I don’t want to live my life hiding who I am and what I believe. I bet you don’t either. We have the freedom to live with authenticity in this country. Let’s not waste it! Are you ready to live with less inhibition and more gusto?
Good. Because I believe we can make the biggest difference and find the most joy in life when we are honest about who we are—and not afraid to fully live it out. It’s not easy, but it’s worth the effort. Because I believe authenticity is crucial in achieving real success and finding real fulfillment.
What keeps us from living with gusto?
It’s tempting to take the easy road and blend in with the crowd instead of standing out and standing up for our beliefs. Blending in feels like the safe choice. It’s the path to pleasing others, fitting in, and (maybe) winning acceptance.
But it also stifles the potential of the authentic, wonderful humans God made us to be. And if we’re honest, hiding who we are sucks the joy out of life and the motivation out of our work.
I don’t want that kind of legacy. I want to have the courage to move past my inhibitions and fully live life in my own quirky, unconventional way.
If you’re with me on this, take Anne Lamott’s warning to heart:
“Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written, or you didn’t go swimming in those warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen.”Anne Lamott
Simple ways to live your life authentically and with gusto
- Enjoy your favorite activities with gusto. Enter fully into the activities you love, even if you’re not that good at them. Sing your favorite songs at full volume. Dance with two left feet. Do Yoga with your own unique style. Paint your heart out. Forget how “good” the results look to others and focus on the joy the activity is giving you. You go, girl!
- Wear clothes you love. Forget this week’s hot fashion trends. Forget what looks good on models or movie stars. Instead, wear the clothes that work for you. The styles that fit comfortably and suit your personality. The colors and fabrics that spark joy in your heart. When you feel good about your outfit, you’ll be more confident, so quit hiding your favorite duds in the back of the closet. Don’t “save” them for special occasions. Enjoy wearing them whenever possible.
- Quit wasting time wishing you were that woman. With her personality, her job, and her talents. You’re not her, so let it go. The world tries to convince us that we can be anything we want to be. But it’s not true. When we fight against our temperament and strengths, we’re never going to achieve a satisfying life. We are capable of great things, but only when we honor our God-given temperament and purposes. Are you so busy looking at the people you wish you were that you’ve become blind to the awesome person with awesome potential that you already are? Quit the comparison trap and begin believing in yourself.
“Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else”Judy Garland
- Don’t make excuses for your interests. If you feel “less than” because your interests don’t seem as significant, interesting, or sophisticated as others, STOP! Is a passion for astronomy inherently better than a passion for collecting cat figurines? NO! Don’t believe the lie that your particular interests aren’t important enough to warrant pursuing them with gusto. I believe God is able to use any and every experience in our lives to do his work. Who knows how your interests are playing into God’s plan. So honor your authentic self and make the most of your time on earth by fully engaging in whatever your hand finds to do. Even if it seems silly.
- Pay attention the unique style of others. When you notice someone standing up for their beliefs or living out their own style and interests with abandon, let it inspire you—even if their style isn’t anything like yours. It takes courage to live life authentically. Always honor that courage, in yourself or others.
Where do you need a little more gusto in your life?
Chose one thing you can do today to live life with more gusto.
Me? I’m going to listen to Beethoven at loud volume and “air conduct” to my heart’s content.