What does being your 'authentic self' actually mean?


We hear all the time from self-development books, podcasts or instagram coaches that we should be our ‘authentic selves’. On a run the other day, I heard the term again and started to question what it actually means to be our ‘authentic selves’ and how do we get there? Here’s a deep dive…

Brene brown says it best:

 “Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we are supposed to be and embracing who we actually are.”

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Being your true authentic self means that what you say in life aligns with what your actions. This means, you are being your true self through your thoughts, words, and actions. It goes beyond what your job title is, what possessions you own, or a role you play for someone (e.g. sister, best friend, wife). 

This is also in contrast to not being our authentic self; putting up a facade. We see this so often in the form of only showing our best edited self; the highlight reel we like to show on instagram that shows perfection and not the messy unknown. We also have the pressure of social norms (wanting to be liked and fitting in) that can slowly chip away at the core of our authenticity. We layer ourselves with masks of what others will accept.

 

The benefit of being our authentic selves

When we are authentic, we stay true to ourselves, and who we genuinely are. We are present in the here and now. We can clearly define and maintain boundaries. We do what makes us happy, we follow our passions regardless of who we disappoint, or how it may be perceived by others. We have the opportunity for others to love us and accept us for who we are at our core. When we are being authentic, we are being vulnerable; we are showing all parts of us, the good with the bad. When we do this, we allow for more intimate and honest relationships, and we allow for true acceptance and unconditional love. 

 

The cons of being our authentic selves

Living a life of authenticity is a constant effort and this can mean sacrifice. Not everyone in our lives will respond well to our authentic selves because of how it may impact them. When we are being authentic, we are being vulnerable; we are showing all parts of us, the good with the bad.

How do we know if we’re being our authentic selves?

What we do gives us a sense of purpose or fulfilment, rather than feeling  drained and lacking energy. Our relationships are based off of honesty, and genuine respect for who we truly are. We have confidence and self-love in who we are, and proud to share that person with others.

Here are some tips to become more of our authentic selves:

  • Maintain alignment between what you feel and need and what you say and do.

  • Connect with your loved ones: The next time someone asks: “How are you ?” Really think about your answer before you so quickly responding. It’s a simple interaction, but it’s an easy moment to create authentic connection instead of an empty answer.

  • Speak up for yourself and ask for what you want and maintain your boundaries, especially around the level of energy you can handle being around or taking in.

 

Developing and revealing our authenticity is a process, that you need to be patient with. When in doubt, ask yourself if your thoughts and feelings match your behaviours, because that is where the true authenticity lies.


Image sourced via Pinterest.