Your Essence in 3 Words
Your Authentic Self is the person you were born as. It is the unique qualities and traits that only you possess.
When you strive to be your Authentic Self, a sense of purpose and a feeling of happiness follow not because you are trying to do or achieve anything, but because it is being who you really are that creates meaningful impact in the world.
Discover Your Authentic Self in 3 Words
For this exercise you will need a pen and paper and about 15 to 20 minutes of uninterrupted time.
Recall a moment of vivid detail and sensation where you felt most alive, connected, passionate, loved, or happy.
Next, compose a list of everything that you felt and experienced in that moment, jotting down whatever comes to mind. Start each line with "I am..." Your list may include: I am free; I am young; I am happy; I am wild; I am strong; etc. Give yourself enough time to capture a complete list, only finishing when your answers do not come as easily.
When you have finished your list, go through each entry and cross off anything that is temporary. This includes your physical appearance, job, duties, relationships, age, position in the family, and even some emotional states (So “I felt sad” or “I was wearing blue shoes” would be temporary and wouldn’t be relevant).
Finally, cross off everything that you cannot take with you when you die. We are searching for those lasting blueprints of our unique soul, those qualities that make you feel like you and endure throughout all of life.
It is okay to alter or adjust some of your sentences to fit this structure (For example: “I am being funny” may be something more like “I am good natured” or “I am accepting” or “I am silly”).
You'll want to end up with a list of three to five characteristics. If you have more than five qualities listed, some of your words might overlap. For example, loving and compassionate might mean the same thing. Try combining traits until you have a final list that feels good to you.
Having Trouble? Try This Instead.
If the exercise is causing some trouble, try asking someone who knew you before the age of 4 (and before any trauma occurred if possible) what you were like as a small child. Write the list of qualities and traits as they describe you or have them write out the list. Then, continue with the exercise: crossing off anything impermanent, anything you cannot take with you when you die and, combining similar words until you have a list of three to five traits.
Take your list and compare them to your daily activities. For example, while eating breakfast or driving to work, see if your qualities are present.
Finding your words is one thing, implementing them is primarily about looking for areas where you are already being you and areas you are not being you (as defined by your list).
The more you open yourself to the real and raw vulnerability of being authentic, the more your true self will emerge.
And that, my friend, is what makes your Soul Gift truly powerful.
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