Finding The Authentic YOU

People talk about being authentic, but what does that mean exactly?  Is it the “something missing in our lives,”  “the thought that cannot be named,” the “person we were meant to be? ” What is this elusive authentic self? 

WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET!

Being authentic means showing people who you really are, which is the outcome of knowing, accepting and valuing yourself as a person so you feel confident in giving an honest representation of yourself . Basically, “What you see is what you get.”

Children are naturally authentic. They haven’t been influenced by social pressures. They care less about what others may think of their choices. As children we did things based on ourselves – our feelings, our likes and dislikes, and our impulses.

But as we grow older we risk becoming more concerned with what others think about our looks, our thoughts, our financial situation, and our cars and homes. And one day we wake up and find we are struggling to maintain a public image that may be different than who we really are or who we want to be. 

People who have strayed from their authentic self share some common traits.  Some of these traits are: 

  • They do things to please others at the expense of their own values.
  • They are not forthcoming with others, even those they love, because they may feel unworthy or undeserving.
  • They use social media posts to define an image-perfect identity to the world – the filtered version even when their real life is falling apart.
  • They find it difficult to express their true opinions and emotions, because others might not agree.
  • They are unhappy and may be unsure about why, or what really makes them happy. 
  • They focus on appearing as what others want them to be because they feel a strong need to be liked. 

If any of these things resonate with you, and you want to reclaim your authenticity, have no fear. 

Studies have shown feeling authentic is associated feel good emotions like happiness, self-satisfaction and positive thoughts.   And with a little effort, you can become more authentic.

You Are The Leading Role In Your Life!

No one else can be YOU better than you.  You possess gifts, skills, and abilities that even you may not know you have.  Discover and take ownership of your unique strengths and skills, and be the best YOU.

Creating Your Authentic Self

For those of you who struggle to live authentically, here are some keys to regaining that authenticity you had as a child.

1. First you must have the DESIRE to be more authentic.

Only you have the power to be you.  If you have strayed far from displaying your true self, becoming authentic may take some courage and some time. Truly wanting to be authentic will drive your choices and actions.

2. Assess your current situation. 

Reflect on the person you are and you want to become. And, most importantly, the person you don’t want to be.

Why are you doing what you do? Have you shifted from doing things based on your desires, to doing things based on someone else’s goals.?

What choices led you to where you are?  Recognize you may not be able to change the past, but you can create your future, one simple choice at a time.

3. Be honest with yourself.

What is your big why, your passion, your reason for living? Is it really your passion and reason, or are you just trying to please someone else?

  • What works for you?
  • What are your values and boundaries?
  • What have you always wanted to be or do?
  • Is what you are doing now contributing to your goals for the future?

Having self-awareness (especially around your values, needs, constraints, and boundaries.) will enable you to ‘show up’ far more authentically and create a positive environment around you.

4. Stand behind your choices.

Make intentional choices and be forthcoming about your reasoning for those choices. Reclaim your lost dreams or create entirely new ones.

5. Improve your self-esteem.

You are gifted and intelligent in a unique way.  Low self-esteem causes people to try to act overly confident, which is  sometimes a sign of inauthenticity.

Love your self and you will have no problem being authentic. 

6. Act consistent with your morals, beliefs and values.

Authentic people are in touch with their moral compass and their personal set of beliefs. Let your actions support your beliefs.

7. Don’t be afraid to change.

Being authentic doesn’t mean you can’t change, or should never change. You can make new choices and still be you… and you will represent the best you.

If how you present your self is consistent with the real you, and you want to improve yourself, replacing bad habits with good habits is a good place to start. Build on your skills, talents and abilities.

If how you present yourself is how you want to be but you aren’t there yet, then sincerely strive to be the person you claim to be.

Learn to be the catalyst for your own change.  Don’t rely solely on outside influences to be your motivation. 

Let your unlimited personal power, your inner resolve, and your purpose drive your life. 

8. Embrace criticism. 

Authenticity is not about being perfect. Encourage honesty in others so you know how they truly feel. 

It’s better to be hurt honestly than to be misled with a lie. No one is flawless, but you get to decide how you respond to criticism.

Accept constructive criticism as an opportunity to improve yourself in the areas you want to improve and learn to recognize malicious or destructive criticism that is based on someone else’s insecurity, envy or hidden agendas.  Make your own objective assessment of criticisms.

9. Give the same respect to others, in their authenticity, that you expect from them.

Don’t use “I’ve got to be me,” as an excuse for rudeness, hatred, or other self-destructive emotions.  Recognize these thieves of happiness and take action to overcome negative emotions. Being authentic is not a free ticket to disrespect others just so you can loudly express your own individuality.

10. Ask for help when you need it. 

Asking for help is a sign of humility and authenticity and shows that you respect the skills and talents of other people.

If you are struggling to gain clarity about yourself or overcome obstacles, you may want to invest in a life coach who can help you clarify your purpose, overcome obstacles, and hold you accountable as you transform your life on your journey back to authenticity.

 “Our chief want in life is someone who will make us do what we can.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson