Staying true to who you are is becoming more challenging.
Societal expectations can create pressure on individuals to conform to predefined standards.
Financial concerns can compel you to make decisions based on practicality rather than personal fulfillment.
Plus, it’s easy to fall prey to trends in the social media era and aspire to look and behave like everyone else in an effort to fit in.
Still, some rise above the noise and carve their own paths to contentment, even when these paths look peculiar from the outside.
How do they pull it off?
Turns out, people who have mastered the art of living authentically usually display these 7 behaviors.
Let’s see if you’re one of them.
1) They are reflective
You can’t stay true to who you are if you don’t know who you are.
Authentic people spend big chunks of time reflecting on their values, behavior, and goals.
They understand the importance of looking inward.
This process of self-discovery allows them to establish a solid foundation upon which to craft an existence that aligns with their true selves.
To quote Felicia Day, knowing yourself is life’s eternal homework.
It’s not like you can sit down for a couple of hours and have yourself completely figured out.
Getting to know yourself is an active and ongoing process.
People who have mastered the art of living authentically are willing to devote time to simply sit with their thoughts and contemplate their feelings.
Their commitment to self-reflection enables them to adjust their goals when necessary, ensuring that their life trajectory remains in harmony with their evolving understanding of self.
Journaling. Meditation. Long walks with only yourself for company.
If you want to understand yourself, these activities are a good place to start.
2) They express themselves freely
Authentic individuals possess a remarkable ability to express themselves freely without fearing judgment.
They are secure in their identity and don’t have to pretend or conform.
This means they will share a controversial opinion, call out rude behavior, and remove themselves from situations where they feel disrespected.
Furthermore, authentic expression extends beyond mere verbal communication.
It encompasses various forms of self-expression, including body language, creativity, and personal style.
People who have mastered the art of living authentically don’t need to fit in because they are unafraid of standing out.
Which brings me to my next point.
3) They are fine with being “embarrassing”
For the majority of my twenties, I wanted to be a cool girl.
To be perceived as chill, easy-going, low maintenance.
In reality, I am none of those things.
I feel things deeply, I stress about everything, and I need a lot of reassurance that the people I care about don’t secretly hate me.
Even now, admitting these things feels embarrassing because they are the opposite of cool.
Yet, I’ve made peace with the fact that we’re all a bit cringe from time to time.
The harsh truth is that very few people pay that close attention to your every action.
More often than not, the embarrassment is all in your head.
Authentic people don’t bother too much about how others perceive them.
Life’s too short to be embarrassed by who you are.
4) They embrace vulnerability
Embracing vulnerability is a cornerstone of authentic living, reflecting courage and a deep sense of self-awareness.
People who are true to who they are generally engage in open and honest communication.
Not only that, but they create an atmosphere of trust and encourage others to reciprocate with their own vulnerability.
See, authentic people already made peace with who they are.
They accept their imperfections and understand how much they bring to the table, so they’re unafraid to show the rest of the world their true self.
As an added bonus, by owning up to their flaws and mistakes, they are more likely to warm up to like-minded individuals.
5) They show genuine interest in others
Speaking of like-minded individuals, authentic people are generally curious about others.
They want to learn about the perspectives and stories of those around them, as different from their own as they may be.
Just like they are compassionate to themselves, they’re not interested in judging others.
They want to understand them.
Once you spend a whole bunch of time reflecting on your values and what you want from life (see #1), you begin to grasp the importance of relationships.
People are social creatures, and having a solid support system is crucial for thriving in a world where feeling lonely has become more common.
I in no way mean that you need to be the soul of the party or that you should look into acquiring a large social circle.
I’m an introvert with two close friends, for example, but I’m sure those two friends will be there for me no matter what.
What I do mean is that finding your tribe takes trial and error – and showing genuine interest in others boosts your chances of forging deep connections with those around.
People who have mastered the art of living authentically recognize the inherent value of each individual.
Their relationships are much more fulfilling as a result.
6) They keep an open mind
On the same note, authentic people are open-minded.
While they have principles that guide them in life, they also realize that they don’t know everything.
To compensate for that, they embrace diversity, entertain different perspectives, and remain receptive to new ideas.
This makes them more adaptable.
You can recognize someone with an open mind from a mile away:
- They are willing to consider new information
- They admit when they don’t know something
- They are comfortable with uncertainty, recognizing that no one has all the answers
- They acknowledge their own biases and prejudices
- They accept constructive criticism
All in all, authentic people are a joy to interact with.
7) They cultivate resilience
Sometimes, who you are fits neatly into what society expects from you.
Other times, not so much.
Authentic people set aside their desire to fit in and follow their instincts.
And do you know what happens when you decide to live your life in a way that goes against what’s socially accepted?
You face your fair share of rejection.
You alienate people.
You are excluded from stuff.
None of these things are easy.
However, these also happen to be the things that help you build resilience.
You experience hardship, but you learn that you can survive a lot.
You also discover that trusting your gut is more important than throwing away small bits of yourself to appeal to others.
When you decide to live in accordance with who you truly are, your confidence grows.
A welcome side effect, for sure.
Authenticity is key if you want a life you’re content with.
The more you pretend to be someone you’re not, the more miserable you become.
At the end of the day, the only constant companion you can reliably count on is yourself.
Make them proud.
Lost Your Sense of Purpose?
In this age of information overload and pressure to meet others’ expectations, many struggle to connect with their core purpose and values. It’s easy to lose your inner compass.
Jeanette Brown created this free values discovery PDF to help clarify your deepest motivations and beliefs. As an experienced life coach and self-improvement teacher, Jeanette guides people through major transitions by realigning them with their principles.
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