In today’s society, it’s often difficult to stay connected to our authentic self. Fortunately, there are ways we can restore this connection.
We live in a culture that makes it almost impossible not to build walls around our truest, most authentic self. We learn early on to suppress emotions and portray perfect “put together selves.”
This is detrimental not only to us as individuals, but also to our communities and culture as a whole. We cannot access our truest potential and live out our best lives while simultaneously living behind the bars that make us who we are.
I’ve always said that I was born with an extra vulnerability gene. I’m a highly sensitive person (which merely means I’m acutely attuned to others’ energy and emotions) living in a world where vulnerability is foreign and often seen as “weakness.”
Because of this, I never learned to understand and embrace my emotions. I only knew how to cover up and disconnect because I thought there was something wrong with me for having them.
Learning to connect with the stillness within and embrace my emotions from a place of acceptance and curiosity has been a process, but also a life-changing journey that has connected me to my authentic self and inner strength.
The good news is accessing our authentic self can be surprisingly simple and joyful. So take the time to tune into your heart.
Below is a list of tips and strategies to set the tone for self-discovery and tranquility and to help you connect with your truest, authentic self:
1. Find Your Inner Child
Our inner child has a lot to teach us. If we look back on our lives, I’m sure we all have memories of doing something that we loved. Something that fueled our imagination and made time fly by. There is so much power in connecting with this part of ourselves.
For me, it was baking up a storm in the kitchen and writing music. These things made me feel alive and to this day, still, feed my soul.
Ask yourself: What’s something I loved doing as a child that I haven’t done in a while?
Gratitude is more than just a tool to cultivate happiness. It helps us connect to what brings joy and meaning to our lives. A year ago, I started a gratitude jar where every evening I would write down 1-3 things I was thankful for on a slip of paper and put it in the jar.
What surprised me is how recalling the simple moments hidden in the nooks and crannies of the day left such a feeling of warmth inside. Witnessing a small act of kindness, talking to a friend, or simply hearing the birds chirping as I walked to my car awakened my spirits to the simple joys of life.
Ask yourself: What am I most grateful for in this moment?
3. Express Yourself
I am a huge advocate for creativity. As a songwriter, I love making music. But we can express ourselves in a million ways! It can be art, photography, origami (kudos to you if you have the patience for that). There are even adult coloring books these days. Buy one, turn up spotify, and express yourself!
Ask yourself: what color expresses how you feel at this moment? What does it say about me?
4. Write a Letter
Call me old school, but I love handwritten letters. Remember those cards that you used to get from your grandparents growing up? That’s what I’m talking about. Writing letters is one of my favorite mood enhancing, kindness-spreading activities.
However, you don’t need to wait for a birthday or other holiday to acknowledge someone special. Thanking someone and telling them how much they mean to you is simple, yet heartwarming, both for you and the recipient. Taking time to cultivate and deepen our relationships is priceless.
To kick things up a notch and embrace self-care a little more, write a letter to yourself. You can address it to your current self, or, perhaps to your younger self.
What would you say? Are there any words of encouragement that you would give yourself? What are you proud of? Sometimes taking an outside view of ourselves can help us to see ourselves the way our friends see us.
Ask yourself: Who is someone I appreciate and what do I admire most about them? Write a letter and let them know!
Spend time alone. Create a cozy environment to help set the mood for inner reflection. Light a candle, put on an essential oil diffuser, play some peaceful music. Do what feels homey for your soul. When we connect with our desires, we automatically connect with our feelings.
Pull out your journal (I know you have one somewhere!) and ask yourself the following questions:
- What is my personal definition of a meaningful life?
- What do I want to contribute to the world?
- Is there something on my mind that I’ve been avoiding?
- What makes me feel most connected to my authentic self?
- What do I want to be known for?
6. Embrace the Seasons
“Hygge” is a Dutch word used to describe a philosophy to cultivate “coziness of mood.” A big part of this way of living is embracing the seasons. Snuggling up to warm blankets in the cold weather, picnicking on warm summer days, sitting by a bonfire in the fall with friends, etc.
Embracing the seasons of nature is a beautiful reminder for us to embrace every season of life. Although I’m not a winter girl at heart, I try to get outside for 20 minutes even when it’s cold out. It rejuvenates my body and refreshes my mind.
I’m always awestruck by the beauty surrounding me! Just as every season in nature has a purpose, so does every season of our life.
Ask yourself: How can I embrace “hygge” today to feed my soul?
At the end of the day, reconnecting with our authentic self is about being mindful and attuned to the ordinary magic happening around us every day. That includes you! It’s time we all took more time to discover the brilliance inside.
There’s nothing more exciting than realizing the extraordinary potential within each one of us. So light that candle, pull out your journal, and let’s rekindle our spirits together!
Author Bio: Colleen Bartlett is a mental health advocate, songwriter, and blogger whose passion is to bring awareness to mental health through her writing and music. She believes in the indomitable resilience of the human heart and spirit and hopes to help others tap into their inner brilliance by sharing her own experiences with honesty and warmth. Check out her website: www.colleenbartlett.com.