, your career needs to seem important and financially secure, your relationship should be enviable, and you should have the “ideal” number of children. The pressure to please can lead to jealousy, feelings of worthiness, and discouragement, and a host of health problems-especially around the digestive and endocrine system. The need to be just like someone else leaves little room for you and often leads to a morphing into what society wants for you. But this existence is far from attainable or satisfying. Where in this equation is there room for you?
Authenticity presents itself in many forms; it is the words from your heart and how you communicate, it is your personal likes and dislikes, your needs, your unique appearance, your career path, your relationship choices, your boundaries, how you choose to nourish and nurture your body, and how you decide to live your daily life. But in an effort to please so many lose sight of these personal aspects of life.
I have found that more often than not people lose their individuality in the shuffle of life. The pressures around them and the harsh voices that have been ingrained in their psyche lead to the biggest roadblock of all-fear. It is this fear that usually leads them to look outside of themselves for their next step for approval and to others to define their happiness.
I work with clients on retreats and in my private practice on many of these issues as it affects their physical and emotional health. In doing so I incorporate the chakras into a great deal of my teachings. The Chakras are energy centers in the body that can correlate to emotional and physical well-being. When it comes to authenticity the Solar Plexus Chakra is usually involved. The Solar Plexus is located near the diaphragm or upper abdomen and it relates to self-confidence, how you see yourself in the world, your personal power and what you are not digesting in your life. Hence, the organ system that correlates to this chakra is the digestive system. So how does this apply to your every day life?
I worked with a woman who is an artist by nature but the pressure to succeed in a more traditional job lead her to work in the family financial business. She questioned her talent and her voice in the art world and she felt that using her creativity would lead to poverty. She felt that her family expected more from her. This choice kept her stuck for years in a web of misery which lead to weight gain and digestive issues-including the removal of her gallbladder. Through a great deal of work and soul searching she recently made a career change. Now creativity has a prominent place in her life and as a result she has since lost 35 pounds.
At times I too have struggled with presenting my most authentic self. I suppressed my own needs in relationships for fear of rejection, I worried my words would be over scrutinized in my writing, or that my path would be questioned for going a “non traditional” route. There have been times where I had to push myself to speak in front of a group of people because my body didn’t seem “perfect” enough. There were periods where I questioned the pace of my achievements, and so many of my choices. But it wasn’t until I faced a few tragedies that I began to look at life from a primitive perspective. We are nothing without our health and when we stop seeking joy we stop breathing.
What if our flaws were our biggest blessing? What if our imperfections were what people connected to and drew strength from? What if we could see ourselves the way our loved ones see us? What if we could love ourselves? It is a battle that takes courage, self-validation, support and a heightened sense of awareness of our gifts. It takes conviction to live from a place of authenticity. But life is too short to live in the shadows. Can you give yourself permission to shine?
5 Tips To Live Authentically
#1 Lovingly speak your truth. Let someone know how you are really feeling. If someone pushes your boundaries tell them. If you need space, let them know. If you need connection seek this out. Check in more regularly with what YOU need.
#2 Allow yourself to be vulnerable. Put your hand over your stomach and your heart and close your eyes. Ask yourself where you are choosing to shut down your emotions? Where is the energy blocked? What are you afraid of sharing? Who are you afraid of being? What is one step that you can take today to share a little more of yourself? Is it through journaling? Can you open up to a friend, a partner a family member? Can you find a creative outlet like singing, writing, or painting to express the authentic you?
#3 Find a means to unblock your emotional body. There are many tools that can be used to heal and unblock stagnant emotions. I love working with flower essences, essential oils, color therapy, and crystals to open up the Solar Plexus. I also recommend incorporating yoga, meditation, talk therapy, Reiki, and massage to open up this pathway.
#4 Surround yourself with the color yellow. This color strengthens the chakra. Try to spend time in sunlight as the Solar Plexus thrives in the sun. Find activities that challenge your self-esteem-maybe it is speaking to a group, wearing a bold color, or try a new activity.
#5 Balance digestion: Eliminate foods that are possible allergens. Ask your practitioner about adding in digestive enzymes and probiotics. Eat foods such as pineapple, papaya, ginger, and peppermint tea, and fermented foods like sauerkraut to ease digestive distress. The Solar Plexus also benefits from yellow foods such as turmeric, banana, lemon. Ask yourself what you are not digesting physically and emotionally?
*This blog was previously featured on Huffington Post.