What does it Mean to Be Authentic?
We all want to be authentic. I know I do. We want to go into the world knowing we can be ourselves because we will be accepted exactly as we are. But, what does it really mean to be authentic? This mystical, seemingly unattainable, label reserved for a select few.
Really, authenticity is simple. It’s just allowing yourself to actually be you. Nothing more, nothing less. The great question is, why is it so hard to just be you? It should be the easiest thing in the world.
This is my take on Authenticity. What it is. Why it matters. And, how to welcome it into your life.
Stop Trying to Impress
Authenticity isn’t that person that is loud and bold and you wish you could be like them because they just don’t seem to care. Chances are they care, they care a lot! Being authentic means completely letting go of any need to impress because you don’t need to prove yourself. Because you know your worth and, for you, showing up in bold patterned clothing or bright pink hair is more about expressing yourself than trying to prove a point.
It’s quite easy to spot the one’s that are trying too hard to look like they don’t care. There’s an energy there, a seeking validation energy. Whereas someone who completely owns who they are is just comfortable. No looking over shoulders to see who’s watching. Just happy in the knowledge that they are perfectly fine just as they are. This is how we should be wanting to be.
Drop the Mask
We are afraid of being hurt. All of us are. When you are not strong in your self-worth you worry constantly that someone is going to judge you. You keep your opinions to yourself. You don’t share your love of poetry, knitting, stamp collecting (you name it!) because the ‘friends’ you hang out with might laugh. So, instead, you stop doing those ‘weird’ things that no one seems to understand. You give up a little piece of yourself for the sake of fitting in. For the sake of people who you believe won’t accept you. Why would you choose that?!
This pretend life is not your life, though. This pretend is just that, an act. It is you pretending to be someone you are not. Does any of this ring true for you? Wouldn’t it be worth the risk to be true to yourself instead of true to what’s right for others? Drop the mask, show your true self, and worry about making yourself happy instead of everyone else.
Drop the Wall
Not only does being inauthentic come with a mask, it also comes with a wall. We build a wall around our emotions. This is the result of keeping your opinions and quirky ways to yourself all the time. As soon as you embrace your authenticity, accept yourself exactly as you are, you also drop that wall that you’ve built. You allow people in, give them a chance.
This takes a lot of bravery. Accepting yourself does, because we are afraid of what ‘the people might say’. But, when you get passed that fear and drop that wall you begin the process of sifting through what resonates with you and what doesn’t. You show up with your heart on your sleeve and it’s like finding a super power that shows a green light or a red light above peoples heads. Even better: Imagine the green and red lights are like magnets. As soon as you drop your wall you’ve put up your green light magnet that will attract your tribe and repel the rest.
Live your Potential
Living in your true authenticity is the only way to truly reach your potential and purpose in this life. Yes you can find success in some form or other, but without acknowledging your authentic self you will never fully step into your potential. And, you will never truly lead a happy and fulfilled life. There will always feel like there is something missing.
When you are living from a place of truth, the truth of who you are, everything changes. You are guided by your intuition in everything from relationships to business. You pay attention to your emotions instead of hiding from them. All these things assist you in living life to its fullest potential. Plus, being authentic just feels good!
Being authentic can look like quietly reading a book alone in the corner of a restaurant or enjoying long walks by yourself on the beach. It can look like being caught singing in public and not feeling ashamed, or going on weekend retreats with your closest friends. It’s about knowing that choosing to stay home in your pj’s instead of going to a fancy dinner is 100% okay if that’s what you feel called to. This isn’t about letting others down. This is about leaning into what makes you feel good more of the time, instead of less.
Finding what brings you joy and embracing it instead of shying away because it’s slightly off the wall or quirky is what stepping into your authenticity is all about. Take a look at your life and see where you can take a moment to do what makes you feel your true, happiest self. Sing in the shower or dance in the rain! Life is too short not to.
Freedom through Authenticity
When you truly step into your authentic self it is like freedom. All the questioning and self-doubt drop away and you are free. In a sense authenticity is freedom. It means never having to explain yourself, judge yourself harshly or deny yourself again. It is like revealing the truth of who you are and stepping up to claim it.
When you really allow yourself to be free, you never question your place or value again. You are no longer concerned with how others view you, only how you view yourself. And, you view yourself as whole and worth! It is liberation!
The only way you will every fully step into your authentic self is through self-love and acceptance. This can be a long road for many, if not most, of us. We’ve been receiving negative feedback for too long and breaking the chain seems impossible. But, it’s not. The road to authenticity is through self reflection and, ultimately, acceptance.
Take small steps towards embracing your authentic self wherever you can. If you are a closet artist show your work to someone you trust. Or, if you always choose your clothes to fit in but really you want to wear something more adventurous, start small with a pair of quirky earrings. Don’t be put off by the one’s that make silly comments about the earrings, pay attention to the one’s that compliment you on them.
Understand this. When you learn to love and accept the person you were born to be, you step into the greatest version of yourself. This is where you live your highest potential, the life you were intended to live here on this earth.
I hope you enjoyed the blog! Why not check out Why We Need to Practise Self-Compassion
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