Authenticity is a fascinating subject I love studying and reading about. There’s a well-known poem from 1916, “The Road Not Taken,” from American Robert Frost that talks about two paths diverging — both literally and figuratively. Although poems are naturally open to interpretation, this piece of literary work offers an important message about taking control of your life and determining your own path can be critical for wellbeing.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.
— The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost (1916)
If you’re struggling with finding the balance between charting your own life course and following the road that you think others want you to take, know that the mental health benefits of choosing the former will always far outweigh any benefits you might get from the latter — and it could all tied to the level of authenticity in your life.
Developing a personal life plan that has reasonable and achievable milestones along the way is a great step toward taking total control of your destiny and embracing authenticity. And when you live an authentic life true to your own desires and goals you will be a happier person.
The battle between what you want and what others want
People often live based on how they think other people want them to behave rather than how they want to behave. It’s perfectly natural to have this inclination because humans are social beings and we want to be liked and approved by friends, family, lovers, and others.
But living to please others is not a sustainable long-term way to achieve personal happiness, and it can instead lead to depression, anxiety and other negative experiences. You will never be able to please everyone and so if you base your own contentment on how others perceive you and your actions, there will never be a totally satisfactory result.
There comes a time when we all must choose which path we’re going to take. Are you going to aim for being liked and accepted by everyone you encounter? Or are you going to take charge of your life and aim for the things you really want to achieve? Only the second route will give you any true sense of self-worth, because it’s the only path you can control.
Attachment versus Authenticity
When you’re ready to make the choice between charting your own course or following others in the hope of winning their love or respect, it comes down to attachment versus authenticity.
Attachment is the feeling of wanting to be accepted by other people, and while it’s a totally normal feeling for everyone it’s also not the healthiest way to live day-to-day.
Authenticity is the act of embracing who you know you truly are inside, working on a personal life coaching programme that sets achievable targets for your life no matter what your inner voice might want — a new job, a new partner, a new home, the options are limitless. Truly the only limitation on devising your own path is your imagination about the future.
The unlimited open-ended potential in being authentic is a much more exciting and mentally rewarding way to live than being boxed in by attachment and striving to please others. Humans can change their minds often, so it’s impossible to create a life plan under attachment because you’re relying on other people remaining 100 percent consistent and that’s not how we act.
The costs and benefits of choosing your own path
Of course, you might think in reading everything above that choosing to follow your own path is a piece of cake and there won’t be any adverse results from embracing authenticity. The truth is that there will be some potential downsides — but none outweigh the benefits of independence.
When you decide to chart your own course in life and not worry about attachment and the approval of others, some of those people might be turned off by this confident approach to life. They may disapprove of the choices that you’re making, even if they are beneficial to your mental, physical and economic wellbeing. That can cause them to make rude comments about you, break off friendships, or even gossip about you behind your back.
The key to dealing with these negative outcomes is to keep telling yourself that not everyone in life is going to like or love you, nor approve of all the things that you do. If you have decided on a path that you know is important for you to be the most positive and healthy individual you can be, then you have to accept these consequences as the cost of living a full life.
And when you add up the pros and cons of this approach, you’ll find it’s worth it.
When you don’t settle for mediocrity and pleasing others at the cost of your own happiness and fulfilment, you will find your mental health and overall outlook improving significantly. And that positivity will have knock-on effects in how you deal with life on a day-to-day basis. It’s hard to overstate just how massive the amazing results can be from choosing authenticity.
Choose your own path with a personal life coaching programme
So you’re ready to embrace your authentic true self and chart your own course, but perhaps you’re wondering how to do it? Thankfully there is a simple and effective answer: pursue a personal life coaching programme. A life coach is an expert who can help you identify the goals that you want to achieve and help you devise a strategy for achieving them.
Life coaches work with clients to get a comprehensive understanding of their needs, fears, desires, and more. They’ll help craft a clear and manageable road ahead that relies heavily on promoting your authentic inner self as you strive to get exactly what you’re looking for.
The personal value of embracing your true self is a priceless thing, from improving your mental health through to meeting targets you set for your own growth. That’s why you should always choose your own path — as Frost wrote, you’ll find it makes all the difference.