To be authentic is to live your life the way you want it. Being in control of your life, instead of living other people’s dreams and expectations. It’s about aligning your decisions and actions with your values and goals in mind—the most liberating and empowering thing you can ever do for yourself.
It’s normal to have different identities in your professional and personal life because it helps you establish healthy boundaries in both aspects of your life; although regardless of the number of identities you choose to play, your authentic self remains the same. After all, being authentic is about living in the present and making conscious decisions based on your truth.
Why is it important to be authentic?
It can be difficult to be authentic and remain authentic in today’s modern world. The media’s growing influence has bombarded the people’s minds of what they should be and how to behave. It clouds your mind from distinguishing what truly interests you and what doesn’t, which drags you into situations or tempt you to make certain decisions that you’ll often end up regretting the most.
Being authentic can help you live in this kind of world with peace of mind because you’re being honest with yourself. You will be able to avoid situations that make you uncomfortable and inauthentic. You’re showing who you truly are to the people you care about, which earns you respect and healthy relationships in return. Being genuine can help you to become successful in your endeavors.
What are the benefits of being authentic?
- Self-confidence and self-esteem – When you’re authentic, you’ll learn to accept and trust yourself.
- Professional and personal growth – There’ll be more room for growth when you’re able to establish healthy boundaries.
- Overall Health – You’ll take good care of yourself to become physically well and mentally strong.
- Reach full potential – You’ll become aware of what you’re capable of, so you’ll strive to become a better version of you.
What is wrong with being inauthentic?
To be inauthentic is to let other people take control of your life. You let them decide every action you take, regardless of your own needs and wants. It’s about neglecting yourself, with your actions contrasting your values and beliefs. It’s easy to lose your authenticity when you’re disconnected from yourself, which can cause a series of serious problems to get in your way.
Sometimes, you can’t help but be inauthentic when you’re in a difficult situation. After all, it’s easier to lie to yourself and others to avoid getting hurt or punished. It never ends well because it will only worsen an already bad situation. Being inauthentic will also ruin the relationships you have with other people; honesty and trust are crucial for every relationship. How can you be honest with others if you can’t even be honest with yourself?
What causes inauthenticity?
Like everyone, you also have your inner critic. It’s hard not to succumb to what it says every now and then; after all, the world is increasingly becoming competitive. Listening to your inner critic will cloud your judgment to the point that you’ll learn to hate yourself and ignore what your intuition is telling you. As a consequence, you’ll attract negativity in your life and rely on others to make important decisions for you.
Need to fit in
Not to be confused with needing to belong. Fitting in is you being eager to change to meet other people’s standards in order to be accepted. Belonging is being accepted for who you are—it’s more fulfilling. Needing to fit in doesn’t only give you a false sense of belongingness, but it also makes you doubt yourself. You’ll end up finding yourself walking on eggshells.
Need to be liked
Being a people-pleaser means that you’re more focused on aligning with other people’s feelings instead of your own. It’s about doing things, even when it really makes you feel uncomfortable, so people will acknowledge and like you. You’re choosing to ignore your needs and want to make other people happy. Maybe you just don’t want to feel lonely. You can’t please everyone (but they will always respect a genuine person) and wanting to please everyone only increases your anxiety until it burns you out.
You’re taught to behave in certain ways ‘for your own good’ from childhood to adolescence. Your parents, school, and religion introduce you to moral values and beliefs that are to be followed. When you realize that you have interests that violate the values and beliefs passed on to you, you’ll become fearful of being authentic—of living your truth.
5 Ways To Be More Authentic
Determine Your Core Values
Your core values serve as an influence in living your life. It’s a set of beliefs that are important to you, which also defines who you want to be. It guides you in making decisions, which brings a great impact on your professional and personal growth.
Here’s a list of values you can choose from:
Here are tips to determine your core values:
- Be relaxed. Find a place you’re comfortable with and wear comfortable clothes. It’s important to have a clear mind when trying to connect deeper within yourself. Practice meditation and listen to uplifting music.
- List down your values. There are more values you can look up online than the list above. So find them and start listing down the values that are important to you. Consider these three things: (a) When you were most happy and fulfilled, (b) When you got really upset, and (c) What you must have in your life.
- Group related values together. For example, optimism and positivity are related. So are autonomy and freedom. Grouping them together allows you to identify the central theme of each group.
- Choose your core values. Now that you have identified the central themes of your current list of values. Narrow them to 10. And again to 5.
- Check back. After a day or two, check your list again to see if they truly are your core values. You may modify the list until you’re content.
Learn To Self-love
“Love yourself” is easier said than done. It’s a conscious decision you make every day. It’s about understanding yourself in different situations without being critical. Self-love is how you perceive and treat yourself. Its importance cannot be understated because your relationship with yourself serves as the base for the relationships you’ll make with others.
