he saying we all have probably heard at some point in our lives goes something along the lines of “You learn something new every day.” As we grow older we are not only learning more about the world around us, but also more about ourselves as people. What kind of hobbies we are interested in, what type of people we are surrounding ourselves with, music & food taste, etc. Due to societal pressure and feelings of trying to “fit in,” some of us may suppress who we really are. We may start doing things to look a certain way for other people or avoid embracing parts of ourselves due to fear of judgment.
As adults, many of us are still finding our places and voices in the world. No matter how successful and happy one may seem, no one completely has it figured out.
Even though no one has themselves completely figured out, the best thing you can do is stay true to your feelings, thoughts, and values. Although you will have to face raw and uncomfortable emotions at various points in your life, it’s best to remain your authentic self and take things for what they are. However, we are often told to hide our negative emotions and embrace only our positive emotions. This often can create an issue of a false sense of self in people.
What is false self and how can I break the habit?
According to David Winnicott’s developmental schema, the false self is referred to as false personalities that have developed due to early repeated environmental failure. For example, being told at an early age to hide our negative emotions and put on a happy face. Suppressing our true feelings and thoughts in this manner can lead to long term effects in self esteem issues and depression.
Caring and empathy failures taking place in someone’s childhood can create the development of subjugation. Surrendering control to what everyone else wants to do instead of focusing on your own needs and wants. This can create problems later in life with being able to stand up for yourself and having a voice.
Authenticity—What exactly does it entail?
Being authentic means we are aligning our actions with our values, preferences, beliefs, and motivations. True authenticity means doing the work to discover yourself and who you are as a person.
The tendency to conform is referred to as the Asch phenomenon. Solomon Asch conducted an experiment to determine how social pressure within a group can cause someone to want to conform. Asch devised a set of questions in a way that if someone answered incorrectly, this was due to group pressure.
Even though it may seem easy for us to simply go with the flow and blend into what everyone else is doing, this only leads us to coming across as more unnoticeable. The way we are able to stand out from those around us is when we are acting as our true selves. Being your true self will allow you to draw in relationships and experiences that are going to be best for who you really are at the end of the day.
Practices to become more authentic
Strive to be your most authentic self
Always remember and stick with your values as a person. Our values remind us of our morals and what direction we should be heading in life. Values will ultimately shape our actions, which turns into habit and then creates character.
Being yourself 24/7 isn't as easy as it seems. You need to learn to let go a little bit and not obsess so much over others’ judgments. You know yourself better than anyone else possibly could, so that’s why it’s important to make decisions you know will be bestt for YOURSELF. That is all that matters!
Being more authentic will allow you to witness more of the good and lightheartedness in life. For example, let’s say you are out with your friends at the bar one night and they are having a karaoke night. You really wanna go up on that stage and sing in front of everyone, but you’re worried about what others will think. The best option is to go up on that stage and just do it! You know you will have a great time and your friends will support you up there. Be yourself and don’t miss out on these kinds of fun opportunities you will experience throughout your life!
Create authentic relationships
Having healthy and authentic relationships with others can help you on your journey to being the most authentic self you possibly can. Check out our blog on how to build quality friendships as an adult.
There are primarily two types of people we have relationships with in our life:
- Those who add true value to our lives: Treasured people who are a part of our lives who care and want to see us be our best selves. They guide and support us along the journey of reaching our goals and accomplishments, and are always there for us when there are bumps along the road.
- Energy vampires and discouraging people: These might be people who have had their own failures and downfalls in life and push that energy on to us. You may even feel that because these people gave up on their dreams, that you should too.
These energy vampires and discouraging people we come across in life can be roommates, coworkers, or even someone you are very close with such as a family member, friend, or partner! Being around negative influences can trick you into bad habits and sway you away from who you really are as your authentic self. Pay attention to how you feel when you are around some of the people in your life and the role they play. Is this person really going to be there for me and be proud when I reach my goal? Do I feel uncomfortable with myself or guilty when I am in the presence of that person? These are both red flags that indicate that person is most likely toxic in your life.
Don’t allow yourself to be influenced by the opinion of others
It’s normal for us to not always agree or have the same idea about something as a family member, friend, partner, etc. Many times, we don’t say how we feel in certain situations and we may stay very quiet due to a fear of retaliation from others. We think that it’s better to conform with everything and agree on whatever the other person has to say.
For example, let’s say you are at the shopping mall with some of your friends and you are trying on some new clothes in hopes of changing up your style. You really like the clothes you just put on but your friends are telling you that they don’t like it. You can listen to the advice of your friends, but that doesn’t mean their opinion should influence what decision you ultimately decide to make. If your friends are true friends, then they will support you no matter what kind of clothes you decide to wear! If not, it’s never too late to start looking for new friends :)
Know your true worth
It’s important to have a positive strong sense of self to establish feelings of value and worth. Whatever is planted into our minds will be the basis for all of our thoughts.
Here are some ways for you to create a better mindset:
- Take time for gratitude: Find at least one thing you are grateful for each day and write it down.
- Engage in positive affirmations: Affirm within yourself that you are strong, smart, and worthy of taking life on day by day. Pinterest is a great platform for finding some really helpful self affirmations! If you are a Pinterest user already, you can check out this collection with some great daily affirmations here.
- Take moments for self care: Whether that be taking the time to watch your favorite movie, eat your favorite meal, or take a bubble bath and do a face mask, engaging in self care will help you to reset your mind a bit and get you back to your very best self!
Being authentic ultimately means you will have to be vulnerable, which can be more difficult for some than others. You need to work on allowing yourself to feel your own emotions and act accordingly, rather than sweeping it under the rug and just blending in with everyone else.
Authenticity will allow you to create success, meaningful relationships, and a deeper understanding of yourself, which will allow you to go about life in the way best for you and your needs.
All in all, some key takeaways from this guide consist of striving to be your most authentic self, creating authentic relationships, not allowing yourself to be easily influenced into other opinions, and to know your true worth. It may take time and patience, but it is never too late to begin the journey of working to be your most authentic self!