But what does that mean? Your ‘authentic self?’ Especially when we are constantly evolving in a constantly evolving world. We may know our preferences, desires, and personality traits. But the authentic self is something so much more indefinable. The French knew this when they described the indescribable, je ne sais quoi.
It’s that special something that makes you you. That feeling when we express our preferences without apology. When we go for our desires with full power. Or when we’re aware of our personality traits, and love them while laughing at our quirks. We feel comfortable in our own skin, our own home, and even in our society.
Because yes, your ‘authentic self,’ no matter how free and uninhibited, still exists in a society. We are social beings. We can’t deny the influence of society on how we live. This is how we survive!
How we thrive is all about balance.
The world requires so much of us. At home, we’re mothers, partners, and providers. At work, we’re employers, employees, and collaborators. And at play, we’re friends, lovers, wallflowers or the lives of the party. Ultimately, above all else, we are CREATORS!
We create who we are. So, how do we coexist within our external world while showing up from a place of inner knowing? We are indeed ‘born this way,’ but it’s easier sung than done. We’re right there with you!
Here at Botanical Trader we have created a guide to help inspire your journey as your most beautiful, embodied, authentic self!
But before we begin -just a few reminders as you live into these possibilities:
- This takes a great level of awareness and practice. This process may seem simple, but it’s not linear. And it happens over time, not overnight.
- Even more so if you are in the process of healing from emotional wounds. Triggers may come up! Give yourself compassion and seek support as you work through them.
- And remember most of all to HAVE FUN!
6 Tips to Unearth Your Je Ne Sais Quoi
1. Listen to the whispers of your soul
Our souls know exactly why we’re here. Even if we aren’t aware of what that is just yet.
Have you ever feared that discovering the answer may require something that you’re not ready for? Like a total career shift, the end to a relationship, or a complete 180°?
Not to fear. Simply listen to that whisper. Which then becomes a cry or a song. Which then becomes a thundering crash or a glorious symphony.
Take the time to get in touch with that voice, and decide which way you want it to sound.
- Begin by asking yourself, “What matters to me?”
- Meditate ~ take at least 10 minutes every day to breathe and inquire “Who am I?”
- Journal about what comes up
Once you’re clear, take action. Whether through your career or free-time, there are many ways to dedicate energy to the things that matter most.
- Do you care about natural living? Join a community garden and grow your own veggies!
- Are you an animal lover? Walk dogs once a week at the local shelter.
- Is your passion to help others discover their authentic selves? Consider taking that certification course and opening that practice you’ve always dreamed of.
Discover your soul mission, dream big, and take action to make those dreams come true.
2. Honour your emotions
Meanwhile, take frequent pauses to rest and reflect. The actions of doing what you love must also be met with the stillness of being Love.
- Take a long walk in nature by yourself
- Write a list of the things for which you’re so grateful
- Allow yourself a no-phone hour every day to just connect with yourself
At times, the process may also look a little less lovely. Living your soul’s mission comes with its learning curves. Sometimes those curves turn into curveballs.
Allow yourself to truly be present with whatever emotions arise. The heart holds such a great capacity…love and joy, faith and courage, grief and pain. These are not separate. To access the joy of the authentic self, we must fully acknowledge the wounds.
If this feels difficult, ask a loyal friend or a trusted coach/therapist for guidance and support.
Give space to authentically feel it all. Without judgment.
3. Love this body
You were given this body as a miraculous gift through which to carry out your life. Cherish it!
Forget societal expectations that attractiveness means an image of perfect health, youth, height, weight, straight hair, light skin, or whatever constantly changing beauty fad is out there. These standards are not the truth.
The Truth is that self-acceptance is way sexier than fitting into a physical mold. And WAY more authentic.
I have a friend who refuses to shave because she says that her hair is a part of her, and she loves that part too. I have another friend who got breast enhancement surgery because she says it makes her feel more like herself. There is no right nor wrong here!
I am always struck by each when they walk into the room, not necessarily by their beauty (nor her hair nor her breasts) but by the confidence they exude. This magnetism comes from a place of radical self-love.
Radical self-love is an evolutionary process. It can be even harder to embrace when our bodies face illness. But this is the body’s way of communicating that it needs a little (or a lot) of extra care. And so requires our commitment to love and healing.
Some simple practices to instill self-love into your cells everyday:
1. First get comfortable with looking at yourself in the mirror. All of yourself. Yes, that’s right!2. Speak words of affirmation to your body.
- I am beautiful the way I am
- I love every part of me
- My beauty comes from within and reflects through my appearance
3. Take care of this body!
- Eat whole, nutritious foods that nourish your gut and dietary needs
- Drink 8oz of water a day
- Move for at least 30 minutes every day (yoga asana, walking your dog, working out, dance breaks)
- Get 7-8 hours of sleep every night (we recommend turning your phone off or on airplane-mode during this time)
- If it’s within your means, receive treatments like massage, acupuncture, or any kind of bodywork.
