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4 Real Ways to be True to Yourself (With Examples)

We all know the stereotypical sleazy car salesman. The guy in an expensive Italian suit who has sold his soul to the devil a long time ago and only cares about one thing: getting rich by selling as many cars to as many people and getting that big commission.

You, on the other hand, want to live with integrity and be true to yourself. You want to look in the mirror and see someone who you respect. Maybe even someone you admire. If you want to be like this but don’t know how to get there, you need to learn how to be more true to the person you spent the most time with: yourself.

In this article, I’ll talk about 4 actionable methods that you can use to be more true to yourself. As a result, you’ll find out what matters most in your life which helps you live the life that makes you happy.

How to be true to yourself

Being true to yourself is a matter of standing up for what you believe in being able to respect yourself for who you are. If you live a life true to yourself, you’ll also find it easier to feel proud of who you are.

While we’ve written articles before about how to respect yourself, being true to yourself is slightly different.

Here are 4 ways that will help you be true to who you are.

1. Your actions are in line with your thoughts

The most important part of being true to yourself is making sure your actions are in line with your thoughts.

One of my favorite quotes by Paulo Coelho explains why I think this is so important.

The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion.

Paulo Coelho

If you don’t live a life true to yourself, your actions are different from your thoughts, opinions and, morals.

Nobody is perfect, I know. We are all hypocrites if you look hard enough. But if your biggest beliefs and values are not supported by your actions, you’ll find it hard to be true to yourself.

A couple of years ago, I was a perfect example of this hypocrisy. Before I quit my job in offshore engineering, I used to feel really conflicted about a big part of my work.

On the one hand, I was fully aware of the climate crisis and how we – as humans – had a negative impact on the planet.

But on the other hand, my job included the engineering of a future natural gas pipeline that would run straight through acres of coral fields. With my work, I was indirectly contributing to the destruction of some of nature’s most precious ecology.

Even though I thought everybody should try to live sustainably, my actions at work were not in line with my thinking.

I’ve since quit that job and switched to something else, and I’m much happier because of it. If you want to be more true to yourself, try to change your life in a way that supports your morals and beliefs.

You may think that you are a good person but if you don’t actually do good things, are you really making the world a better place?

woman bus window reflection mirror

2. You are comfortable with saying “No”

Being true to yourself means that you live your life on your terms. However, a lot of people – especially younger ones – find it hard to say “No”. If you find it hard to say “No” to things that are not in line with your values, then how can you be true to yourself?

You must realize that “No” is a complete sentence.

If someone asks you something that you’re not obliged to do and don’t want to do, you can simply say “No” and leave it at that. You don’t always have to justify why you can’t make it to a party, or why you can’t work overtime on the weekends.

Saying no might be confrontational, you worry you might offend someone or come off as a bad or selfish person. If you worry about this, it’s probably safe to say that saying no doesn’t make you a bad person. It just means that you want to care for yourself.

By becoming more comfortable with saying “No”, you’ll find it easier to be more true to yourself. In James Altucher’s book The Power of No, he asserts that saying “No” more often is really saying “Yes” to life. A life that’s more meaningful for you. Whereas too much ‘yes’ can leave us drained emotionally and physically from overcommitment to others. That kind of commitment leaves little for ourselves.

If you want more tips on how to say no more often, you may like our article on how to stop being a people-pleaser.

3. You’re okay with the fact that not everyone has to like you

You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.

Winston Churchill

If you’re a people-pleaser that constantly tries to live life according to someone else’s rules, you’ll find it hard to be true to yourself.

Of course, no one takes joy in getting into heated arguments or having someone tell you that you’re an asshole.

But sometimes, you have to stand up for what you believe in. This means that you have to step out of your comfort zone every once in a while. By overcoming your shyness and letting your voice be heard, you will live a life true to yourself.

If you find that not everyone appreciates you for who you are, then so be it. Just say “It is what it is” and move on to live the life that makes you happy.

We’ve published more articles on these topics in the past, that will help you be true to yourself:

4. Do more of what makes you happy

What if you already know how to say “No” and you’ve made plenty of enemies by speaking up about the things you value? You still need to realize that you only have one life, and you don’t want to waste it by not focussing on the things that make you happy.

So my last piece of advice to be more true to yourself is to simply do more of the things that make you happy.

Take responsibility for your own happiness. No one’s going to make sure that you’re living the best life you can.

We published an entire article focused on how to do more of the things that make you happy.

Wrapping up

To be true to yourself means to stand up for what you believe in and to be proud of your actions. You can’t do this without having people occasionally disagree with what you do, but that’s not important. The most important thing here is that you get to live the life that you were destined to live, without living on someone else’s terms.

What do you think? Do you feel ready to start being more true to yourself after having read these 4 tips? Did I miss something super important? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

Founder of Tracking Happiness

Founder of Tracking Happiness and lives in the Netherlands. Ran 5 marathons, with one of them in under 4 hours (3:59:58 to be exact). Data junkie and happiness tracker for over 7 years.

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