Want to let your true self shine? Then try these 10 authenticity strategies.
Being your authentic self can feel risky now in our screen-obsessed world. We are just trying to fit in, be liked, and be accepted by other human beings. And as a result, the image we present (on our social media profiles and In Real Life - IRL) have become mere presentations of who we think we should be and not reflections of who we really are. So how do we take off the mask we have been wearing and start to live a life of authenticity?
1. Observe yourself objectively
Learn to observe yourself like a fly on the wall. Watch yourself, observing how the version of yourself that you show the world behaves, what it believes, how it reacts under pressure, and how it responds to challenges. Practice noticing which of these responses feel authentic, and which ones feel inauthentic. By identifying which responses are just “for show” vs authentic, you can begin to notice the falseness and begin to better see the truth underneath.
2. Examine family belief systems
Think back to episodes in your childhood, episodes that led you to stop being your authentic self and instead adopt some other way of existing in this world. By examining where our behaviours come from, we can learn a lot about our authentic selves.
3. Identify discrepancies
Become aware of inconsistencies between your actions and your beliefs. If you catch yourself making a remark that makes you cringe, ask yourself whether you really believe the words you speak. Are you just saying these things because someone else taught you to?
If you acknowledge what is true for you now, then you can better live your life according to the needs of your Authentic Self. But that kind of authenticity requires self-awareness and self-honesty.
4. Examine your doubts
When exploring your Authentic Self, you may feel unsure of how to go about it. You may question whether it is even possible to change what feels so deeply ingrained within you or is invisible to you. So watch out for feelings of doubt.
Doubts can be like breadcrumbs that lead you to your Authentic Self. If you doubt something, be it a thought, behaviour, emotion, or experience, pause for a moment and reflect to find out whatever is underneath. Is your Authentic Self trying to tell it to "stop it?"
5. Face your fears
Humans tend to be most comfortable with what is familiar. The unfamiliar is often challenging, at least at first. Examining your inner core beliefs can be like exploring a foreign landscape you are unfamiliar with.
Our Authentic Self often has a lot of fear, sadness, and anger, that resulted from hurtful experiences. That's why the authentic self tends to hide. However, the difficult secrets we hide from ourselves are what make us who we really are. So as much as possible, and as slowly as you need to, courageously explore the truth of what makes you who you are. When you identify, experience, accept, and let go of those buried emotions, they they are exactly what fuels your Authentic Self.
6. Explore your values
Integrity, ethics, and living our values is an effective way to live more authentically. The trouble comes when we are so far from our Authentic Selves that we do not even know what our values are. Differentiate your values from those of others. Explore your values and figure out some ways to start living them.
7. Love yourself
Self-love is the key to our Authentic Selves to emerge. Emerging yourself in and with more love and compassion is helpful. One way to increase your self-love is to set some time aside to take numerous deep breaths each day. You can add this into an existing meditation practice if you like.
Slowly deepen your breathing and when you are feeling fully relaxed and receptive, call love to yourself from your environment. Imagine each breath infused with loving energy. Whether as balls of energy, or bursts, or rays of light and love, invite love to enter your body via your breath. Draw love into your lungs and disperse it throughout your body, or send it directly to your Authentic Self. Keep breathing consciously until you feel the lightening and lifting energy of these "love breaths."
Once filled with love, share some of it with friends or loved ones. Sending love to others tends to expand the love within!
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