We always hear “just be yourself”.

What if you played a role for years and it brought you success in form of love, money, career – but not happiness. Do you continue to your oscar award winning performance or find yourself and become authentic. One can hold a glass of water for 10 min, maybe a couple of hours but days, months, years – I don’t think so. That’s exactly what we are asking our psyche to do when we reject out authentic self

{The true you; aligned and congruent self image, stature, values, beliefs, goals, behavior, word, and public image}.

Everyone is born authentic however beginning with childhood and moving through adolescence and into adulthood, we spend energy and time separating from our true self. During majority of our life we wear one mask to ourselves and other masks in the various groups, settings, events and circumstances we encounter along the way — at work, at play, at home, and in relationships. Most of ourself images we created for ourselves when we were young out of the need for others’ acceptance and approval. The more we exhibited this behavior or that image, the more we received acceptance and approval from, first our parents, then extended family, teachers, friends, and clergy, etc. Unfortunately, when we expressed our true selves, and our true self did not sync up with our parents’ expectations of who we should and should not be, we were denied love and acceptance. Becoming (consciously or unconsciously) obsessive over how we appear to others, and wanting and needing others’ approval, admiration and recognition, we “do what we have to do” — often resulting in showing up as a fake and phony, acting according to the images that were “imprinted” or “hard-wired” into our brains and into our emotional bodies. We learned to behave in ways that are grandiose, false, inauthentic, and reactive. When we separate from our authentic self, this disconnect manifests largely as our ego leading to a loss of self-esteem, self-value and self-worth which we then try to recover from outside ourselves. We shore up our self by being phony and fake – in thought, word, and deed. Discovering one’s authenticity requires reflection that cannot be accomplished by thinking about it but rather by working with a professional who will provide unconditional positive regard and increase awareness. Just as the best dermatologist can’t examine her/his own back, neither can one become authentic on their own.

Transformation to an authentic you:

To become your authentic self begin by knowing yourself.

  1. Understand your own personality traits, learned behaviors, and your values, beliefs, sense of justice, needs, goals, and motives. Analyze the events, choices, and people who have contributed to your identity throughout your life.
  2. It’s not all about you and so no need to take everything personally.
  3. Understand what guides and motivates you throughout your life and then question if those items belong to you or someone else.
  4. Discover your signature strengths then apply those signature strengths toward your authentic goals.
  5. Align your self image, stature, and public image. Carefully examine what you tell yourself, what you tell others, and when you decide to speak. Use your word consistently to express and strengthen your values. Don’t employ or overlook factual errors, fallacies or, distortions during communications.
  6. Have the courage to acknowledge your limitations and embrace your vulnerability.
  7. Gain the confidence to be humble.
  8. Choose to be content.
  9. Don’t make assumptions. Readily acknowledge what you don’t know and have the courage to ask questions. Carefully examine the evidence. Don’t attribute intent to others.

Bridge the Gap

Begin by writing a list of words that describe who you want to be; who you believe you can be.
To get started consider the list of trait nouns and trait adjectives. If these complete lists are overwhelming, use the shorter lists of personality trait markers, including both adjectives and nouns. Concentrate on words that describe who you are, not what you do.
Now write down a separate list of words that describe who you are now. How many words are the same on both lists? How many are different? How closely do the lists compare? What changes do you have to make?

As people become more authentic they often become more: rational, realistic, intuitive, creative, independent, flexible, able to manage change, willing to accept blame and correct their mistakes, generous,respectful of others, fair, and cooperative. This congruence earns the trust of others.