“The truth is: Belonging starts with self-acceptance. Your level of belonging, in fact, can never be greater than your level of self-acceptance, because believing that you’re enough is what gives you the courage to be authentic, vulnerable and imperfect.” – Brene Brown

Authenticity is a word that I am all too familiar with. I was reduced to tears, 30,000 feet in the air, on a flight home from a client site because I wanted a life that felt more authentic. I set an intention that day to create a life that, “felt authentic.” A simple idea, yet I found it extremely vague and unclear in execution.Authenticity literally means genuine. As in, a document is authentic when it is genuine or undisputed. I understand the idea of a document being genuine, pretty straight forward.But how can a person be anything but genuine? What do we mean when we say that a person is anything other than one’s self? Isn’t it rhetorical to say someone is anything other than one’s self?The fake document means that its’ origins are not real. So what is the equivalent of a document’s origins being unoriginal in the human experience?Brene Brown’s quote above is speaking to this idea that we are living in the world without self-acceptance and that keeps us from being genuine, authentic, ourselves.If we do not accept what is genuine about our self, then we are living from a place that is not real, true, genuine to our nature.I call this phenomenon living from impostor thoughts; the thoughts in your mind are not genuine; they come from someone else and do not belong with you.Without self-acceptance, we adopt other people’s beliefs as our own and create our lives from this disingenuous place. Once we accept this form of living, we deny our genuine qualities and attempt to live our lives from qualities or beliefs systems belonging to others.We cannot belong when the very nature of our true self is no longer available. Our life is inauthentic.We cannot belong where we do not exist.So self-acceptance is the first step towards freedom. Freedom from a life that is not ours. Freedom from a life where we will never fit in because it is not ours to begin with.Are you ready to take steps towards a life that feels like you belong? I was. I had a life filled with successes, triumphs, money, friends, and everything else a person equates to happiness. The only problem was that I never belonged. It was a life that never fit. It belonged to another.I spent 3 years struggling to find a life that felt genuine. I looked around the world for the answers that were, as everyone always suggests, right there waiting patiently for me to recognize.You can travel the world in search of yourself, but it is a lot faster to just sit in your kitchen and look within.

Emotional Self-Acceptance Fitness Training

  1. Self-Acceptance begins – accept that being someone other than yourself is impossible. You can only be you. Any attempts to be me or your neighbor will be nothing more than a bad imitation.
  2. Invite yourself out for a coffee. What does that mean? You take time to get to know friends, co-workers, family. But do you know you? Sit down with yourself, grab a coffee, and start a conversation.
  3. Avoid judgments. I mean who wants to have a coffee with a judgmental __ fill in the blank. Don’t judge; no one likes judgy people. You will never make a new friend this way.
  4. Your new BFF. Take notes. As you say hi and get to know one another, ask some good questions. “What are your favorite hobbies?” “What makes you feel alive?” “What weighs you down?” “What are your best qualities?” As you answer, write down the responses… while being mindful of #3. Be Nice.
  5. Learn who you are. Look at the answers from your new best friend. Who is this person? What makes you feel alive? And are you getting the chance to feel alive as often as possible? Or is your life filled with things that weigh you down? Can you find a few things in the world that match your list of uplifting activities?

Judgment destroys our ability to live the life we desire. We cannot be anything other than our genuine self, but judgments destroy that person’s ability to live in accordance with her true nature.Without judgment, you can free yourself from a life that does not belong to you.I thought people who claimed they would do their job for free where kidding or lying. They are not.But think about how simple the idea really is. If you do something that is disingenuous to you day after day, how could that feel like anything but work. It is tiring to fake it.If you work from your true nature, your authentic self, it is easy, free, and fulfilling. No, it is not the same as a day at the beach, I mean it is still work, but sometimes I even would prefer my work to a day at the beach!Give it a try! Let me know how it goes.