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This week I give you an exercise that helps find your most authentic self.
Why is this important?
Being authentic means, ultimately, that we are living in line with who we really want to be.
Yet, sadly, so many of us live based off an idea, or thought, of what others want us to be.
So how do we find our authenticity? Let’s take a look…
We forget who we really are over time.
In a previous issue I spoke about how we draw confidence from our past experiences.
In keeping with that theme, this exercise will look to draw upon happy experiences early on in our lives, reconnecting with the young person that we deep down are.
The more life continues, the more we hide our true self, us at our best.
We tend to hide that truest version when we feel a sense of:
- Fear judgments of others
- Need for acceptance
- You end up judging others
- Not being enough
- Not loved enough
But this quirky exercise helps us reconnect with something that you’ve perhaps not given thought to.
Step 1: Think of your earliest happiest memory
The first step of this process is to think back to a memory when you were truly happy.
It could be a moment with friends, Christmas with the family, a special place you visited, a holiday.
Note the memory, it doesn’t have to be in great detail, just be able to place yourself there.
Example: My earliest happiest memory is playing cricket in the garden during summer holidays with my brother in the garden.
Step 2: Write down the emotions and feelings you felt
Secondly, and most importantly, write down the words and feelings that best describe how you felt in the moment.
Most people at this point start to write down “happy”.
‘Happy’ is too generic. Go a bit deeper. Asking “Why was I happy?”, “What made this memory happy”
Perhaps you felt a sense of connection with those you were with? valued? energetic? perhaps competitive?
Example: My memory with my brother gave me a sense of competition, creativity, imagination, freedom, high energy, expressive.
So what does it all mean?
This exercise reconnects us with this earlier version of ourselves, which we lose over time.
Moments that have happened since then get in the way. And we are far more likely to listen to the negative stories we tel ourselves than the positive.
So this is drawing upon positive ones.
The goal now is to try and bring some of that about yourself into today.
For me, I know that if I’m high energy, expressive, creative, I’m being an authentic version of me.
But if I’m low energy, withdrawn and unwilling to express, then I’m not being myself or I’m in an environment that is hindering that part of me.
So take what you’ve found through this exercise and note what parts you would like to bring into your life today.
This quirky little exercise is something I encourage you to do often, to be able to turn up from a positively framed perspective that can change your life.