A lot is being said about how we should be authentic, true to ourselves. But there are times I struggle with it all, how about you?
When I look at myself, I changed a lot over the years. And there are certain life happenings that have heavily influenced my overall approach on life and how I look at things. And yes I have lost – and found – myself a few times along the way, too. Right now I have found myself but it took me a while to get there and who knows what lies ahead. I might lose myself again? But that doesn’t make me less authentic, or?!
What does it even mean “to be authentic”? And surely life circumstances have an impact on our authenticity too? It can change, no? Just think about major life events like having children, deaths of closed ones, job loss, betrayal, moves, illnesses?
I like this definition I read on PsychCentral: “ Being authentic means coming from a real place within. It is when our actions and words are congruent with our beliefs and values. It is being ourselves, not an imitation of what we think we should be or have been told we should be.”
I personally don’t think that everybody needs to know me 100% – as long as I stay true to myself that is. I still stay authentic on the inside, to my beliefs, but I sometimes do present myself differently. I’m not showing myself off in a false way, I don’t fake it but … I’m still different.
I know that there are moments when I’m holding back. Or situations when I’m more “out there” than it’s usual for my nature. I’m aware that I do behave differently depending on the situation, the setting and the crowd I find myself in – and my own mood. But we all take on different “roles” depending on the situation, and are still being authentic, no? Especially when we are aware of this shift within us?
I at times admire very outgoing personalities. They seem to appear so effortlessly open and so comfortable in their own skin. But I wonder if they are really like that, or just “acting” differently?
Either way, in those moments I sometimes want to be more like that too, but deep within it’s just not me. And man, those moments are so exhausting – an introvert going extrovert! Most poignant are these moments after a move I find. When everything and everybody is new. I check the waters, see how and where I fit in, try to find my way and my people, put myself out there more than I usually would – and ultimately lose myself a bit here and there.
- Or these moments and situations when we let other person’s opinions take over what we personally believe in?
- The situations when society puts pressure on us?
- Or the moments when we feel the pressure of wanting to fit in or when we feel that are being compared?
- Or when we live our life as it “should be”, according to expectations, but not the way we really want it deep inside?
Did you ever take time to notice how you feel in these life situations? Not being authentic – especially over a longer time – can be emotional and physically tiring, right?
You see, we own it to ourselves to find and stay true to our beliefs and values. After all, it’s our own life and we are responsible for it. But yes there are times in life when we are more rattled by people and situations around us. When it all feels a bit much and off balance, less authentic.
It’s in those moments that we have to step back, shut out all the noise and find this place within us to find our true self. It may be the same like before or we changed and need to adjust.
After all, our authentic self has to be independent of what and who is around us, it is within us!
It can be tricky at times – this whole staying authentic part, no?
What do you think?