Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You. — Dr. Seuss
Looking for Your Authentic Self
Most of us don’t know or think about who we really are in our essence. Ideas acquired in the course of our lives convincingly taught you who you supposedly are. Oftentimes, the real you is swamped by a cluster of ideas about yourself that may or may not be true. You may be convinced that you are not okay as you are. So you try not be seen as defective but rather make a desirable impression, fit in, have success by fulfilling other people’s ideas.
It’s not too difficult to observe when others are putting on an act, or pretend to be someone they are not. Clearly, there is a time and place for ‘letting it all hang-out.’ But make sure you don’t identify so much with the mask that you ignore or even forget your inner self. Intense abuse, cults or other extremely toxic environments are designed to do just that. Subjected to skilled manipulation, the real self may be denied so much that a “false-self” develops, at great cost to the person.
How to Recognise It?
You may not be able to describe it with words. It could be a feeling of being at home within yourself, of being whole, of having the right to be on this earth just as you are and appreciating your own specific gifts and talents. Many people feel such a strong desire to be themselves, that they accept a life of hardship. Artists and musicians may not literally starve but certainly, accept very difficult conditions only to be able to do what feels inherent to them at a very deep level.
When You Are Living True to Your Authentic Self:
- You are comfortable in your own skin
- You know and accept yourself
- You make choices based on your own values and intentions
- You map your own path in life
- You feel no need to hide, pretend or defend
- You dare to show real aspects of yourself even though they may not conform to other people’s expectations
- You are aware of your impact on others
- You accept that not everyone will like who you are
- You realise that as you evolve and change, striving for precious authenticity may be a lifetime project
Liberate the REAL YOU:
Authenticity is not easy to attain. Liberating yourself from years of programming may require substantial inner work. But with self-awareness and the willingness to change you can take steps in your daily life that will take you in the right direction.
- Be emotionally honest and express your feelings and opinions when appropriate.
- Be discerning about when and how you do it.
- Be aware of your true inclinations and step out of your comfort zone to express them.
- Set boundaries.
- Come out of hiding and put yourself out there.
- Dare to show real aspects of yourself.
- Accept being vulnerable and perhaps incur criticism or rejection.
- Know you are able to bounce back.
- Trust that like-minded-people will connect with you.
- Stand up for yourself.
When feeling apprehensive or anxious about being more real, encourage yourself to stay on track. Say affirmations like:
- I am okay with criticism.
- I can handle rejection.
- Fear is just a feeling.
- I refuse to be what they want me to be.
- I find my own path.
Use these examples or choose your own words that will help you live an authentic life and embrace your authentic self.