Authenticity lies within each of us. You have to go inward to find it, yet so many of us spend most of our lives hiding our authentic self. Why is that?
The answer is simple: fear. Fear of judgment, rejection, unworthiness, abandonment, failure, etc. It seems that somewhere we learned that if we show up as we truly are — saying, doing, and feeling the real things that are happening within us — that others might disconnect, get upset, or leave us.
We suffer silently and keep busy until we have the courage to go inward. There we realize that we are enough. We realize that we are not broken. We realize that our feelings and experiences are real. It’s okay to be our authentic self.
Authenticity Is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we are supposed to be and embracing who we actually are.— Brené Brown
What is Authenticity?
To be authentic is to be free. It is the practice of showing up for yourself, aligning to your values, and feeling at home in your body. It is confidence that doesn’t come from attaining something outside of ourselves, but instead knowing deeply that we are enough and that we add value to the greater whole of existence.
Authenticity is linked to happiness and it is also the foundation of creating healthy relationships. We can cultivate authenticity and live true to our own personality, spirit, and character at any moment.
Ways to Be True to Yourself
Here are a few ways to achieve authenticity:
We need to be willing to embrace every aspect of who we are. This includes our vulnerabilities, insecurities, and fears. When we embrace ourselves in entirety, we focus on who we are and not who we need to be. We learn to listen and trust ourselves. There is power in vulnerability, in courage to keep our hearts open, and in willingness to feel it all.
Let Go of Other’s Expectations of You
When we are true to ourselves, we own our lives — without the expectations of others. We understand that we live in a society that establishes expectations from the time we are born. It is when we place too much emphasis on expectations of others that we start living for approval. As a result, we get lost somewhere between the way others see us and who we really are. We need to practice living a life of conscious, authentic choice. There is power in the ability to not be influenced.
Define and Set Healthy Boundaries
When we create healthy boundaries, we create space that allows us to have our own feelings, make our own decisions, and know and ask for what we want or need. Your personal boundaries are based on your value system and perspective. Therefore, it is important to know your authentic self more to develop healthy relationships. Boundaries are about defining and following your preferences, personal integrity, desires, and needs. There is power in protecting self.
How to Practice Authenticity
So, what does this look like? Below are a few ways to practice being your authentic self.
Regular meditation practice
Be still and go inward. Learn and listen to your internal truth and wisdom.
Maintain alignment between feeling and being
Practice saying and doing what you truly feel and need.
Show up for yourself
Do something every day that reflects your deepest needs, wishes, and values.
Create and maintain healthy boundaries
Never accept abuse and let go of behaviors designed for the approval or expectations of others.
Offer yourself loving-kindness and compassion
Take great care of yourself — your body, mind, and soul.
Questions for Exploration
- In what ways do you abandon yourself?
- Which aspects of you are you hiding and why?
- What excites you or lights up your spirit?
- What are your truest desires and needs?