Are you authentically you, or are you still wearing masks and armor to protect your egoic self? Or are you conforming to what others want you to be by taking on roles or labels friends and family put upon you? We all struggle with expressing who we authentically are because we’re learning about ourselves or afraid others won’t like who we truly are. So we conceal our authenticity, and then we feel ashamed of ourselves. But as we realize this suppression, we can easily put it aside and grow into our beautiful, authentic selves.
As we live authentically, we alter how we perceive our lives. We consciously follow our hearts and not our egoic mind. We are aware of those things, people, and events we enjoy and choose to partake in those activities over others we don’t like. We seek like-minded individuals to add to our tribe of supporters. We take action towards our goals and dreams and live a happy and fulfilled life.
Studies have shown, when we are living authentically, we are happier and more self-confident. As a result, our lives have less stress and bring us greater satisfaction in our relationships. In addition, by living authentically, we learn to live in the Universe’s flow. As a result, we are more creative, trust ourselves, and easily see solutions to obstacles.
The easiest thing to be in the world is you. The most difficult thing to be is what other people want you to be. Don’t let them put you in that position. ~ Leo Buscaglia
What’s Authenticity, And Why Does It Matter?
Authenticity means our words, actions, and behaviors correspond to our core identity.
It’s us being honest with ourselves and knowing who we are and what we stand for while expressing ourselves consistently with others. Examples are sharing our viewpoints in ways others can understand, pursuing our passions, listening to the whispers of our hearts, and setting personal boundaries.
Being authentic is living the life you want to live. You are clear on what’s important to you, and your choices align with your values. If you are wearing a mask or taking on roles to fit in, you end up feeling alone and disconnected from others.
Growing up, we are trying to find where we fit into society, looking for success (whatever that means), and trying to find love in all the wrong places. Usually, this path leads us through hardships because we don’t even know who we are.
Our families, teachers, and friends have molded us into this person we call “me.” Generational patterns of behaviors, peer pressure, and the roles we take on have resulted in us learning beliefs and behaviors we thought were needed to be accepted.
This version of ourselves has adapted to what others want us to be as well as function in society, but it’s not our authentic selves. The authentic self is within us. It’s waiting for us to discover it, to hear the whispers of our souls.
The greatest act of courage is to be and to own all of who you are — without apology, without excuses, without masks to cover the truth of who you are. ~ Debbie Ford
Why It’s Hard To Be Authentic
Many of us still carry the past with us; our hurts, sadness, and anger. Or we have unhealthy attachments which cause us to react from a place of fear. The underlying reason it’s hard for us to be our authentic selves is we’re afraid. Fear holds us back.
And the ego’s job is to protect us, so it doesn’t want us to be vulnerable. So it tries to keep us safe, but its version of safe means we are stuck in the depressing past or anxious about the future. It doesn’t allow us to live in the present moment.
We must have compassion for ourselves as we become aware of our desire to be more authentic. Recognize that developing authenticity that flows naturally may take time because it’s about evaluating what we think, feel, believe, and value. It’s determining what we know is true for us, not for anyone else, not from our parents, teachers, peers, or loved ones.
I think it’s a lifetime process because as we grow and expand our souls, we challenge those ideas that no longer serve us. And as we gain more experiences, we more willing to change and adapt our ideas to move us towards our dreams and align with our true selves.
The greatest challenge in life is to be our own person and accept that being different is a blessing and not a curse. A person who knows who they are lives a simple life by eliminating from their orbit anything that does not align with his or her overriding purpose and values. A person must be selective with their time and energy because both elements of life are limited. ~ Kilroy J. Oldster
Becoming Aware of Your Authentic Self
To be authentic requires us to be aware and responsible for our thoughts and choices. It means we are mindful of our self-talk, and we are accepting ourselves as we are. Do you know your true self?
Learning about ourselves involves objectively observing how we interact with others, what words we use in our self-talk, what behaviors seem automatic. Journal about how we feel. How do we respond under stress or when confronted? Do we perceive the masks and armor we wear, and in what situations? Seek those moments where we feel like we are speaking our truths.
Look at the beliefs and values you have to see the differences between them and your actions. Are you regurgitating statements you heard as a child, or is the declaration something you feel is true for you? What feels deeply ingrained may be a lie the egoic mind wants to hold on to as it doesn’t like change, not because it’s true.
If you are uncertain about a thought, feeling, or experience, take time to reflect on it to see what lies underneath. Notice the doubts you have, as they may be a clue. Your soul may whisper to you the truth you were looking to see.
Be courageous to move out of your comfort zone as your awareness expands. The new perception may be uncomfortable initially, but it feels like you are coming home as you get more familiar with the new ideas.
The path of spiritual awakening involves uncovering the values and ideas that are authentic to you, regardless of what others think. ~ Danielle Kloberdanz
Developing Your Authenticity
Once you discover your authentic self, you will need to develop ways to maintain it during stressful periods and not hide behind a mask or armor. Being present goes hand in hand with maintaining your authenticity. Otherwise, the egoic mind starts its internal chatter, which will allow fear to rise.
