Being true to ourselves is the foundation for getting closer to living as our authentic self. By knowing who we are; we can understand and connect more deeply with the people around us. However, in a world where perfection is seen as the ideal; this is a hard process to do. But if you want to live your best life; then the transformation is worth it. Here are 5 things you can do to get closer to being your authentic self.
1. Observe Your Self
This may sound a bit awkward or creepy even but this is one little step that will truly help you learn more about yourself. You have to allocate time to observe yourself. Who are you when you are alone and who are you when in the presence of others? You need to be able to differentiate the ‘you’ when you’re alone and your persona; the ‘you’ when you’re around others. You may even have different personas to interact with different groups of people in your social circle.
The only way to find out is to observe your own thoughts, actions and behavior in these different interactions. Of course, in order to get the best data so to speak; you need to be present in the moment. By being mindful of each moment and experiencing them to the fullest; you can gain the utmost satisfaction from each interaction and recall these experiences better too. That’s what will make you a better observe of your own actions.
2. Explore Your Strengths and Weaknesses
One thing you can do to get to know yourself better is to find out your own strengths and weaknesses. Do a SWOT analysis so you can better figure out these things about your self. This is an opportunity for self-reflection. Be honest in writing down your list. Take your time to contemplate on these aspects of your self.
Aside from just you, get the opinion of people around you. Other people will surely have different thoughts on this matter. So go around and ask everyone what they think of your strengths and weaknesses. If you have many different social circles; then you may get different answers or maybe consistent ones. Welcome all their feedback as it is a chance to see if there is a gap between your opinion of your self and other people’s impressions of you. Then you can better understand how far or close you are to your authentic self.
3. Name Your Emotions
Most of us are trained and have perfected the persona of looking and acting like we are strong in the face of challenges even when we really just want to cry. But because of this reaction, we often forget to fully feel our own emotions before we move on to damage control mode. So this time around, don’t just rush out of it.
Instead, take the time to feel your emotions in your body as they come until they pass or fade away. In the meantime, you may or may not need to cry. But as you are in this state of being, try to put a name to your emotions. Are you sad or frustrated, angry or just agitated? Don’t act on your emotions as they come, just feel them. This is best done when you are alone of course, but this process also helps you to calm down and gain better clarity on what action you need to take or not take, towards the situation.
4. Evaluate Your Values
Sometimes, we put ourselves in uncomfortable situations because we want to please the people around us, our loved ones included. Maybe you wanted to become a writer but your parents are pushing you to be an engineer instead. So now, you are trying your best to not get a failing grade in a course that you didn’t really want for your self. Maybe your passion lies in one of your hobbies and not in your job.
Evaluate your own values. You and your parents are from different generations and there maybe some values that you will both cherish and some in which you will differ. If you can identify what these are and why they are important to you, you will have an easier time making your loved ones understand why you need to follow the path you want to take. Everyone has their own journey to take. If we can honor our own path; then it will be easier for others to honor that part of ourselves as well. This will take us closer to living our authentic self.
5. Be Kind to Yourself
We are often told to be kind to others as everyone is going through their own struggles. So don’t forget to be kind to yourself as well. Don’t beat yourself up if you think you are going too slow. Sometimes, it takes a step back to see the road ahead with greater clarity. Just focus on taking each step consistently and love yourself each step of the way.
Being kind to yourself also means being able to accept your own shortcomings and weaknesses. It also means accepting your unique quirks and embracing all parts of you, even your shadow self. Although we are all striving for perfection; remember that we are all a work in progress and it is our imperfections that make us the interesting souls that we are. So pat yourself on the bag for the small victories and soothe yourself with hopeful thoughts whenever you fail at a challenge. Then, take a rest and try again.