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Embracing Authenticity: Your Guide to Starting the New Year with a Clean Slate

Hello loves!

Christmas has passed and it's on to the next big holiday: New Year's Eve.

I think it's fair to say that we all hold the changing of the year in high regard. Even though, logically, a new number on a date shouldn't be that impactful, we still celebrate the holiday with major fanfare. In our minds, the end of one year in exchange for the new is a time of change, hope, and new beginnings.

We stay up until Midnight, watch the ball drop with bated breath, and know that the New Year will be different-- for better or worse.

I admit that even now as 2024 approaches, I've already started deciding on what my New Year's Resolutions will be. In the past, they've ranged from big changes like working out twice a day (who am I kidding) to small changes like learning a new hairstyle every month. Like most people, I think I start off fairly well, but as the year gets busy and life becomes crazy, I fall out of my routine and forget about whatever goal I'm supposed to be working on.

No matter the resolution, though, it's probably safe to say that almost everyone creates resolutions because they want to better themselves. A New Year equals a fresh start. We get the chance to reinvent ourselves and create the habits that we wish we had.

But what if, instead of using our resolutions to focus on our flaws and the things we want to change, we focus on our strengths instead?

What if 2024 is the year for being truly, authentically yourself?

Living authentically isn't a new concept by any means. From philosophers and religious texts to a hashtag and the moral of children's movies, 'being yourself' has been a hot topic; and that's not really a surprise. Lately, everyone has been struggling with being true to who they are.

Considering the only person it is possible to be is Yourself, it's ironic that that seems to be the last thing most people want to be.

We jump through hoops to put up and maintain facades around others, tip-toe through uncertainty to avoid making mistakes, and are just far too concerned about what the infamous ~Other People~ might think of us. It's exhausting, and it's not a sustainable way to live.

Nor should you live a life afraid to be who you are! Everyone is created to be a wholly unique and different person from anyone else. And yes I know it's a cliche to say "There's only one You in the world" but oh well, I said it anyway because it's true and it's important.

You are who you are for a reason.

Obviously, it's important to keep growing and working on becoming kinder, better people, but it should be done in a way that plays to your strengths, and lets who you truly are shine brighter.

For example, if you prefer only hanging with small groups of people and are also good at listening, work on being a safe space for others. It wouldn't make sense (or end well) for you to make it your goal to throw Gatsby-level parties where you can't interact with every person who arrives. That isn't who you are, and you'll end up burning out and feeling like you "failed."

(*A side note here: I don't think anyone truly fails at New Year's Resolutions. When you don't hit your goal, you still learn something either about yourself or about the process of achieving your goals that will benefit you in the future. As long as you are still learning and don't give up, you haven't failed.)

So to kick off the New Year, I'm going to do a 5 five-part series all on Living Authentically. I'll list my tips and why it's important to a genuine life, and hopefully you'll find some things you'll want to try out in this coming year.

Without further ado, here is my first tip on entering 2024 as your most wonderful, authentic self:

Get to Know Who You Are-- Flaws & All

To live authentically, you have to know who you are.

Like in the previous example, your strengths and weaknesses make a huge difference in how you interact with others and the world. If you know that you are a caring, creative person whose love language is gift-giving, then you could make a goal to send thoughtful notes or make 'thinking of you' crafts to let people know you care about them. You can play up the things you are good at, that will allow you to easily and genuinely shine in a way that no one else can.

On the flip side, if you know that you struggle with patience, you could challenge yourself to appreciate the little things in life and not always rush. Maybe you'll get in the habit of counting to 10 before speaking or reacting, or perhaps you'll stop to look around at the world outside of yourself. But whatever it may be, you'll know which areas of your life could use a wee bit of work to help you become a better friend, family member, and overall human.

So try some journaling. Take notes on what you enjoy and what you never want to do. Spend time with yourself, with no distractions or phones or whatever nearby, and allow your thoughts to wash over you. When something makes you happy, find ways to repeat it. And when something hurts or upsets you, feel those feelings, then look into what specifically it was that made you upset.

If you need to take yourself out on a solo date to get to know yourself, then omg please go do it! Not only are they fun, but planning your own perfect outing can show you parts of yourself you didn't even realize were there!

Along with understanding your strengths and weaknesses, you should also take some time just to reflect on YOU. What matters to you? What do you want out of life? Your beliefs, your goals, and the things you care about are all things that only you can decide for yourself. You can't and shouldn't force yourself into becoming someone you aren't.

Because who you are is so wonderful and perfectly you already.

Embrace who you are and live the beautiful life only you can live! Love and support the things and people you love in ways that are unique to you. Others may try to influence you, but how you live your life ultimately comes down to you.

Which is why my next tip is to...

Find the Right People

(But we'll get into that next week!)

Love y'all!

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” ~Ephesians 2:10

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