One question that has been on my mind lately is: Am being my most authentic self? It’s a deep question and the answer might not be straightforward, but this post will give you the tools necessary to discover your authenticity. In this day and age, it is an important question to ask ourselves and check back in on every now and then. So I challenge you to ask yourself: Am I being my most authentic self?
Life moves fast these days with social media and the world at the touch of our fingertips, it’s hard to slow down and just sit sometimes. I feel now, more than ever, when life is racing by we need to get in touch with our inner selves and make sure we are living our lives the way we want to and not for someone or something else.
What is our Authentic Self?
Let’s start with how you know what your authentic self is. The words I always come back to in order to define “authentic” is “genuine” or “naked”. When I try to get back to my authentic self I try to think about who I am minus all of the titles. Who am I when it is just me? Not a girlfriend, not an employee, not a daughter.
When you are reflecting on your authentic self you are acting and living your life completely aligned with your thoughts and beliefs that come from within. You are not altered by external influences or circumstances and stay true to your values and morals in every aspect of your life. For example, if you have a job that is forcing you to act against your beliefs, you would quit your job to maintain your authenticity instead of going against your intrinsic beliefs to appease your boss.
Your authentic self is your “gut feeling.” We all have that feeling we get when we aren’t doing something quite exactly right and that is your “gut” is telling you that you are acting out of alignment with your true self. Listen to your gut.
How do you find your authentic self?
I try to think about who I am when I am vulnerable; do I get angry and snap? Do I continue to be polite when faced with adversity or fear? I try to think about who I am when I am humbled.
I have found that the best way to find your authentic self is to ask yourself questions like these. The trick is that you have to sit with the questions and think about the answers. There are no wrong answers, you are who you are.
Another good way to get in touch with your authentic self would be to make a list of traits that you think describe who you are, who you think you are, and who you would like to be if the world’s opinions didn’t matter.
After that, make a list of the traits that you possess now, as you are currently. How many words are the same on each list? Are their traits on your second list that you wish you didn’t have? Traits that don’t align with who you want to be? While it may be hard to put words to certain traits, or even recognize them, this is a great exercise because you can see it all on paper at the end of it.
Take a trip. Take a page out of my book and go on a trip somewhere. You can even do a solo trip and really find out who you are. I find traveling to be the ultimate humbling experience as you are taken out of your element and forced to figure it out on your own. You will always learn something about yourself on a trip and it’s usually a quality that you won’t be able to hide after. Feel free to check out some of my other posts for inspirational travel ideas!
How do we lose your authentic self?
In this fast-paced world, it is easy to lose ourselves on social media. We get caught up in posting our great meal, our amazing vacations (guilty!), and pics of us out with our friends. We only think to post the good times, but there are lots of other days where we might not be ticking off a box on our bucket list. But we don’t post then?
This portrayal of ourselves is chosen — we choose how we want the world to view our lives and how we are viewed might not be our most authentic self. For example, I like to make funny faces at my friends, but I have never posted a picture of a funny face on my Instagram. This also opens up the next topic of why we wouldn’t want to be our authentic selves all the time?
We can also lose ourselves when we always think about what other people will think of us, or our actions. We start to think too much of what we should do and put what we want to do (or what is best for us) on the back burner. It’s good to be helpful to those around you, but you also have to make sure you are honoring the voice inside you. Your instincts are more powerful than you know.
We hide behind these masks of the ego in order to seem put together, organized, brave, wealthy, or successful. We hide behind them because of our fear of not being liked and accepted for who we truly are. The kicker is, who we really are is the best part! We shouldn’t be afraid to be ourselves and have genuine reactions to life happening now.
We could be afraid that people might not like us as we are, so we change little bits of ourselves to become a version of ourselves we perceive as more acceptable and worthy of love. We could be worried we might be judged by others, which makes us feel vulnerable and unsafe. We could be scared that we won’t make friends if we are 100% ourselves. The truth is when you are your most authentic self is when you will make real, authentic friends.
What are some ways we can maintain our authenticity?
There are several qualities that we might often repress to conform to societal norms, but one easy way to maintain your authentic self is to say and act how you are feeling (politely). Try not to hide your true emotions. Take note of those people whom you find yourself hiding your true thoughts and emotions around and assess if they are healthy for you and what it is about them that brings this inauthenticity out.
Speak up for yourself when necessary — you can’t let people walk all over you because you are afraid of their reaction to your disagreeing. Also, do not stand for any kind of abuse — mental, emotional, or other.
Try to take a step back from social media which only serves to reiterate our need to be like everyone else. You are your own person and sometimes it is helpful to just disconnect from the world to reconnect with yourself.
Set goals for yourself and follow up with your goals. It helps me to set timelines for myself so that I can hold myself accountable for my learning and growth. This goal setting will also bring you into yourself as these will only be goals for you. Only you can accomplish them and this accomplishment will bring a greater sense of pride and confidence.
You deserve to be celebrated and you deserve to be you! I hope this post got some blood pumping and inspired you to get out there and rediscover your authentic self!