Creativity, Self Empowerment

Journal prompts: Authenticity and awareness

We hear the word ‘authentic’ bandied about a lot. It seems to be in the title of every new self-help book that’s released.

But I think it’s gotten a bit of a bad rap.

I actually think that striving to live an authentic life is a very worthwhile goal.

So, to that end, I say we make the word ‘authentic’ a little less self-helpy and a little more, well, authentic.

I think to truly live an authentic life means to know your values and live a life¬†that reflects these. It’s about really knowing who you are and being aware of what matters to you, maintaining that awareness, and acting so that your life is in alignment with that. This means that what is an authentic life for me, will not necessarily be an authentic life for you.

You need to know yourself: I don’t authentic lifethink it’s possible to live an authentic life if you don’t really know what makes you tick.

I also don’t think it’s possible to live an authentic life without some level of self awareness. You can’t possibly live a life in alignment with your values if you aren’t aware of what they are.

And it’s not a one-off thing, either. You need to maintain the awareness to make sure your life continues to be in alignment with your values.

In other words, to truly live an authentic life, you have to cultivate awareness through a regular check-in with yourself.

You can probably guess what I recommend for this. Yes, it’s journaling. And not just any journaling, but a regular practice of tuning into that voice inside, that inner wisdom, to make sure you’re living a life that is authentic for you.

>>> Prompts:

What does the word ‘authentic’ mean to you?

To what extent do you think you live an authentic life? What changes would you like to make so that your life reflects your true self?

How can you cultivate more awareness?

Note: this post was originally part of a series of 30 life lessons and journal prompts for my 30th birthday. You can access the rest of the lessons and prompts here.

Creativity, Self Empowerment

Journal prompts: Know yourself

The practice of journaling regularly has allowed me to get to know myself in ways unimaginable.

There’s something about the process of writing our thoughts, dreams and fears out onto the page, getting them outside of ourselves and having them there for us to look at, that enables us to better connect with and understand ourselves.

My journal is a mirror I hold up to myself, reflecting back my deepest values, highlighting my darkest fears and loftiest dreams, showing me who I am.

Through this process I have gained greater clarity about myself, about things I never knew before; I’m a highly sensitive person, an introvert, I often let resistance and fear stop me from doing things but paradoxically I also believe that anything is possible.

lesson 7When I began my journaling journey, I didn’t set out to ‘get to know myself better’, it just sort of happened along the way. And while I’m sure there are other ways of getting to know yourself and how you tick, I have found journaling to be the most invaluable tool to do so.

It’s like an ongoing therapy session with myself that I always have a record of to reread. Patterns and cycles become clear, images, symbols and words are repeated, certain themes emerge.

And by seeing myself on the page, I start to become a character in a bigger story, distinct from myself. I find this allows me to learn about ‘this person’ with compassion and acceptance, without judgement.

In short, journaling has deepened my relationship with myself. I can now listen to that small, quiet voice inside – the one that accepts me as I am and comforts me when the world is too harsh, that tells me when something feels off, when I need to rest more, when I need more self-love.

In fact, the small voice inside has gotten louder and louder. I now no longer look at my life and wonder why things are happening the way they are happening. Because I have a deeper sense of who I am, because I know myself and why I think and behave the way I do, I have a greater sense of purpose and control over my life. I find myself reacting less and acting more purposefully.

This post is a lot more rambly than I intended, so I apologise if you’ve struggled to follow my train of thought!

>>> Prompts:

How well do you think you know yourself?

What practices do you engage in regularly to maintain a good relationship with yourself? It doesn’t have to just be journaling, it might be painting, meditating, exercise such as yoga or running, seeing a therapist, etc.

What practices would you like to try to create a deeper sense of connection with yourself?

Note: this post was originally part of a series of 30 life lessons and journal prompts for my 30th birthday. You can access the rest of the lessons and prompts here.