Why be someone else, when you can be authentically you?
Too many of us are lost in today’s world chasing an image that is not inherently close to even who we are. Some do not feel at home in their own space. Others travel extensively only to meet an empty side to their personality. As I write this, I am mulling over my past and observing how I progressed from the version that I was to who I chose to be. I believe it’s essential to understand your own growth to understand who you truly are. You may call it overthinking (Yeah, I get that!). I call it self-reflection. There have been some people who supported me in this journey, quite unknowingly.
So, who are you? Are you that person your parents wanted you to be? Or, are you a figment of your own imagination? Maybe, you modeled yourself on what your teacher wanted you to be. Or, you might have been bullied by a sibling/friend to hold some unhelpful thoughts about yourself. All these may have blocked your progression towards being your authentic self.
The thing about our societal conditioning is – we have no room to truly express who we are. As we are conditioned to think alike, be alike, behave alike…
Let’s face it! In India, you are pushed towards applying for a particular degree even before you understand what you truly want to do with your career. I know many who are unhappy with their choice of profession. I know others in unhappy marriages. The core issue remains the same – have you thought about who you are and who you want to be? The problem is not about being in a community, the problem lies in being in a community that views each person with the same lens.
Mental slavery has conditioned us to believe a story or a version of ourselves that may not actually be true.
The shackles that bind us are the ones we have created for ourselves. It’s odd when you think how high you can soar if your self-limiting beliefs did not hold you down. It’s about being yourself. Finding your authentic self.
You may wonder, that sounds quite tough! Finding your authentic self need not be as difficult as it sounds. The beautiful thing is you can do it right here, right now. It’s the little steps you take to be an empowered you.
Finding your authentic self is seen when your actions define your true self and you can express yourself freely. You have raised your awareness about who you truly are, and know your values while being consistent with self and the world.
There are many ways you can be authentic. Here are a few.
- You are able to express your opinions freely
- You make decisions that are aligned with your values+the beliefs you hold
- You are tuned in to your inner voice, you flow along with it
- You are able to examine the beliefs you hold, and willing to let go of what you do not need
- You are open-minded, open-hearted to all
- You are assertive when you set boundaries
- You no longer people-please
- You receive greater clarity to build a life you truly desire
- Most importantly, you are vulnerable where required
So often, we live a life wanting to be a people-pleaser or nod our head in acceptance to everything that is happening around us. Well, I can’t blame us! That’s what good children do, right? Ah, well, we are conditioned to think on these lines. The conditioning runs deep. We want to be accepted by others, as we are all a part of a social circle. However, we sometimes forget that we are wearing a mask for too long and constantly trying to adapt to people around us makes one lose their own identity.
The result? A constant betrayal of who we are in order to show up as who someone else would like us to be. (Look at the feeds of social media, and you will understand what I am trying to say.)
So, how do you find your authentic self? What are the questions on finding your authentic self? Let’s find out.
5 Ways to be your Authentic Self
1) Observe yourself
Learn to detach from the self to emotionally declutter your mind, and look at yourself from a wider perspective. Understand how you deal with things around you, the choices you’ve made, the results, your responses to people, and everything that you think is You. This exercise might make you feel uncomfortable at first. However, you will soon receive clarity on what needs to be changed.
2) Journal everyday
You need to check-in everyday with yourself about your emotions, preferences, and more.
- When do you feel most happy?
- What type of people keep you energized?
- What activities do you prefer? (For example, you might love sports although you may not have tried it yet. You may have received the message that this activity is not meant for you.)
- What makes you truly angry or upset?
Go and ask these questions and reflect deeply to understand the type of people you need in your life and the environment you have to create around you.
3) Release unhelpful patterns
Our patterns are what creates the results we have in life. It did take me a while to figure this out but not everything that is ‘not-ok’ is always your fault. Any unhelpful pattern you hold may have its roots in your childhood. It’s important to go deep into your subconscious mind to completely understand where you picked it up from. It could be an opinion you hold about yourself or a line that you heard and held on to as true.
For example, “You can’t do this, you are no good.”
“You are not a good speaker.”
These beliefs are stored deep and create a pattern in life. We may even look for evidence to ensure these beliefs are played out. This means, we create the situations based on the thoughts we hold. So, if you struggled to speak at the first public gathering, maybe you are holding to the thought that, “You are not a good speaker.” Identify these beliefs. Work towards releasing them.
4) Explore Life
A lot of our unhelpful beliefs force us to take a path that we do not truly desire. It also means you have held yourself back from the joy that life unfolds. If you’ve paused before exploring the depths of the ocean, just do it! If you think you are not good enough for a job, apply anyway. You may be too focused on what people think around you and this is a roadblock towards building experiences that take you closer to your authentic self.
Understand what is holding you back –
- Is it any pressure from your friends/family?
- Do you hold self-doubt?
- How strong are your desires to create a new path?
- What do you truly want?
5) Be kind to yourself
I cannot emphasize this enough! A lot of you may have had personal trauma, family pressures, moments of confusion, unrealistic expectations! Hey, that’s a lot of weight you are carrying around. When you hold kindness and compassion for self, you radiate a new aura that almost diminishes all the factors that are a roadblock to your growth. It’s easier to hold space for yourself while enclosing forgiveness as you display the maturity to understand that authenticity takes time. It’s about taking the small steps to truly align yourself with the person you are.
Everytime you hold a doubt or feel disoriented, ask yourself –
What have I done to be where I am right now?
This will help you to realign your energies and be the version you were always meant to be.
Quick Points to Remember
- Speak the truth (if the answer is ‘No’, say ‘No’)
- Focus on your personal power
- Be fearless
- Remove self-doubt
- Work on boundaries
- Release negative beliefs
Give yourself time to work through these points. Hold some love and compassion and I hope you go closer to being your authentic self.
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