When living authentically, choices made are aligned with values. But, values are not a conscious awareness kind of thing the way hunger suddenly blooms into consciousness. What you will notice though is when you’ve strayed from the path and violated one of your principals, a sense of unease dawns.
For instance, a person may say her conscience is bothering her after yelling at her 5 year old. She values patience and respect, but in the heat of the moment, when the milk spilled on the keyboard ruining an hour’s work, mom lets it rip. Suddenly, mom is aware she violated her core values. Feelings of guilt arise.
From the Greater Good article, "Can Mindfulness Help You Be More Authentic?“ by Kira M. Newman, "...mindfulness might give us the extra thoughtfulness we need to remember our values in everyday situations—to say no to commitments that will exhaust us, to remember to be patient with our kids, or to take care of our bodies.”
Or, say it’s Thanksgiving and the spread of delicious foods results in you eating twice as much as you wanted. Not only are your pants tight, feelings of guilt are brewing in the background as you reach for the second helping of pecan pie. High on your list of values and authentic living is healthy eating not sugar and gluttony.
Add Self-Compassion to your list of values and it will make the growth process more comprehensive and you can forgive yourself these transgressions, as they are part of the human experience. How? Pause long enough to take 3 conscious breaths where all you think of is the sensation of air passing through your nostrils. Nothing else needs your attention in those few seconds. A conscious pause allows you to step back from autopilot Doing and see, that on the whole, you’re making progress toward a more authentic life.