Creating An Authentic -Self
We’ve heard it countless times: “Be yourself”. Is it really that easy to be yourself? How do we know what it means to actually be our authentic selves? Shakespeare, himself, even toted to be true to ourselves, but how do we get there? It’s helpful to first analyze the question of who we actually are. On the surface, many of us already identify ourselves a certain way, whether that is classified by race, gender, political party, financial status, and so on. While this may be part of us on some superficial level, these are moreso constructs of what was given to us the moment we we born, or are created even from our own point of view. Keep in mind that these differ greatly from the “true” us.
How Do You Feel?
First, it’s important to take into consideration how we currently feel about ourselves. Do we actually feel as if we are being authentic, or do we find ourselves changing “characters” depending on who we are talking to? Do we feel that those who we surround ourselves with are their true selves? Are our relationships with others based on our authenticity or are we and our partners both faking it?
Take It a Layer Deeper
By identifying ourselves and others solely on the superficial layers of our identities, we make it harder to develop deep relationships with others, and more importantly, with ourselves. If this is the case for you, you’re definitely not alone. In this age where media rules everything, it’s easy to become immersed by others’ thoughts and behaviors, allowing them to override our own. The media likes to tell us that looks and material things are what are most important, and that bad behavior will be excused or justified somehow. This can be very damaging in helping us identify our authentic selves.
Answering the hard questions - the deep questions of life can help us discover our authentic selves. What are we living this life for? What is most important to us? Living our lives according to how we answer these questions will help us discover our true inner core and purpose. By doing this on a continuous basis, it will become easier over time, and we will begin to be led more easily by our own inner voices, making decisions more straightforward. We will begin to know that we are following our authenticity when we make a decision that we truly feel good about; that brings us a kind of indescribable affirmation. It’s important when making a decision about anything in life, that we do a kind of “check” with your inner self. Don’t try to fight against its answer, because the true “us” will always know the answer.
Focus On You
Despite this advice, it’s not that easy for many people to simply go off of what our gut tells us to do. Many of us are too concerned with what others opinions of us are. When we begin to worry about others’ views of us more than our own, that’s when we begin to manipulate our personalities and behaviors in an effort to please or avoid disappointing others. After a while, these tendencies often diminish our authenticity, and even tend to affect our self-esteem levels negatively. By suppressing our true selves in exchange for a safe, non-confrontational experience with others, we are actually stunting our growth as people. This also ruins any opportunity we may have had for creating a deep dialogue that could have opened up a better understanding between us and the other person. Over time, this can hinder the relationship between us, especially if we are both having trouble showing our authentic selves. By taking the step towards authenticity, we actually diminish the fear and anxiety often felt, thus propelling us to avoid conflict and wanting to please others.