THE BLOG

Finding Happiness: Just Be Yourself

06/18/2010 10:19 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Sometimes it feels like the older I get, the less I know. How is this possible! We're supposed to be getting smarter, wiser and more fabulous as we age, right? (Okay, the part about fabulous might only be true for Jennifer Anniston, whose body could inspire the sequel to Benjamin Button!)

But it seems like as we age we are bombarded with messages from advertisers, family, friends and the media about how we should live our lives.

For instance: I'm sure your mother would do cartwheels if you were married by 25, lived within two miles of her, and granted her exactly 2.5 grandchildren. But that might not be your cup of coffee.

When the world dictates how you should live your life, it can actually become harder to be true to your authentic self. In my last Something Different for Women class, we talked about aligning with the powers that be: your true self.

Jennifer Maculoso said: "Success will always find you when are authentic. Follow your bliss and you will always feel joy, and when you feel joy, success finds you." It sounds like she picked up and cracked open the perfect fortune cookie.

Why do so many of us wear masks to hide our true selves? Everyone is born authentic, but as we grow up we spend too much time separating from who we are, acting like we're something different. Acting is stressful. (Especially when you're bad at it, like me.)

Being true to who we are takes time and effort. Here are some things to help you on your way:

  • To be authentic means to find the key to happiness and success within one's self, not within society.

  • When you live an authentic life, you are living the life that resonates with your soul. As the saying goes, "We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience."

  • It takes courage, honesty and a desire to be free of others' opinions. I love the line, "What you think of me is none of my business."

  • To be authentic, you have to stop putting others' needs ahead of your own, and you have to stop compromising your dreams to please others.

  • Don't be such a yenta with your friends, either! Allow them the freedom to choose their own life plan.

This is all great and dandy, but how do we get down to the core of who we really are and stay true to ourselves? Here are questions to ask:

  1. What in life already makes you happy?

  • What, if added to your life, would make you happier?
  • Where do you already feel successful?
  • Does the life you are living resonate with your inner being?
  • Do you have the courage to live more authentically?
  • What habits do you need to let go of in order to be more authentic?
  • At what point, during each day, can you make time to connect with yourself?
  • Have an authentic moment every day. Whether it is telling your friend what she can do with her opinion of you, or directing your mother to the adopt-a-grandchild in Africa nonprofit. Take a stand each day, and you'll be happier, healthier and attracting the life that you really want.