When you hear the inner critic raising its ugly head, remember to breathe and come back to the present moment. By checking in with yourself, it helps you remain mindful of your goals and desire you’re moving towards.
Surround yourself with authentic people to help support your recent growth into vulnerability. Be intentional with your time so those supportive loved ones can encourage you to be authentically you.
Assertively speak your truth. I’m not saying to be aggressive. Instead, I want you to communicate with confidence and honesty while maintaining eye contact. Focus on helping those you share to understand your intentions and listen to understand the speaker’s intentions. Actual communication occurs when both parties are authentically wanting to understand the other.
Each day, take deliberate action towards becoming more authentic. Authenticity is about the small moments, the words you use, the conscious choices you make–they all add up to who you are. So, each day take action towards a personal goal. Whether it’s adding more play into your life or taking time for self-care, allow the minor changes to add up to become the life you desire.
Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice, to be honest. The choice to let out true selves be seen. ~ Brene Brown
Awareness Of Our Influencers
Every so often, we need to take time to reflect. Sometimes we need a break from our routines to gain perspective. These breaks help us to recenter and get quiet to listen to the whispers of our souls.
This reflection can also help us learn to differentiate between those internal desires and outside influences. The heart’s desires and those that help us become better people are the internal influences we should heed.
However, just because my husband likes to spend his time carving or woodworking doesn’t mean I should spend my time doing the same thing. Nor should I decide things based on recognition by society or other’s expectations.
Understanding why we want to accomplish a goal helps distinguish where the influence originates. If we feel pressured to do something, it’s most likely an external force. If we are willing to do the work and overcome obstacles, no matter what, it’s a good indication that it’s an internal desire.
Those with whom we have an authentic connection know that balancing one another’s needs, healthy and honest communication, and active listening are crucial to the relationship. There is collaboration and an exchange of ideas to find the best solution. If we don’t feel like others are listening to us, or passive-aggressive behaviors are occurring to get us to do or be something other than our authentic selves, we need to remove ourselves from these situations and relationships.
Be your authentic self. Your authentic self is who you are when you have no fear of judgment or before the world starts pushing you around and telling you who you’re supposed to be. Your fictional self is who you are when you have a social mask on to please everyone else. Give yourself permission to be your authentic self. ~ Dr. Phil McGraw
Habits to Maintain Our Authentic Selves
As we become more aware of our authenticity, we need to learn to put habits into place to help us stay authentic. So, always tell the truth. No white lies. Why? Because when we aren’t telling the truth, we’re not tolerant of the flaws that make us all unique. We all have strengths and weaknesses, and we need to accept them in ourselves and others.
Consciously use our words and make choices. Pause before we speak to be sure the words we use are positive and uplifting, even if they are critical. Breathe before we decide, so our soul has the opportunity to whisper to us before we hastily take action. Slow down and don’t let outside pressure influence the choices we make.
Follow our gut instinct. We all know what’s right for us, yet we often do what others tell us, only to find out we’ve gotten lost along the way. This misstep occurs because our goals and dreams belong to us and don’t fit within society’s norm. So instead, always look inward to determine what’s the best path for our unique vision.
Stay aware. Be present. Only at this moment can we be authentic. But, unfortunately, we can’t go back or forward to show our authenticity. It only can occur in the present moment. So, therefore, we have to continue to monitor our beliefs, self-talk, and behaviors to see what we need to change because we’ve grown out of those thoughts, words, and activities.
We need to find the courage to say NO to the things and people that are not serving us if we want to rediscover ourselves and live our lives with authenticity. ~ Barbara De Angelis
Moving Forward As We Grow Into Our Beautifully Authentic Selves
When we take the lessons we learn each day and apply them to our lives; we gain better insight into our authentic selves. Get quiet so we can clearly hear the whispers of our souls. As we grow into our authenticity, we find purpose in our lives. Why? Because we all came to Earth school with a purpose, but we forgot it along the way of growing up and conforming to society, so we felt accepted.
The benefits of living an authentic life are self-confidence, genuine connections, a life of passion, a clear purpose, happiness, being in the flow, joy, and peace. The path to authenticity is a process. It’s gaining an understanding of and acceptance of ourselves, as well as a journey back to Spirit.
Becoming vulnerable, the essence of authenticity, can be scary, but we all want others to be their authentic selves, so we need to do the same for them. But there’s inherent freedom of being ourselves and not having to figure out what mask to wear. Masks are for children or Halloween parties. They were never meant to be worn forever. We are to remove the facades to reveal our true identity.
Don’t let anyone tell you who you are. Define yourself. It takes courage to be authentic, but it’s a powerful step towards building the life of your dreams. And it empowers and inspires others to show up as their genuine selves too. So walk in your truth and be your beautiful, 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. ~ Brene Brown
Do you need support to help you become aware of your authentic self? Do you want a strategy to help you overcome the ego’s limiting beliefs and live a successful life? If so, please reach out to me at TerriKozlowski.com, and we can put together an action plan for you to create the life you desire.