Dr. Cynthia Shaw
Discovering Authenticity: What it Means to Be Your True Self
Updated: Mar 11
Discovering authenticity is a journey that requires self-exploration and self-awareness. In this blog, you'll learn to become more self-aware, challenge negative self-talk, embrace your passions, and surround yourself with positive relationships. With a touch of humor and practical tips, you'll be well on your way to uncovering your true self and living a more fulfilling life.
Discovering Authenticity: What it Means to Be Your True Self
Humans all have an innate desire to discover our true selves, living our lives authentically and to the fullest. But what does it mean to be authentic? And how can we discover our true selves?
Challenges to Authenticity
There is often pressure to conform to societal norms and expectations in today's society. We may feel we must present a certain image or attitude to be accepted or liked by others. But living a life that is not true to who we are can lead to feelings of emptiness, dissatisfaction, and a lack of fulfillment.
By discovering and embracing our authentic selves, we can live a life that is true to who we are and that brings us joy, purpose, and fulfillment. We can connect with others on a deeper level and create more meaningful relationships. And maybe, we can also inspire them to do the same!
What It Means to Live Authentically and How to Do It
Authenticity is not about perfection but embracing your imperfections and being genuine in your interactions. It's about being comfortable in your skin and owning your strengths, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities. Being authentic means being true to yourself, your values, beliefs, and your personality, without pretending or putting up a facade to impress others.
Discovering your authentic self is a journey that requires self-exploration, introspection, and self-awareness. It takes time, but it's well worth the effort.
The first step to uncovering your true self is to channel your inner detective and become more self-aware. Take note of your body language, tone of voice, and even your facial expressions. Pay attention to your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and regularly reflect on them.
You are the best (and likely the only) person who can sense when things seem out of alignment. The more you practice self-awareness, the better you will become at noticing and identifying whether these things match up with how you're feeling inside. So don't be afraid to become the master of your inner world – determine what's off or missing, and allow your newfound inner wisdom to guide you through the necessary shifts.
Release Self-Limiting Beliefs
Next, it's time to identify and challenge any limiting beliefs or negative self-talk that may hold you back, kicking those pesky thoughts to the curb. These beliefs can be deeply ingrained and may have been passed down from family, friends, or society. They're the ones that whisper in your ear and tell you things like, "You're not good enough," or "You don't deserve happiness."
I'm here to tell you that these thoughts are full of it. They're as false as a unicorn's horn or a politician's promise. Once you accept this, you can practice replacing them with positive affirmations that help you focus on your strengths rather than weaknesses. As you continue to separate the lies from your potential, you will feel more empowered to live out the latter.
Identify and Embrace Your Passions (and Triggers)
Another key aspect of discovering your authentic self is to embrace your passions and interests. What do you love to do? What sets your heart on fire? What activities bring you the most joy?
Whether playing the guitar, doing crossword puzzles, or jumping out of airplanes, pursuing your passions is a fantastic way to connect with your authentic self and experience greater fulfillment and purpose.
Of course, discovering your authentic self doesn't only boil down to defining what makes you want to get up and dance. For each thing that makes you happy, there's likely another that makes you want to pull your hair out. Use this information to find a sense of balance and self-acceptance in your life. Despite what people say, you don't "win" at life by trying to be happy all the time – but you could be much happier by merely accepting that happiness is just one emotion on a spectrum of so many others.
Surround Yourself with Accepting People
The people you surround yourself with can also play a big role in your journey toward authenticity. Seek out and maintain relationships with people who lift you up, support you, and accept you for who you are (warts and all).
These positive relationships can provide a strong foundation for your journey of self-discovery, so surround yourself with people who share your values and interests and encourage you to be your true self.
Be Patient, Not Perfect
And last but certainly not least, it's important to be patient and kind to yourself throughout the journey. Discovering your authentic self is a process that takes time, and it's normal to experience setbacks and challenges along the way.
Remember that being authentic isn't about being perfect; it's about being true to yourself and embracing all the quirks that make you who you are. So be gentle with yourself and enjoy the ride.
Seek Professional Support
Therapy can be an invaluable tool if you're looking to discover and live your most authentic life. Working with a trained therapist, such as an existential therapist, can help you gain deeper insights into your values, beliefs, and behaviors and explore how they shape your experiences and perceptions of the world and yourself.
Therapy provides a safe and supportive environment where you can explore your vulnerabilities and fears and work through any emotional or psychological barriers preventing you from fully embracing your authentic self. Through existential therapy, you can develop a deeper understanding of yourself and your experiences, gain greater clarity about your goals and priorities, and learn new skills and strategies for living an authentic and fulfilling life.
Remember, you are unique and special; the world needs your authentic self. So don't be afraid to reach out and take the first step toward living your best life.