Being true to you: How to live authentically in 2024
New Year. A blank page. As 2024 begins and we make plans, set intentions and prepare to write a new story, there’s a question that’s worth holding in our hearts and keeping at the forefront of our minds: how do I live authentically this year? This question could be posed in different ways: how do I stay true to myself? How do I live in alignment with my values? How do I live in accordance with God’s plan for my life? How do I live with integrity?
I wonder what comes to you when you read these questions. What would an authentic life look like to you?
To help answer that question, you might want to ask what would the opposite of an authentic life look like?
For me, I am living inauthentically when I am driven by fear, when I am wearing a mask or hiding behind armour, when I am afraid to be honest with myself and with others, when I am scared to embrace who I am or speak my truth.
I am living inauthentically when I’m a chameleon, ready to change the colour of my skin to fit my background, to change my personality or ignore my values to be accepted or to feel wanted or safe.
In contrast, I am living authentically when I’m able to stand my ground, stand in my power, stay aligned with my values and be honest about who I am and what I believe in.
As you’ll appreciate, authenticity is vital when it comes to dating and relationships.
If we don’t show up as our true selves, if we pretend to be somebody we’re not in order to win another’s approval or affection, we’re in danger of forming a false relationship.
This comes at a high cost.
Not only do we pay an inner price for being inauthentic – perhaps we feel stressed because we’re hiding our truth or we feel resentful towards ourselves – we also pay an outer price because inauthentic relationships, sooner or later, will crumble and collapse.
So, as we begin this New Year, here are some suggestions to support you to start out authentically.
Take some time at the start of this New Year to sit quietly with yourself and with God. Turn off all the noise, step inside and connect with your heart, your soul and your spirit. What is your inner voice saying? Where is it guiding you? What choices feel peaceful and in alignment with God’s will for your life? What values feel true to you? What are the priorities of your heart? You might want to write down your answers and refer to them often.
Go at your own pace
There’s so much pressure at this time of year to make dramatic changes, to commit to new habits or to set ambitious goals. But when we set goals from a place of panic or when we allow ourselves to be driven by fear – by a sense that time is running out and we must act fast – we often head off in the wrong direction. Take your time. Go at your own pace. Find that inner peace first. Try to cultivate a sense of flow and ease. God has your back.
Elevate your self-esteem and self-worth
When we act or speak inauthentically, it’s often because we don’t feel enough as we are. Sometimes, this message is a legacy from our childhoods and the wound goes deep. I’d encourage you to explore any early life wounds that have left you feeling afraid to be true to yourself or terrified of showing up honestly in relationships. This work can be challenging but it’s also game-changing.
As you heal your inner wounds, take time to build your self-esteem and self-worth in outer ways too. Show up for yourself. Take good care of yourself. Treat yourself in the same way you’d treat a good friend. Do estimable things to build self-esteem. These are your solid foundations and they will support you on your journey to healthy love.
Remember creativity and play
It’s important to do the deep work but lightness is vital too. How can you bring more creativity and play into your life? As children, many of us were creative, imaginative and loved to play. As adults, creativity and play can lead us back to our authentic selves, to the people we were before we put on our armour or found other ways to defend ourselves from hurt.
At the start of the year, why not tap into your creativity or bring it back to life if it’s gone to sleep? Create a vision board or collage of your most authentic 2024 by cutting up pictures from magazines and sticking them together. Or you can create a similar collage online. Or write the story of your life for this year, imagining yourself as the hero, overcoming obstacles and walking confidently towards your dreams.
Are there any other steps that would support you to live more authentically this year?
Remember, authenticity, while frightening at times, is the path to true freedom and to creating a wholehearted, fulfilling life. So, dig deep, lean on God and get all the support you need to face your fears and flourish in 2024.
How do you plan to be true to yourself and live authentically this year?
Enjoyed reading ‘Being true to you: How to live authentically in 2024’? Read more by Katherine Baldwin here