“Be your authentic self.”
We’ve heard this catchphrase time and again, but what does it really mean? It’s something that I’ve been thinking about lately.
The thing is, it’s easy to lose yourself in a world that’s driven by social media.
More often than not, we hide behind ‘masks’ or ‘filters’ to make our lives look perfect because that’s what’s ‘cool’ or ‘popular.’
But if there’s one thing I’ve learned about authenticity, it’s that it’s a lifelong process.
The good news is: We have the power to reconnect with our authentic selves.
We can choose to align with the simple truth of who we truly are — with all our imperfections and uniqueness.
Here’s how you can be a more authentic person and live a genuine, happy, and fulfilling life.
1) Know and accept yourself
To become more authentic, you’ve got to start looking within.
You’ve got to dig deep inside to discover who you really are, what you really want, and what you believe in.
You have to get in touch with your real thoughts, feelings, needs, and values.
Simply put: You have to be more self-aware.
Ok, I know what you’re thinking: Taking an inner journey can be uncomfortable.
It’s not always easy to be honest about our strengths, weaknesses, limitations, and beliefs.
But here’s the deal: When you’re unaware of what’s happening within you, you can quickly feel insecure about yourself.
You need to regularly make time and space to reflect on your thoughts, feelings, and actions.
It will help you stay in touch with your authentic self and reclaim your worth.
2) Stay true to your values
Think about these questions for a minute: What are your core values? What do you stand for? What are the things that make you feel alive? What motivates you?
As for me, my three core values are connection, respect, and truth. That’s why I strive to be kind to everyone. I never want to lie to other people or myself.
Every decision I make, big or small, is guided by whether or not it reflects my core values.
Getting clear about your core values and beliefs is key to being more authentic. It empowers you to stay grounded in who you are and what you want to become.
And once you discover your values, make sure that you stand by them — even if it means going against the crowd.
This brings me to my next point…
3) Speak your truth
This one can be very challenging and scary.
It takes immense courage to express yourself — your thoughts, feelings, and opinions — especially when they’re not popular.
In other words, stepping out into your life with truth requires saying what you mean and meaning what you say.
Yes, this may mean pushing out of your comfort zone.
But remember this: Tapping into your authentic self means being real, not being right.
There are ways to be direct and transparent without hurting other people’s feelings. You don’t have to dominate the conversation or focus on winning.
When you’re coming from a place of truth, you can express what you think and feel in an authentic way.
4) Don’t try to please everyone
Have you ever tried living a go-along-to-get-along lifestyle? How did that make you feel?
I’m sure living with a mask on was pretty frustrating and exhausting.
The thing is, you can’t be all things to all people. It’s just impossible.
More importantly, living a lie will never make you happy. Sure, you can get some validation from other people.
But you’ll always feel a disconnect. You’ll always say ‘yes’ to choices, opportunities, and relationships that contradict your truth.
We can all agree that being fake is not worth it. Being true to yourself means not living your life to please others.
Don’t live by someone else’s standards or rules. Live as your authentic self, unapologetically.
5) Embrace your vulnerability
One thing that often keeps us from being our most authentic selves is fear.
We’re afraid to reveal our imperfections because we’re not sure if we’ll still be loved for who we really are.
But here’s the kicker: Contrary to what most people think, vulnerability can also be a sign of strength.
That’s because an authentic person is brave enough to show his or her true colors. This means opening oneself up to flaws, failures, criticism, and disappointment.
And it doesn’t stop there: Authentic people don’t ignore their weaknesses and fears. They face them head-on and strive to learn and grow from them.
With humility and self-compassion, authentic people can connect with others in a more meaningful way.
6) Trust your instincts
Have you ever experienced a time when you had a difficult decision to make and you just knew what to do, even if you couldn’t quite explain it?
That’s what happens when you trust your intuition.
In other words: You follow your heart.
You see, to become more authentic, you need to rely more on your tuition and less on your mind as your compass.
In my experience, this is not as easy as it seems. I find it hard to get out of my head, especially when I’m overthinking or doubting myself.
But when I clear my mind of all the constant chatter, I start to hear an inner voice that guides me to act and make decisions based on my values.
It helps me to express myself and my emotions — and trust them to show me what to do in any particular situation.
7) Take responsibility for your actions
One important aspect of authenticity is accountability.
It means owning up to the consequences of your choices and behavior — both positive and negative.
When you take responsibility for your life, you ….
- Admit when you’re wrong
- Don’t blame others when you’re at fault
- Follow through when you make commitments and do them without making excuses
- Don’t sit around and complain when things don’t go your way
- Figure out ways to make the best out of any situation
Being responsible for your actions means you have a very firm grasp on reality. You acknowledge your role and find ways to ensure you don’t repeat the same mistake.
It shows your strength of character and willingness to grow.
8) Actively listen
Ask yourself: Are you listening so you can learn more or talk more?
If you’re the latter, then you’ve got some work to do to become more authentic.
The thing is, you aren’t listening when you’re caught up in thinking about what you’re going to say next. Your focus is to prove a point or win an argument.
Authentic listening, however, requires us to let go of our ego and agenda and open our minds and hearts to what the other person has to say.
That’s how authentic people engage in deeper conversations.
You won’t find them checking their phones or getting distracted when they’re listening to others.
Instead, they’re mindful of who they’re talking to. They do their best to understand and empathize with the other person.
9) Be present
“Living every moment to the fullest” is a mantra that is both overwhelming and empowering.
I believe that for it to work, you must start by being present.
What does that mean for you?
It means seeing every moment for what it is, and not getting your mind preoccupied with thoughts of the past and the future.
It’s about focusing on the simple, undistracted here and now.
When you engage with life as it happens, you stand a better chance of connecting with your deeper self.
You can respond to others with more authenticity when you’re fully aware of the present moment.
One way to practice this is by slowing down every day. Just observe yourself — watch your actions, what makes you happy or sad, and what drains you or motivates you.
This will help you understand yourself and others better and fill your time with introspection and meaningful relationships.
10) Be grateful
Adding gratitude into your daily life is a simple yet powerful habit that can keep you grounded and centered, bringing you closer to your authentic self.
It allows you to focus on what you already have, instead of what you lack.
Here’s the deal: It’s very easy to be grateful for all the awesome people and things in our lives, but the reality is, we experience both the good and the bad every day.
You can take your gratitude to the next level by training your mind to see the good even in the not-so-awesome stuff.
And it doesn’t stop there: You can express your gratitude to the people in your life. Sometimes, a simple “thank you” is all it takes to forge a genuine connection.
11) Practice self-care
Self-care can mean different things to different people — it can be eating healthily, sleeping enough, exercising regularly, meditating, and making time to relax and see family and friends.
At its core, self-care is about prioritizing your health and well-being — physical, emotional, and mental.
Simply put: When you feel good, you’re more likely to be your authentic self.
No matter how you define self-care, keep in mind to practice being honest with yourself about your needs and desires.
Know that you are a person of value who deserves kindness and love.
At the end of the day, you have the choice to learn and act your way to becoming truly authentic.
Honor yourself by committing to live an authentic and amazing life.