How I learned to discover my authentic self

I went through a good portion of my life trying to be a person that other people wanted me to be. I thought that was a great way to honor the relationship that I had with them.

I chose different career paths than I thought I would, made decisions about where to live that wasn’t in line with who I was, and generally did things that didn’t really bring much joy to my life.

Can you relate to this?

I think to a certain degree, we all accept the fact that there are things that we do in live that we don’t really want to do simply because we want to serve someone else genuinely.  We make sacrifices for others because we love them.

This isn’t necessarily bad decision making, but at some point, if you are constantly choosing to do things that don’t bring you joy, you will start to lose yourself.  Trust me, I have been there and that is not a place you’d want to be in if you can avoid it.

But what if you are there right now? There is hope for you too.

It all starts with you having the courage to believe that you are worthy of having joy in your life. Some of us would look at that statement and think ‘Well of course.’ But consider for a moment why you are constantly doing the things that don’t bring you joy and instead doing these other things.

Makes you stop and think doesn’t it? So just pause for a moment and reflect on this…

For me, it came down to the fact that I really wasn’t connected to who I really was. My authentic self was something that I didn’t even know, it was like a stranger to me instead of being a good friend.

So I started to look inwardly and ask myself the question of ‘What truly makes me feel alive?’. I started to make a list of things that I wanted to try if I wasn’t sure and then started doing those things.

I tried going Salsa dancing, and although it wasn’t a horrible experience, that was definitely not bringing joy to me. It was way too stressful. I tried going to join a Jazz Jam drop in, it was fun for a little while, but wasn’t really resonating the way that music used to for me.

Then I went back to climbing, and that was it. Being out in nature climbing on real rock and learning to navigate mountains and glaciers is something that truly makes me feel alive. Maybe that’s why I think my retirement career will be a part time mountain guide.

The things that make you feel alive and bring joy to your life don’t have to have anything to do with the work you are doing. The popularized ikigai diagram that you have no doubt sense is not all what the Japanese mean when they talk about ikigai. That Venn diagram is a westernized interpretation of the word.

The meaning of the word can be interpreted as ‘the reason you get out of bed in the morning’ or ‘your reason for living’. This doesn’t need to be your job or your business. It can be things that have nothing to do with making money, like me and climbing.

If you haven’t taken the time to truly learn who your authentic self is, I would encourage you do just that. If you are looking for a guide to help you with this, reach out I would be honored to lead you up this mountain.

#ikigai #courage #authenticself #worklifeharmony

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