How to be your authentic self: 3 simple steps
Thanks for coming through today! I want to talk to you about how you can live your life in alignment with your true self.
Have you ever taken the time to ask yourself if the life you're living is truly yours, and if the person who you're projecting to the world is truly you? Hopefully your answer is yes. But no judgement if you're like "nope, never". It's okay sis. If you'll allow me, I'm here to help you with this.
In this post you will discover:
. why it's important to know yourself truly
. the link between authenticity, creativity, and health
. 3 steps to re-connect with your authentic self
What does it mean to be yourself?
Imagine you're at an interview and you're asked the question "who are you?". I find this such a daunting question to answer because where does one even begin?
'Who we are' is a deep matter. One that I don't even think I know enough about to answer completely. But here's what I do know: being yourself starts with knowing your values. What are the things that matter to to you, and how do they influence the decisions that you make? How do they influence the way that you treat people, the type of relationships you create, the type of jobs you apply for, or even whether you want to work for someone or be self-employed. Being yourself means knowing how you want to show up in the world, and consistently taking the decisions that align with that vision of yourself.
Why is it important to be yourself?
We are all uniquely designed by our intelligent creator. We're each created with an infinite potential for greatness, and are endowed with a specific set of gifts and abilities. Our gifts are the tools that we are given to shine our own individual light in this world.
But what do our gifts and our light have to do with being ourselves? As humans, we are innately creative. And since women are deeply sensual beings, we are very likely to be in tune with our creativity. Our creative potential is what separates us from other animals. In order to express ourselves fully, and to self-actualise, we need to express our creative potential. So, when I say creative potential I really just mean our ability to infuse our individual way of thinking and feeling into our unique way of communicating, acting and being. When we are in alignment with our true selves, our self-expression reflects our individual way of thinking, feeling, choosing and creating.
My main point is that suppressing our authentic selves leads to the death of our creative potential. Given that we are innately creative beings, the death of our creative potential yields great suffering in our lives. When we're not expressing our gifts and passions, we are oppressing ourselves. And this can lead to suffering in different ways - for some this can cause depression and anxiety, whereas for others it may manifest as physical ailments. In medicine, they call this type of physical ill health, that is derived from our psychology, 'psychosomatic' illness.
If you feel comfortable with a more spiritual perspective, you might embrace that our unused creative potential becomes stagnant and toxic energy. Most of us learned in physics that all energy that is created cannot be destroyed. Where do we imagine that our unused creative potential goes? It wastes away inside of us, and causes us great spiritual distress, which then manifests as emotional and possibly physical ill-health.
My experience with (not) being myself
When I arrived at university, I decided to study a 'practical' degree. I only considered the subjects that an 'A' student would be expected to choose for university. I excelled academically all through school, so when it came to choosing, it's clear that I had also internalised the belief that smart kids study the 'professional' degrees.
But at heart, I have always been deeply creative. School gave me the space to do the science and the maths, while also thriving in art and literature studies. It turned out that the real world is not so accommodating. So for the three years of my undergraduate degree, I probably only lifted a pencil (to sketch) about five times, and sang alone at home when nobody could hear me.
I faced a whole lot of difficult challenges when I arrived at university, and I sank into period of depression and social anxiety. I'm certain that suppressing my true creative self was a massive contributor to this suffering.
So in this new phase of my life, I'm embarking on a journey of creative recovery, which I can discuss at a later stage if it interests you. I'm now going to be sharing some practical tips with you on how you can reconnect with your authentic self, and pursue an aligned life.
Re-connecting with your authentic self
1. Discover your values
What kind of life do you want to live? What kind of person do you want to be? What mark do you want to leave on the world? You can't begin to answer these questions if you haven't taken the time to figure out your values.
Personal freedom is my top value. This means that it's highly important for me to be true to myself in everything that I do. Some of my other values include connectedness, gratitude and compassion. If you want me to walk you through an exercise that will help you determine your values - let me know in the comments below!
2. Question the norm
Each of us have personal agency. This means the we have the ability to choose whether or not we want to participate in social structures. For example you might decide that having a corporate job after university does'n't fit with your life path, or you might choose that you don't want to have children. Such decisions require us to be aware of the norm, i.e. what society expects of us, and then to decide whether or not the norm is aligned with our inner-knowing of what we want for our lives.
If we don't do this, we are at risk of living our lives in default-mode. This isn't about rebelling against the system. It's about conscious decision-making, meaning that whether or not your decisions comply with the norm, you are intentional with and in control of your life. I don't think I can think of anything worse than living as a puppet to the system!
3. Discount your inner critic
Being our authentic self means that we are stepping back into our power. When we are our true selves, we open ourselves up to living a deeper, richer and more meaningful life. This means that we confront the scary dreams that we've been running from, out of fear of judgement from others, fear of failure and fear of uncertainty.
Something that I've learned recently is that when we dare to be ourselves, we have to learn to be vulnerable. Confronting our abandoned dreams means that we're going to be confronted by all these fears I just mentioned. We can call these fears our 'inner critic'. Your inner critic is the voice in your head that says things like "what makes you think you're good enough?", and "don't even try, you're just going to fail and embarrass yourself". We need to confront this critic in order to be ourselves and live an aligned life. Read my post on imposter syndrome here for clear advice on how to gain authentic confidence to overcome your inner critic.
As soon we realise that our we are not our thoughts, we step into our agency. We then have the power to decide if we are going to believe the limiting thoughts from our inner critic, or if we are going to disregard them. Courage and vulnerabitlity is to act in spite of our fears and self-limiting thoughts.
Living a life as yourself is challenging. I know this because some of the things I want for myself that are contrary to the 'norm'. So I have to defend my dreams daily with a strong mind and an open heart. But I think it's important not to equate 'challenging' with 'difficult'. "Difficult" is limiting and closed-minded, whereas "challenging" implies that it won't be straightforward, but our hearts and minds will be open to problem solving.
Being our authentic selves makes us vulnerable, because we're open to judgement from other people. My belief is that if we want to live rich lives without regret at the end of our journeys on earth, we need to have the courage to be vulnerable with ourselves.
I'm at the start of this journey. I hope the this post is encouraging you to join me.
All my love
Other posts you might like: