I have written that one of the ways to achieve authenticity is to embrace our “mistakes” and to have compassion for ourselves in this perpetually imperfect human experience. We can’t be authentic if we are only willing to express and have contact with the parts of ourselves that we think other people want to see. We have to be willing to feel frustration as much as we feel fantastic.

While I have read books by brilliant authors and have heard many people speak on these topics, I have had to take my own personal journey toward an experience of wholeness. I’ve had to dive into the waters of what it means to be genuine, transparent, unique, and imperfectly perfect. I have had to personally apply the principles in order to glimpse some understanding of what they actually mean. These experiences have led me to a true fascination and appreciation of authenticity in all its forms—and I realize now that I didn’t truly understand what people were talking about until I had some lived experience of my own.

I realize the irony of my writing about these same concepts now—knowing that telling someone usually doesn’t penetrate. Talking about being authentic is very different from being authentic. So, I offer these words as a seed that you might grow in your own life. Rather than my crafting a compelling story about personal development and authenticity, I want to encourage you to find out what it means for yourself. Embrace all of your hopes, dreams, gifts, and flaws and see where they take you. Trust the process, engage in it fully, look under the rocks that compel you to investigation, make the call you’ve been longing to make, get the haircut you’ve been afraid to get, and even if you hate it—notice what it feels like to take a risk. Focus on the moment-to-moment experience of being alive and follow the trail of choices before you. CHOOSE. Know that there really aren’t mistakes, only more information that leads you to yet another choice, and then boldly choose again. Honor your impulse, give it space to live and breathe, give yourself permission to fully experience your life and your relationship to it.


Can you remember a distinct, personal, and private moment from your past? One where you felt connected to yourself, your purpose, or your essential nature? Think about it right now. Maybe it’s a complete picture, or just a wisp of a moment in time. Connect to that experience. Remember what it felt like in your body. See it in your mind’s eye and set the intention to amplify it, to trust it, to take care of it like the most precious commodity you have. I can remember the feeling of writing my journal as a child, or the color and texture of the carpet in my Grandmother’s cabin against the soles of my small feet. These are freeze-frames of me-ness, without judgment or agendas—just grounded, uncensored being. I encourage you to remember those moments in your life, to be on the lookout for them now, and know that there is magic contained in those spiritual spaces in time where the unique individual that you are is vibrating at a perfect harmonic pitch. To me, these moments are like “authenticity unplugged” and we have the extraordinary opportunity to plug them in to the rest of our lives. Capture a memory, and then choose to plug that feeling in to this day. See how it transforms your autopilot into more conscious awareness and authenticity, and how experiencing enough of these moments can shift your entire life toward greater alignment with who you really are.

As always, I welcome your comments and personal experiences on what it means to be authentic and to be living each and every moment of your life to the fullest.

Ingrid Mathieu, PhD is a psychotherapist and author of Recovering Spirituality. You can connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.