4. Nurture your skin
- Practice regular self-massage or Gua Sha
- Stick with your favorite clean beauty products and make-up
- Once again, hydration, hydration, hydration
5. Accept that there is no such thing as anti-aging. We all age. So why not age well?
When we treat our bodies from a place of love, we understand that it’s a perfect vessel for authenticity.
4. Curate your own version of "Luxe Style"
This is the fun part! Feeling good about this body also involves how you dress it.
Fashion is one of our greatest individual expressions. It’s the first impression we ever make before we even speak. It’s the thread that touches our bodies everyday. It should reflect who we are and make us feel good about who we are.
So, just as we’re throwing societal standards of beauty out of the window, let’s also do away with fashion trends.
What are fashion trends anyway? Trends are fabricated by corporate industries to promote the illusion that “more is better.” We are not born to be consumers, we are born to be our most authentic selves!
True fashion doesn’t follow trends. True fashion is timeless because it is an expression of the true you.
Iris Apfel’s style is wildly eclectic. Jackie Kennedy’s is classically elegant. And Grace Jones’ is fearlessly avant-garde. Their styles couldn’t be more different. But what they have in common is authenticity. They go up as fashion legends because they curated their own styles. They dictated their own rules. They embodied their own identities.
How can you do the same?
- Identify what you like! Find the right colors, silhouettes, and textiles that suit your skin tone, shape, and preferences. Are you more understated with earth tones? Or do you make bold statements with dynamic colors and patterns?
- Consider the entire life cycle of your clothes. Doesn’t it feel way better to wear natural fibers that don’t harm the environment and clothes made by workers treated fairly?Upcycled, vintage, and second-hand are also great avenues to explore. As with food, shopping locally has a softer impact on the environment
- Refrain from participating in ‘fast fashion.’ Rather, spend a bit more (within your means) on a few staple pieces in which you feel AMAZING, enough to last you over time
- Every once in a while, when you feel called to incorporate a new piece or you find something that really speaks to you, go for it. You are worth it!
The way you dress is a unique expression of that ‘je ne sais quoi!’
5. Mind your environment
That unique expression extends beyond what you put on yourself to what you put around yourself. I’m talking about the folks with whom we connect and the spaces in which we inhabit.
Can you imagine feeling like your best self if you’re living in a cluttered home or hanging out with toxic people? No thank you!
According to Tosha Silver, a renowned spiritual coach and author of It’s Not Your Money, keeping a tidy, spacious environment and surrounding yourself with loving, supportive relationships even opens up channels to more abundance!
When we feel safe and beautiful in our world, don’t we feel like our most authentic selves?
1. Curate Your Own Luxe Style: Home Edition
- Keep it clean and free of dirt and clutter
- Bring in lots of natural light and life, like plants, sunlight, even a pet if that’s an option!
- Decorate your home in a way that suits your style and means. See “#4 Create Your Own Luxe Style” for tips on home decor
2. Spend plenty of time surrounded by art and expression
- Visit museums, galleries, and beautiful spaces
3. Connect with Mother Nature regularly - this one is essential
- We are not separate from nature, but an intrinsic part of it
- When we immerse ourselves in gardens, woods, beaches, and any natural environment, we remember the ancient calling of our connection to source
4. With heart, mindfully choose who you invite to your life-party
- It is a privilege for anyone to have access to your authentic beauty
- Take your time getting to know new people
- Surround yourself with those who appreciate that! And love you for who you are
Set yourself up for success by creating the world in which you want to live.
6. Speak your truth
We encounter many situations in which we can’t choose who we interact with nor how our surroundings feel. In which case, speak your truth.
Do you have a message to share that goes against the grain? Despite the risk, speak your truth.
How can we hear ourselves if we don’t allow ourselves to be heard by others?
Uncomfortable experiences are opportunities to express our boundaries. And those whispers of the heart are calls of the wisdom we have to share with the world. To help give you strength in those uncomfortable conversations remember the wise words of Brene Brown "Its kind to be clear and upfront"
Unearth your authentic voice:
1. State your boundaries, desires, and emotions
- In some cases, these are obvious and easy to express
- If you’re a recovering people-pleaser like me, it can sometimes get a bit murky. But if you feel something, say something. It might upset others who don’t understand, but the ones who do honor us are worth keeping in our lives
- If this feels challenging, start with baby steps. Ask someone with whom you are 100% comfortable to hold space for you to practice
2. Share your soul message
- Here we come full-circle. Refer to “#1 Listen to the Whisper of Your Soul” to more clearly define what matters to you
- Through meaningful dialogue, journaling, and art – share your unique perspective
3. Speak from your heart
- Don’t worry so much about finding the ‘right’ words
- Connect your heart to your voice and speak as a servant of your message
No one has your voice but you. Trust yourself to speak up and share it!
And so the process begins again, each step leading to all others.
Follow these guidelines and do the work. Then make sure to sit back, receive the rewards, and surrender to the flow of life.
Please let us know about your successes and challenges in living as your most authentic self!