Having the Courage to Live Authentically

I’ve spoken of the dangers of expectations in the past, particularly as it relates to having expectations of others. However, there is another side to expectations and that is when we don’t live up to those that others have of us. When we disappoint someone we care about, it hurts. Starting the journey of living authentically will often reveal plenty of disappointment.

There are certain life patterns we all enjoy. We have routines and often everyone has a clear role within them. However, when someone steps out of their assigned role (in this case you) it can upset the comfortable life patterns of those around us. It’s amazing how quickly guilt can envelop you. You have committed to a change that you think is important and when someone pushes back, you feel guilty. It’s hard to start swimming upstream – against the flow of everyone else – but often, that’s what living authentically does at first.

When you decide to start living your truth and your version of happy and fulfilled, it often means changing a path, even if only slightly. This means people may feel left behind or that you have now changed their role, which they were so comfortable in. I have a friend who decided to focus on losing weight. She had a goal of losing like 100lbs. Her husband didn’t have this same goal. At first he thought it was just a “health phase” she was in, but he soon discovered that wasn’t the case. She began changing her entire lifestyle. She eliminated processed foods from her diet which had been a staple for them in the past. She became more active and went for walks, hikes, and took exercise classes. As she saw the results of her efforts, it motivated her to continue. She eventually achieved her goal – but her marriage fell apart in the process.

You could certainly look at this situation and see the husband as unsupportive and selfish, but that’s not the whole story. While she was changing her lifestyle, his role became fuzzy and unclear. He was often the cook and took great pleasure in preparing foods that she enjoyed. He would pamper her and took pride in how loved and appreciated he made her feel, regardless of her weight. He enjoyed their food choices and liked sitting together watching TV shows or relaxing with friends. When she started and continued her weight loss journey, he lost his identity, so he started saying things that made her feel guilty. He accused her of leaving him behind and not caring about their relationship anymore. And she felt really bad about that, but she had a goal that was important, and had hoped he would join her and improve his own physical health. But instead, their paths grew further and further apart, until they were no longer able to be in a relationship with each other.

Not all changes will be so dramatic, and you should know this story ended well for both of these individuals. But living authentically is for the brave and assuming you have only this one life to live, you better make sure you live it well. It’s important to be empathetic to those who are impacted by your choices and goals, HOWEVER, that does not mean you change course. If you believe your goals truly are for your well-being, then you have to accept that others may respond negatively. Hear them out and let them share their perspective. Consider how your changes may impact them and try to share your perspective with a patient and open heart. Also, understand they may not be able to join you on your journey or not until they’ve taken the time to adjust to the changes. They may need to time to figure out what their role will be in your life. That doesn’t make you a bad person and that doesn’t mean you should let guilt stop you in your tracks.

Living authentically requires bravery and resilience. It means you may have to leave some behind or that roles will change. But living authentically also means you experience deep joy and fulfillment in your life – even with the growing pains that come with it. Be you. Love you. And keep pursuing the life you desire.

It’s your turn to coach! Tell me in the comments section what you would recommend someone do when they are feeling guilty about living authentically.

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email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

Comments

  1. I agree that living authentically takes lots of courage and there are people around us will never get it. When I first started my own business, I hardly had time to hangout with my friends and family, and some of my friends and I started drifting apart due to the changes of our goals and our lifestyle. It is not anyone’s fault and we should not feel guilty about it, and those who truly support us are the keeper. Thanks for another great post April!

    • I know exactly what you mean, Erin. I had a similar experience when I started my business. Thanks for continuing with your important work and not letting guilt stop you!

  2. This is a great message.. We really do have to live for ourselves and not for others. Life takes us all on different journeys, and sometimes others have their own path they must find. Once I started thinking about this, I no longer felt guilty.

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