6 Ways to Find Your Authentic Life Path

Apr 29, 2013

path
 
“Once you stop chasing the wrong things, the right ones catch you.”
 

As a child growing up, Cinderella was one of my favorite Disney films; however, upon reflection I realized it wasn’t the young blonde protagonist that captured my attention, but rather the mice, the hound dog and other animals that always made me smile. In fact, Cinderella seemed to me flat, one-dimensional and lacking in character development. Yet, I still enjoyed watching the film not exactly sure at that time why I was so drawn to it.

As I began to grow up, it was FRIENDS that had all of my high school girlfriends captivated as well as myself – the never-ending saga of Ross and Rachel’s not-quite-extinguished love for one another and then as I moved into college and throughout my twenties, it was Sex and the City. Enough said.

In all three of these shows and films, the achievement of happiness is portrayed as finding someone to spend the rest of your days with (SATC is more debatable, but on the surface, the search was omnipresent for that certain someone – click here to see the 24 lessons I feel the series and two films actually taught).

Along with what we watch, what is discussed and alluded to in the society that we live in (i.e. Prince Charming – the term is detrimental for both sides of the romantic equation for goodness sake) as well as the beliefs of those we spend the most time, we are subconsciously molded into accepting certain ideas as successful models and life paths and others as deplorable and depressing.

As one of my English classes was reading To Kill A Mockingbird this month, the conversation between Scout and Dill with Mr. Dolphus Raymond was the center of one of our discussions. The closing arguments in Tom Robinson’s case have just wrapped up, and they’re waiting for the verdict. During the cross examination by the prosecutor of Tom Robinson, Dill breaks down in tears due to the treatment of Tom. The children step outside and begin to converse with Mr. Raymond. Upon learning that he merely has Coca Cola in his Coke bottle, he explains why he presents himself as a drunk which he actually is not.

“Because you’re children and you can understand it . . . things haven’t caught up with that one’s (referring to Dill) instinct yet. Let him get a little older and he won’t get sick and cry. Maybe things’ll strike him as being – not quite right, say, but he won’t cry, not when he gets a few years on him.”

I bring this literary example up because Harper Lee demonstrates in this passage the power of nurture in a child’s life over nature. As children we are raw, unedited and rely instinctively on emotions due to our knowledge of the world around us only beginning to take hold. And as we grow up, the grip, depending upon what we learn, observe and our told, begins to have its way with us and we begin to seek out a comfort that sits well with us to help us get along in the society that we want to flourish in.

The question I think we all must ask ourselves is, are we on a life path that is authentic to who we are or are we instead choosing a path that is non-confrontational simply to gain acceptance from society? The best way to answer that question is to determine if you are content because others accept your path or when you are in your own company, are you at peace with the direction you have chosen?

Today I’d like to share with you six ways you can further ensure that the path you are traveling along during this one and only life you have is authentic to who you are, in sync with the talents you have been blessed with and sincerely fulfilling as you continue to create your very own simply luxurious life.

1. Gather as much perspective as possible

“When you have the perspective that I have on life, you can really navigate it in a way that is effective.” – Nate Berkus following his survival of the Sri Lanka tsunami in 2004.
 
2. Find the truth in the “norms”
“It’s wise, however, to examine the extent to which your romantic fantasy has been kindled by societal norms (which stipulate what all of us are expected to accomplish at each life stage) and fueled by your parents, in-laws, and married friends.” –Sonja Lyubomirsky author of The Myths of Happiness (a book I highly recommend)
 
3. Take risks
“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” – T. S. Eliot
*book to read Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
 
4. Remain forever curious
“Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will.” -James Stephens
 
5. Slow down
“Sometimes the most urgent and vital thing you can possibly do is take a complete rest.” –Ashleigh Brilliant
 
6. Understand your optimal environment

“If you cannot be authentic – if you cannot be true to yourself – if [you] cannot make the decision based upon what feels right to [you] and now [you’re] operating on what everybody else is saying, [you] don’t know how to be in that. {You] don’t know how to function.” –Oprah

*for the introvert that I am, these books put me at great ease and helped me to better understand why I thrived in quiet environments The Introvert’s Way and Quiet

An essential part of The Simply Luxurious Life’s mission statement is to live a life that is “truly fulfilling” which requires of each of us to become in tune with who we are, find the inner strength to pursue what is speaking to us and fight the urge to not think for ourselves and “be led around by the nose”.

As you take some time to be still and examine the path you are currently traveling, be honest about why you seek what you seek. The truth you discover will be more liberating than you ever thought possible.

~SIMILAR POSTS YOU MIGHT ENJOY FROM THE ARCHIVES:

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5 thoughts on “6 Ways to Find Your Authentic Life Path

  1. Thank you for this post. I graduate from college next week and I am at a loss as to what my next step will be. Sadly, I have not recognized what my passions are and don’t know which road to take. My so-called “plan,” is to take a break to learn more about myself and determine the next few steps, but I do not have the luxury to be out of work for so long. I long to travel and “live life,” but how do I reconcile that with entering the workforce and joining thousands of other graduates that are stuck in jobs they do not like?

  2. Very timely sentiments! I’ll be moving and job searching over the next couple of months after being settled in Southern Illinois for the past three years. The transition sometimes seems overwhelming but I’ve been learning to love and trust myself and my instincts. The only thing I can guarantee is knowing what I want. Thanks so much for the reminder! I’m a long-time lurker of your blog, but I’ve meaning to say hello, so, hello! <3

  3. Loved this post. Thanks so much for writing it. I, too, am fairly introverted, and I loved Susan Cain’s book Quiet. It was such an amazing and eye-opening read. I graduated from my undergraduate in 2013 with the hopes of going on for a doctorate in Composition & Rhetoric; unfortunately, as an introverted person who is also very sensitive, I took to heart too many statements from folks telling me it wasn’t practical. I don’t very much believe in fate, but the other day, I had an ah-hah moment.

    I was attending a holiday party and was about to leave when I went to say goodbye to the host, but was stopped by a older gentleman whom I had never met, and he said, “Who are you?” in the most curious and fun way I have ever heard that sentence spoken. For some reason, we just clicked and started talking, and I opened up to him about how I just feel like I’m not on the right path, and that I really want to go for a PhD, but everyone tells me it isn’t practical and I’ll be over-qualified and under-employed when I graduate. He looked at me, smiling, and said, “Well, I just retired from being a college professor for the last 37 years a few years ago, and so did my wife!” My jaw hit the floor. I was so ecstatic to have met someone who truly *got* where I was coming from when I talked about my dreams of teaching at the college level, researching, and publishing.

    After conversing for an hour with him and his wife, he gave me his contact info, and now is helping me put together my applications for this fall to several schools. Such an odd thing to happen at a holiday open house, but truly heartening. Lesson learned.

    Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist” was such a good read for me, too. I’d recommend that book to anyone contemplating their life path, even though it is fiction. It’s inspiring.

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