For this step, I combined the advice of two different friends with very different life circumstances and personalities who both said basically the same thing, but in their own styles. My friend, Margaret, who has lived alone for many years, like myself, is my Adventure Buddy. (She jumped out of an airplane for her 50th birthday. Can’t wait to see what she does for #6-0, coming soon!) My friend, Marcus, is the long-married father of three boys, and, as such, does not take many risks in life. In spite of the differences between these two, their advice was the same: Be Yourself.
Well, Marcus said it that way…Margaret said, “What you see is what you get. I am what I am.” Typical Margaret.
When you stop and really think about it, this is some of the best advice you will ever get anywhere, any time. But it sounds deceptively simple. It actually requires a fair amount of work and vigilance to be true to yourself. Here is a short list of things that could and will happen when you work towards being your authentic self:
1. You will have to stand up for what you believe in and go against the crowd at least once in your life.
2. You will have to make unpopular decisions.
3. You will have to put your family or friends above your work… or vice versa.
4. You will have to face some harsh truths about yourself.
5. You will be more of a lone wolf than a member of the herd.
6. You will have to learn to say NO.
Sound tough? Here’s a short list of things that can go wrong when you DON’T follow your authentic self.
1. Mid-life crisis
2. Health issues, especially cancer, if you are harboring resentment from doing things you don’t want to do or not feeling appreciated
3. Losing the ability to feel joyful
4. Existing instead of Living
5. Feeling surrounded by strangers.
You choose, but I can tell you from personal experience that there is no amount of worldly goods that I would trade for being uniquely me.
Plus, my friends and family kinda like me that way.