Living a happy life is everyone’s goal. Who doesn’t want to feel good about themselves? And yet so many of us live a life of self-doubt, feeling undeserving or incapable, or wishing we were walking another path.
However, living a happy life, and being a happy person is a matter of how you perceive yourself and your place in the world. You can “think yourself happy” by taking action, being honest about yourself, and your patterns of thinking, and being open to your capacity to change. Self-knowledge is the key to living a happy life. And that means living your truth, not other people’s truth, or what society tells you is your truth.
Socrates famously said that the unexamined life is not worth living. An ongoing process of self-analysis and self-examination leading to greater understanding and self-knowledge is also the basis for most of the world’s religions and belief systems for a good reason. If you don’t know who you are, you're not your true self in the world. If this is the case, you’re living a passive life, reacting to whatever comes along instead of taking control. Living unconsciously like this is living half asleep, and if you’re half asleep, you can’t be your best you.
Living an authentic life does not mean going off the grid. It does mean a daily practice of being honest about how you’re feeling and why, and reminding yourself that you are in control of how you feel. It means being clear about what your values and beliefs are – what “rules” you live your life by. Are your values yours, or have you absorbed them from other people in your life? Do they still fit with the life you want to lead?
Five Steps to Living a More Authentic Life
1. Be clear about how you want your life to be right now and where you want to go. Understand and live by your values and beliefs.
2. Be aware of yourself and how you react and interact with other people, situations, events, and the world.
3. Set and maintain conscious boundaries. Be clear in your mind and be at peace with what you can and can’t control.
4. Be okay with imperfection in yourself and others. Be objective about your weaknesses so that you can improve upon them without letting them get you down.
5. Be kind and forgiving to yourself and others.
Living your truth means taking responsibility for your life and building a deep self-knowledge that will ultimately lead to contentment and happiness.