Monday, July 3, 2017

Toward More Authentic Living

I read a lot: blogs, books, signs, cereal boxes, you name it. It's a hobby, I guess? Lately, the topic of intuitive living has crossed my path more times than once. (See "How Eating Intuitively Helped Me Live More Intuitively" by Alexis Joseph"How Intuitive Eating Changed My Life" by Kara Lydon, and "Movement vs. Exercise" by Robyn Nohling.) Then I read this in Present Over Perfect

The fact that numbing becomes a lifestyle hit me. I realized that numbing is the way I've been living my life, not intentionally, maybe not even purposefully. Numbing is a coping tool, a way of surviving, a way of getting through. But it's not a way of thriving.

Some of you might remember my birthday goals post from May and how I wanted to improve my life by eating satisfying foods, sleeping better, and moving in ways that feel good. The purpose of those goals was to learn to love myself and my life better. I'm realizing now that those goals were signs of me wanting to know myself, to really live out and engage in life. Somehow, I've just been going through the motions.

I've had moments of joy and excitement and fun this past year, but it's also been a hard year, one of not knowing myself or where I fit, one of struggle, one of new (and to be honest, scary) opportunities. I've spent a lot of time trying to live up to the expectations of others and of myself.

I've been living completely by myself these past two weeks, staying in a hotel for work training. The first few days of that experience were rough, but then I started asking myself, "What do I need to get through this day?" and I tried to give that thing to myself without judgment. Doing so often meant sacrificing money, or time, or my own ideals about life. But you know what? I did better. I was more present. I felt more like myself. I felt a lot, to be honest: emotions, pain, bodily sensations, etc. But I realized that I wanted to live more of life this way, to embrace the joys and the struggles of life, to be me, and not the ideal self that others or my own self wants me to be.

Have I got this authentic living thing figured out? By all means, no! I'm just on the cusp of the journey. But I want to work this thing out. I want to be myself and let opinions and judgments and obsessions and compulsions go. And I want that for other people, too, to get rid of labels, to live truly and with integrity, to relate to others in real ways. Living authentically is going to be painful, but I'm choosing to embrace that in hopes of more fully embracing the joys in life that are to come.

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