3 Ways to Increase Authenticity & Live Your Best Life
In today's society, we can get so caught up in being who we think we are supposed to be, especially due to the increased influence of societal ideals and social media expectations. This “fictional” self can seem beneficial on the outset, but if pursued long term can be detrimental to your career, relationships, and self-identity. Even more jarring, interacting with the world in this way limits your growth, creativity, and self-esteem. Conversely, fostering authenticity can lead to better coping strategies, increased resilience, a stronger sense of self-worth, having a sense of purpose, more confidence, and a higher likelihood to follow through on your goals.
Brene Brown provides excellent words of wisdom in regards to authenticity. She says, "authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we are supposed to be and embracing who we are."
What exactly is your authentic self? It is who you are at your core. It is the combination of your skills, talents, hobbies, and wisdom. It is who you are when no one is watching. Authenticity requires you to genuinely share your inner self, to be in touch with your instincts, stick to your values, and live by your own standards. If this sounds scary, you are not alone. In a society that teaches and reinforces individuals to wear many masks, courage is needed to be your authentic self.
3 Ways to Increase Your Authenticity
Becoming authentic is a continual process, not a destination. Below you will find 3 tips to increase your self-authenticity. Implement these in your daily life while expressing patience and kindness towards yourself and your journey.
Identify Your Values
When we think and behave in a way inconsistent with our values, negative emotions such as anxiety and depression often surface. By creating a life congruent with our values, we create a life that is more satisfying and meaningful. Examples of values include community, family, spirituality, achievement, honesty, compassion, excellence, independence, integrity, and loyalty. I encourage you to identify your top 10 values and honestly reflect if your daily actions support these values. If they don't, try to make small steps to deliberately shift your life to align with your identified values. This increased insight and awareness will allow you to feel heightened confidence in the decisions you make and will allow you to authentically move through life. If you need help identifying your values click here to learn more.
Become Self Aware
Living an authentic life requires you to be self-aware. How can you live your life true to your values, standards, and instincts if you are not aware what those are? The first step is being observant and mindful of your thoughts and feelings in various situations. This will require you to ask what questions to foster insight such as: What am I feeling? What am I thinking? What am I reacting to? Remember, the purpose is not to judge yourself but rather to gain understanding. If you are having a difficult time getting started, seek honest feedback from those you trust. The next step is to accept both your strengths and weaknesses. This will foster your willingness to act in accordance with your authentic self, even when it feels vulnerable.
The following saying by Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu provides some insight into the importance of being present. “If you're depressed, you're living in the past. If you're anxious, you're living in the future. If you're at peace, you're living in the present.” Although this popular saying is rather simplistic, it does offer a starting point in examining and evaluating your current level of presence. The benefit of living in the present is you are able to accept and experience life's emotions as they arise. This is a fundamental requirement of authenticity as being present opens you up to experience and respond to your surroundings without preconceived notions and unwanted outside influence . Being present takes practice and is unique to each person. If you are looking for a place to begin implementing change, you can try reducing distractions (i.e. technology), engaging in meditation, or becoming more aware of your surroundings.