Here are tips to learn self-love:
- Listen to your intuition. What is your body trying to tell you? What are you feeling at the very moment? Figure out the reason why you’re feeling like it. Being aware of your own state of mind will make listening to your intuition so much easier. It comes with practice.
- Accept your emotions. Whatever your feeling and the reason behind it, accepting it means that you’ve come to acknowledge yourself. Everyone feels and they have different reasons for it, so it’s okay to feel in certain way.
- Think about your loved ones. What would you say to them if they’re feeling this way? How will you comfort them? That’s how you should treat yourself. Go easy, you’re your friend too.
- Forgive. It’s not easy to be forgiving, especially when it involves losing things permanently. Being harsh to yourself doesn’t bring it back. Its better to choose to forgive yourself because there’s always something better to come.
- It’s okay to say no. There are boundaries you must keep and be consistent about. It protects you from getting into messy situations and being abused by other people. Say no when you’re uncomfortable—assertively.
Build A Growth Mindset
Having a growth mindset means that you don’t see your mistakes or failed attempts towards a goal as a total failure. It means that you have only discovered the wrong ways to do it and that if you keep trying, you’ll eventually find the right one. It’s about believing in your potential and abilities when in a difficult situation.
Examples of a growth mindset:
- I can learn anything if I put more effort to it.
- Feedback helps me to become better.
- I think I need to improve my ____ skills.
It differs from the fixed mindset, which makes people believe that personality, intelligence, and abilities cannot be changed. Having it means that they have to prove themselves to be enough every single time because they don’t believe in growth.
Examples of a fixed mindset:
- I’m good at ____, so I’ll stick with it.
- I don’t like getting feedback.
- I can’t do it, I’m a failure.
Here are tips to build a growth mindset:
- Accept your imperfections. It’s what makes you unique from others. Everyone has flaws, nobody is perfect.
- View challenges as opportunities. You can always learn something in every attempt of overcoming a challenge thrown your way. It gives you the opportunity to develop a new skill, better communicate with others, and realize your potential.
- Mind your thoughts. Building a growth mindset doesn’t happen overnight. You need to be conscious every day to be able to monitor your thoughts and shift them into a positive one.
- Familiarize other learning strategies. People learn in different ways. Just because it works for them, doesn’t mean it will also work for you. So find learning strategies that best suit you.
- Focus on your goals for growth. Wanting to please other people when learning something will only slow your progress down. Instead, focus on what you want and work for it.
- Choose quality over quantity. Learning takes time. Don’t study hard. Study well. Don’t waste away hours of studying only to produce no results. It’s also better to go out of your way and experiment. Only move on to the next when you think you’ve already understood.
Face Your Fears
Having fears is normal. It helps people survive because it’s your body’s way of telling you that you’re in danger. Everyone has an instinct for self-preservation, and it’s a basic one at that. Fear makes you reconsider alternative options that are safe. But sometimes, it can get in your way. Your fears can hold you back, which can lead to more problems in your career and personal growth. It can stem from your traumatic experiences and your tendency to overthink.
Here are tips on how to face your fears:
- Clear your mind. Find a comfortable space where you can be alone. Stretch out and release the tension from your body. Take deep breaths and listen to your body calming down.
- Get to know your fear. You have to know what you fear so you will know how to deal with it. Is it based on a fact? How did you develop that certain fear? Are you only overthinking? Write all of this down along with how your body responds towards it. It can help you understand your fear.
- Think positive. When you feel fear, it starts to cripple you and cloud your mind. Close your eyes and imagine yourself facing your fear. Remember that you’re safe in your mind, so think of you of handling it well. Using this technique can help you get through the actual ordeal all the better.
- Take baby steps. Your fear can be intimidating because of how little you know about it. With your notes and the power of your mind, you can practice facing your fear in a safe environment every day until you make it. Learn to make your fear more manageable.
- Find support. Join a community. Or tell your family and friends about your fear. Talking about it to others will earn you insights on how to deal with it. Remember, you’re alone in having fears. There might be someone who has been in your situation before and have conquered it with success.
Follow Your Intuition
Also known as the gut feeling or the hunch. It’s when your mind makes a decision using your experiences, fears, and environmental cues. It’s an actual psychological process that can be easily missed and dismissed as unreal. But it exists, everyone has it. Some suppressed and some well-developed.
Here are the telltale signs your intuition is speaking to you:
- Having a peaceful or tense feeling around your chest or stomach.
- When you have a clear mind despite making a rash decision.
- Experiencing vivid dreams during your sleep.
- Your thoughts often go in a certain direction.
- The same thought keeps crossing your mind.
Here are tips on developing your intuition:
- Take time to meditate. Meditation has helped people to know more about themselves and conquer the obstacles they have been facing for a long time. It trains you to silence your thoughts and calm your body, especially when in a distressful situation. It will help your intuition.
