We live in an image-obsessed society.
More than ever, we present a carefully curated image of ourselves at work and on social media.
Because of this, you too may have created the perfect Instagram-ready lifestyle and play the part of an ambitious member of corporate America.
But what happens in the process is that you silence your authentic voice.
You may indeed be pretty and talented. So why do you still feel so empty? The secret to joy lies in the authentic voice you’re suppressing.
The good news is that you don’t have to be someone else. Learning to recognize and express your authentic voice will both empower you and bring you joy.
Consider three ways:
1. Pay Attention to Your Gut Feeling
You may ask yourself now: How can I even find my authentic voice? You’ll find a good hint about what your authentic voice is saying when you pay attention to your gut feelings.
For example, when your friend blows you off for the third time in a month, your gut feeling is probably telling you to re-evaluate the friendship. What you shouldn’t do is something opposite of what your gut reaction is telling you to do. If you feel like you’re being taken advantage of, set some limits.
Deep down, you know how you really feel about situations and people. But your mind tells you to make socially acceptable choices, even when those choices are unhealthy for you. Following your authentic voice instead means you’ll be truer to who you really are and what you really feel.
2. Stop Chasing Perfectionism
Perfectionism is one of the most destructive habits, and it’s particularly common in younger women. You want to be the perfect employees, the perfect girlfriends or wives, the perfect mothers…and on it goes. You can’t be true to yourself when you’re chasing perfectionism, though. When you follow an impossible ideal, by definition, you’ll never measure up. Talk about robbing you of joy!
Of course, backing away from perfectionism can be a challenge, especially if you’ve been pursuing it as a goal for most of your life. But the most negative effect of chasing perfectionism is that it stops you from taking risks. You have to be willing to take risks and face possible failures to get to the really good things in life. Whether you want to take a job transfer to Germany for a year or adopt a child, life is full of exciting possible advantages. You’ll talk yourself out of pursuing most of them if you’re pursuing perfectionism.
3. Express Your Creativity
The biggest benefit of using your authentic voice is that it frees you to be creative. You are completely unique and no one else sees the world exactly the same way you do. Give yourself permission to express yourself in the most honest way possible.
Even if your job doesn’t allow for much freedom, you can still carve out a safe place for self-expression in your free time. Take up a hobby like yoga or writing. Maybe you’ve always yearned to be an actor or a chef. Spend at least some time pursuing the things that make you happy.
Putting yourself first—even if only in one aspect of your life—will empower you and bring joy to your life.
So, start listening to your inner voice. What’s it telling you? Does your heart skip a beat when you think about chasing a particular goal? Are you thrilled at even the idea of moving to a new city or dating a certain person, even if common sense would tell you not to do it?
While you should always carefully think through the big decisions, your authentic voice knows what will bring you joy. Consider it your north star and follow it to your bliss.