What Does it Mean to Be Your Authentic Self?
I had a conversation with a friend the other day who stressed the importance of self-awareness and discovering your true self, and in this post, it just clicked with everything I wanted to address. Very few of us feel relaxed being our true selves because we don't see ourselves as extraordinary. We do not recognize that the one thing more than anything that makes us unique is our authenticity.
Before I begin, I ask, how do you know who you are, let alone how to be true to yourself?
Let's first look at when asked, “Who are you?” upon meeting someone new. This question is always tricky to answer because you can’t give a comprehensive answer. Because like peeling the layers of an artichoke, before you get to the delicious core of who you are, you go through several layers and each layer gets more and more succulent. Most of our identity’s outer labels place us in boxes or categories relative to other people, such as our gender, race, religion, political views, occupation, and so on. Many of those labels were given to us by birth or circumstance, and all of them inform our point of view. But none of them are who you are because they are just relative identity categories and your ego’s desires. And by not sharing your entire story, you may feel like you're getting boxed into a category that makes an incomplete statement that doesn't fit who you are. The sooner we make peace with this inevitable question that comes with meeting new people, the sooner we can approach interaction and communication with others as a great opportunity to be ourselves and engage in the game of life entirely.
I saw a post the other day that said, “the more we live on the surface of our identity, the less in touch we are with our deeper self.” I resonate with the post because we live in a world of endless bombardment of media impressions that seek to influence our thoughts and behaviors. They give the impression that we are nothing more than superficial, selfish, judgmental, and greedy individuals competing for center stage on top of that. The problem is that the more we look outside of ourselves to create a sense of self, the farther off track we go. How can we know who we truly are when we spend our time and attention trying to be something other than what we find ourselves to be?
As far as today's topic goes to be your authentic self, is accepting that being different is a blessing and not a curse. To be your authentic self instead of worrying about what you cannot control, you should shift your energy into something you can create. Embrace your imperfections, learn from your mistakes, and forgive yourself. Open your mind and doors to new possibilities for yourself and new opportunities to help others. Living an authentic life means being true to your wants, needs, and desires and not living your lives by others’ opinions. This involves vulnerability, transparency, and integrity. To be authentic is the ability to make self-honoring choices and stand firmly in who we are in our core. Being true to ourselves gives us the insight and compassion to see others for who they are, not who we expect them to be. It frees us up from our judgment and others and gives others the freedom to be themselves.
Finding your truth doesn’t come with a handbook, but according to an article written by Tony Fahkry, here are five ways you can cultivate your authentic self:
Accept Yourself: A complete acceptance of oneself entails acknowledging your wholeness with your imperfections, weakness, and insecurities. You cannot disown unfavorable aspects of yourself and highlight positive qualities because it might lead to narcissism. Be yourself as the saying goes.
Accept The Process Of Life: You shouldn’t change anything ‘out there’ since the root cause of your troubles is always contained within. As you tend to your inner landscape, your external reality should harmonize with your inner world.
Focus on Yourself First: Nurture your inner world through self-examination and introspection. When things go wrong in life, knowing you are peaceful and safe is reassuring. It is like a ship in stormy weather — nothing can destabilize it when it has a strong hull. It floats through troubled waters allowing the raging storm to take it where it needs to, knowing in due course it will find refuge in a safe harbor.
Try New Things As A Gateway Of Self-Discovery: You may think you know who you are, but it isn’t until you try new things that you realize there are still many aspects of your identity left to discover. It’s in the act of pursuing your dreams and passions that you find your authenticity. Passions are more than just interests. If you are passionate about something, it should make you feel alive. Joyful.
DISTANCE YOURSELF FROM THE PEOPLE WHO DESTROYED YOUR AUTHENTIC SELF: You will not find your authentic self among the people who destroyed it in the first place. When your authentic self first emerges from the ground, it will be a fragile seedling, and you don’t need narcissists and abusers stepping on it and destroying it all over again. Your authentic self will require nurturing care, so distance yourself from the people who are not capable of giving you just that.
For more ways to cultivate your authentic self here's an article