- Be sensitive to your senses. Reconnect with your 5 senses and be mindful of them to raise your sensitivity to ward your sixth sense—your intuition.
- Test your intuition. Write down your hunches and do something about them so you can check how often you’re right about something.
- Learn from your experiences. Think back to the times when you listened to your intuition and it changed your situation for the better. Remember what you were thinking and how you were feeling at that moment, so you will minimize the instances of missing what your intuition is telling you.
- Read books on it. There are books dedicated to intuition and teaching people how to be attuned with it. Find a book or two. Take time to read and finish it.
3 Ways To Remain More Authentic
Speak and Live Your Truth
Have you ever left situations with regret, thinking how you could’ve done it better if only you had the courage to do so? Like when your family asks you what’s going on with your life. Or when you keep accepting responsibilities at the moment you already feel burned out? These are among the situations where you have been invited to be authentic, but you refused to do so. It’s not your fault. The world can be brutal to those who don’t conform to what is expected of them.
Remember your core values? That will guide you on how to live your life and make decisions that will give you peace of mind. It helps align your actions to the thoughts you have in mind. Something that only a few have achieved. Being authentic takes courage. It can be scary to anyone who wants to live in peace because there are people who are plagued by misery, and want others to feel just as miserable too.
Here are tips on speaking your truth:
- When someone asks how you are, tell them – They care enough to ask you. It’s okay to be vulnerable around them and speak the truth of how you really are as of the moment. Be genuine because they might be able to help you when you’re having a rough time.
- Learn to be comfortable with silence – Ever end up rambling for the sake of easing your anxiety? Silence during conversations doesn’t always mean awkwardness. You don’t have to speak all the time. Stay silent when you really have nothing to say.
- When someone talks about something you’re unfamiliar with, let them know – Sometimes when you want to appeal to others, you feel the urge to keep the conversation going despite having no idea what it’s all about. You pretend to be an expert to be liked. You’re being inauthentic this way. So better let them know next time. No one knows everything, it’s okay to be clueless in some things. People will be happy to provide you with the details you need.
- When you feel angry, scared, and anxious, acknowledge it – It’s good to acknowledge these emotions because your mind is telling you that you’re being mistreated. Society desperately shames people who get angry and marks them as potentially violent individuals because it’s a powerful emotion that can change their life and break the status quo. It gives you freedom.
- Be proactive – Avoid situations that make you lose your integrity. If you want to tell someone something important or simply that you care for them, go for it. Make decisions that your future self will thank you for.
Distinguish Internal and External Motivators
Internal motivators refer to what you’re interested in and what satisfies you most. With it, you pursue your passion without expecting something in return. External motivators are based on external influences. With it, you do something to get rewarded and avoid punishment.
Being able to distinguish which motivates what you’re planning to do is important in remaining authentic. While doing something because you’re externally motivated can sometimes be rewarding, which makes you want to do it more, it’s only temporary. Doing something because you’re internally motivated boosts your overall confidence while helping you learn how to overcome challenges.
|Internal Motivators||External Motivators|
|Reading a book because it makes you feel good||Studying because you want to have good grades|
|Buying from the same store because you believe in their product||Buying from the same store because you get rewarded with loyalty points|
|Volunteering because you support a cause||Volunteering to earn praises and get a job|
|Traveling because you want to experience different cultures and lifestyles||Traveling because you want to take photos to post on your social media|
Mind Your Own Business
It means focusing on living your truth. It’s about knowing what you can and cannot control. A lot of happenings in your life are triggered by influences that are out of your reach, although you are always in control of how you respond.
Your thoughts and behaviors are the only things that are considered to be your business. Outside of that is none of yours such as other people’s thoughts and behaviors, and external factors.
Here are some benefits in minding your own business:
- Gives you more control in your life.
- It saves you from being stressed out and wasting your time.
- Gain more opportunities to grow professionally and personally.
Here are tips on how to mind your own business:
- Respect boundaries – Treat others like how you want them to treat you, so don’t cross the line.
- Avoid offering unsolicited advice – They’re comfortable enough to share their life with you. It doesn’t matter if the reason behind your unsolicited advice is genuine. Listen, let them finish, and ask open-ended questions instead.
- Stop criticizing other people – Give feedback. It encourages others to do better and resolves the problematic situation.
- Take responsibility for yourself – Stay true to your words. When you’re not, you should be accountable for it.
- Know when to walk away – Know your limit. Hurting back other people will do no good. So stay authentic by taking a step back and walk away.
There are plenty of benefits you can reap if you strive to be more authentic. It’s not an easy feat, but it’s proved to be a rewarding one. Not only does being authentic keep you physically and mentally solid, but it also contributes to being successful in all aspects of your life. So by remembering and practicing the tips above, you’ll eventually find yourself to be more authentic and genuine than yesterday.