I posted a story on Instagram a few weeks ago about falling while I was running through the yard. I was laying in the grass just laughing. And that’s something I hadn’t done that since I was a kid. And it got me thinking, where did that unaltered, spontaneous joy go? It’s not that I am no longer joyful, I have lots of fun with friends and family. It’s just that there was something so pure in that moment that brought me back to my childhood. And I think we sometimes lose that uninhibited sense of self as we get older. And that got me thinking about the authentic self.
In a world often filled with external expectations and societal pressures, it can be easy to lose touch with who we truly are — the authentic self that resides within each of us. Our authentic self is the core of our being, encompassing our unique values, beliefs, passions, and desires. Discovering and embracing this authentic self is an empowering journey that can lead to a sense of fulfillment, self-acceptance, and genuine happiness.
I am now embarking on a path of self-discovery to find my authentic self, or at least wake her back up, and want to take you along with me.
Understanding the Authentic Self
The authentic self is the unadulterated essence of who we are as individuals. It represents the truest form of our being, unaffected by external influences or societal expectations. It is a reflection of our genuine thoughts, emotions, and aspirations. To find our authentic self, we must peel away the layers of conditioning and external masks we wear, connecting with our innermost desires and values.
I know…me falling and laughing in the grass doesn’t really go with what we define our authentic self as. But it did open up my eyes to be aware of her and to make sure that I am true to my authentic self. So while it doesn’t totally make sense how I got here, I’m so happy that I did.
Self-reflection is a powerful tool for uncovering the authentic self. Take time to pause, detach from external distractions, and delve into introspection. Ask yourself thought-provoking questions such as, “What brings me fulfillment and joy?” or “What are my core values and beliefs?” Engage in activities like journaling, meditation, or mindfulness practices to facilitate this process of self-discovery.
I practice all three activities and have written several articles on them. I have found over the years that they have been powerful tools in ensuring that I am being true to myself and understand who I am. Check the articles out here:
Authenticity requires vulnerability — the willingness to be seen, heard, and understood for who we truly are. Embracing vulnerability involves letting go of the fear of judgment or rejection. And allowing ourselves to express our thoughts, feelings, and opinions honestly. By embracing vulnerability, we create space for genuine connections and cultivate a deeper understanding of ourselves.
Embracing vulnerability is a courageous act that opens the door to profound growth and authentic connections. When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we demonstrate an openness to being seen, heard, and understood, even when it feels uncomfortable. By removing the armor that shields us, we invite genuine experiences and meaningful relationships into our lives. It is through vulnerability that we learn to acknowledge our imperfections and accept ourselves with compassion.
This is a part of discovering our true selves. By embracing our emotions and nurturing empathy towards others.
Unlearning and Letting Go
To find our authentic self, it is crucial to unlearn societal conditioning and let go of limiting beliefs that may have been imposed upon us. Society often defines success, beauty, and happiness in narrow terms, but true authenticity stems from defining these concepts on our own terms. Challenge societal norms and expectations that do not align with your true self and embrace the freedom to live authentically.
This has been one of the most challenging aspects of finding my authentic self. Now that I recognize I’m on this journey and want to be, I’m much more aware of the conditioning that society has on me. This is going to be a process that takes time to be true to myself and not feel like I need to fit into a mold that I have followed for my entire life.
What I’ve decided to do is spend time during my morning routine to practice mindfulness around my previous day. I find it easier to look back on what I need to unlearn. Then as I encounter similar situations or thoughts in the day ahead I can take the opportunity to make clearer decisions based on my values rather than societal expectations.
Follow Your Passions to Your Authentic Self
Our passions act as compasses, guiding us toward our authentic selves. Engage in activities that ignite a sense of joy and enthusiasm within you. Whether it’s painting, writing, cooking, or playing a musical instrument. By immersing yourself in activities you love you can unveil facets of your authentic self. Explore new hobbies, take risks, and allow yourself to be fully immersed in the experiences that bring you alive.
Following my passions has been a huge part of my life and I make time for it every morning during my morning routine. It ensures that I experience something I want to every day and I give myself time to love something that I truly enjoy. If you don’t yet make time for following your passions, put it on your to-do list every day–starting today.
Self-acceptance is a vital component of authenticity. Embrace your strengths, weaknesses, and imperfections without judgment. Recognize that being authentic means embracing your whole self, including the parts you may perceive as flaws. Embrace self-compassion and treat yourself with kindness, understanding that growth and self-discovery are lifelong processes.
You’re a unique individual, no one else is exactly the same as you. Be proud of who you are and take the time to understand yourself and accept yourself. This is a vital part of our self-care journey. Consider checking out our article about implementing self-care into your life and while doing so focusing on self-acceptance.
Surround Yourself with Supportive Relationships
Authenticity thrives in an environment of acceptance and support. Surround yourself with individuals who celebrate your true self and encourage your growth. Seek out communities, friendships, or mentors who appreciate and value your authenticity. Together, you can create a space where you feel safe to express your genuine thoughts and emotions.
When I was just out of college my sister made a comment to me about how one day someone will fall in love with my quirks. She went on to say that I would find someone that loved how talking about military history lit me up, or that they would appreciate how I can sit in silence for hours and knit. The list went on and it really showed me how I was an unusual twenty-something year old. But the point was that I needed the right person to love me for who I truly am.
That conversation stuck with me. I still think about it from time to time. And looking at the small circle of people I surround myself with shows that I have supportive relationships. My relationships are genuine and full of support and love.
Everyone should be able to say the same. If you can’t, first start with assessing yourself – the qualities that you love about yourself. Do the people you surround yourself with know those qualities and love them just as much as you do?
Your Authentic Self Journey
The journey to discovering your authentic self is a deeply personal and transformative process. It requires self-reflection, vulnerability, unlearning, and self-acceptance. Embracing your authentic self allows you to live a life aligned with your passions, desires, and values, leading to a profound sense of fulfillment and contentment. Remember, the path to authenticity is unique for each individual. There’s no guarantee it’ll be easy. There may be ups and downs, challenges along your journey, and moments of self-doubt.
However, the rewards of living authentically are immeasurable. By embracing your true essence, you not only honor yourself but also inspire others to do the same. So, embark on this journey of self-discovery, trust in your intuition, and let the radiant light of your authentic self illuminate your path towards a life of authenticity, purpose, and joy.