11/09/2012 09:05 am ET Updated Jan 09, 2013

Funny and Smart Are Great, But How About Being Authentic for Once?

We all have an authentic soul, although often it's buried deep beneath a thick and strong layer of "impostor" personalities. These "impostors" are really a false belief system that colors your world, takes over your life, and causes havoc. Your impostors prevent you from achieving your highest personal and professional success, and they influence (usually negatively) how you act and what you say. When you let your impostors reign free, you're apt to make poor choices during times of stress and often face the same scenario repeatedly... because your impostors lead you there.

In contrast, when you're letting your authentic soul shine, you have the love and energy to offer emotional nourishment to those you come in contact with. Your authentic soul is a peacemaker. It seeks nirvana, lives in the moment, and believes that something far bigger than itself exists. When you allow yourself to be guided by your authentic soul, you are creative, productive, joyful, forgiving, and present.

Dr. Phil defines the authentic self (authentic soul) as "the you that can be found at your absolute core. It is the part of you not defined by your job, function, or role. It is the composite of all your skills, talents, and wisdom. It is all of the things that are uniquely yours and need expression, rather than what you believe you are supposed to be and do."

While everyone would like to embrace and live from their authentic soul, doing so isn't always easy. Why? Think of it like this: We all have times in our lives when we come to a fork in the road. On the "easy" path, sometimes you can lie, steal, or cheat to get to the other side, knowing you could get away with it. On the more challenging path, you do the hard work to reach the goal.

Your impostors will say all kinds of things to get you to take the easy path. The Inner Child impostor will say, "I don't wanna do the hard work. Don't make me!" The Inner Narcissist impostor might rationalize it by saying, "I already know that I could do the hard work, so I don't need to prove myself to anyone. I've earned this break!" The reasons and excuses from each of the eight impostors are loud, compelling, and virtually endless. No wonder they drown out the authentic soul so easily.

But when you have the strength and integrity to do the work and take the hard path, that's when you'll be living from your authentic soul.

Let Your Authentic Soul Take Center Stage

Many people wonder how they can unleash their authentic soul, especially after years of teachers, bosses, friends, family, and even strangers telling us how they want or expect us to act.

One way to get in touch with this aspect of yourself is to do one thing every day that puts you in touch with your soul. What do you truly enjoy doing? What makes your soul feel happy and content? Unfortunately, many people are unable to answer those questions. They've been out of touch with themselves for so long that they honestly can't remember what they enjoy doing or what makes them feel at peace. But as Mike Robbins reminds us, "The first essential aspect of our journey to live a more authentic, meaningful, and fulfilling life is to know who we truly are at the deepest level."

In order to know yourself at this deep level, you need to spend some time in quiet contemplation. Listen to the little voice in the back of your mind and be aware of the feelings you're experiencing. Think about your likes and dislikes in general. Do you crave adventure? Is quiet solitude what you really yearn for? Are you a physical person? Or does intellect stimulate you more? Whatever you gravitate toward, find an activity that satisfies that need, whether it's journaling, hiking, bicycling, or just watching the waves hit the beach. Discover what stirs your soul and do one thing each day that enhances that feeling.

This is an important practice, because as Gary Zukav says:

When the deepest part of you becomes engaged in what you are doing, when your activities and actions become gratifying and purposeful, when what you do serves both yourself and others, when you do not tire within but seek the sweet satisfaction of your life and your work, you are doing what you were meant to be doing.

In other words, you are living from your authentic soul.

Embrace the Real, Authentic You

Rest assured that no matter how loud your impostors are clamoring for your attention or for how long they've derailed your efforts, your authentic soul is always there, ready to help you get in touch with joy, make meaningful connections with others, and recognize your inherent worth. Getting in touch with your authentic soul takes work, time, and continued diligence, but when you put forth the effort you'll begin to trust in yourself and have the confidence to make the right decision even at the risk of criticism and rejection.

No one is perfect, and your authentic soul is there to remind you that failing doesn't make you a failure. Your authentic soul helps create openness and honesty with others, paving the way for intimacy and closer relationships. When you trust in your authentic soul to guide you, your words, and your actions, you will have the ability to live a richer and more productive life.

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