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5 Ways to be More Authentic (and Why It's so Important!)


Many of us fear the consequences of removing the mask that conceals our true identity. This mask hides our vulnerabilities and protects us from the disapproval of society. But when we hide behind a mask, we limit our opportunity for genuine connection. Fear of rejection for being ourselves keeps us in a no man’s land, and we sacrifice the full scope of our happiness.

What if I told you authenticity is the key to happiness? When we live a life of authenticity, we live a life that is true to ourselves. We show up for ourselves and embrace our heart’s yearnings. We live our lives based on our values. 

Living authentically may seem challenging, but this article will help you achieve it. In this article, we'll discuss what it means to live authentically. We'll go into why it's important to be authentic and provide 5 actionable tips to help you achieve authenticity.

What does it mean to be authentic? 

The word “authentic” is a buzz term these days. But what does it mean to live authentically? 

I believe it is to live in alignment with our values, passions, and yearnings. I see authenticity as showing up as ourselves, no matter the circumstances.

We may feel drawn to hide our inner selves in some circumstances, but these are the times when our authenticity can benefit us the most. 

It can take courage to show up in the world as our true selves. It’s not about a need to be correct. It’s more a case of showcasing what makes us tick and what values we align with. 

In my quest for authenticity, I am rejecting the herd mentality. Previously, I experienced a fear of missing out on things. Now I relish the joy of missing out if it’s something my heart doesn’t yearn for. 

Connecting with our authentic selves is perhaps one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves. 

An authentic person is someone who: 

  • Follows their heart. 
  • Does what they love. 
  • That says what they mean. 
  • Knows their mind. 
  • It’s open and honest. 
  • Is genuine. 
  • Behaviors align with their values. 
  • Is open to self-love. 
  • Is not afraid to follow their own path. 

Our journey to authenticity can bring a form of liberation with it. I found freedom when I discovered the power of serving myself first and quelled my innate people-pleasing skills.

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What are the benefits of being authentic? 

Most fundamentally, the benefits of being authentic are optimum mental and physical well-being. 

This study on authenticity found that those who scored higher on authenticity reported: 

  • Greater happiness.
  • More positive emotions.
  • High self-esteem. 

Does this surprise you? 

When we live authentically, we lean into our curiosity and positive energy. We avoid people or events our spidey senses tell us we “should” engage with, and we embrace those we feel called to. 

We listen to how our body responds in certain situations. We recognize what gives us energy and what saps this energy, and we build our path accordingly. 

Following our own path helps us build a life of deep joy based on our own happiness gauge.

5 ways to be more authentic 

Authenticity is the path to fulfillment and happiness. It recognizes that we are all different. There is no prescription for happiness. The important thing is that we live a life true to ourselves. What brings one person fulfillment may not carry the same feelings to another. 

To enjoy optimum joy in life, full of connection and positive energy, we must learn to live a life that compliments our inner yearnings. 

Here are 5 tips you can live more authentically. 

1. Get to know yourself  

Do you know who you are? 

Grab a piece of paper and a pen. List the 10 things that are most important to you. Now consider what you do in your life to honor the items on your list. 

What I find meaningful, you may find mundane. And this is ok. But as long as I give myself the time to invest energy in what brings me meaning and allow myself the grace to avoid what is not so important to me, I am living authentically. 

We can not live our lives for other people. 

All too often, we may feel trapped, trying to live our lives to please: 

  • Parents. 
  • Partners. 
  • Friends. 
  • Society. 

We hear stories of people being forced into specific careers by their parents or persuaded to marry by friends. And my skin crawling worst inauthentic servitude is those who have children to please others, even though they know in their hearts that they don’t want to be a parent. 

Provided we are not harming anyone else; there is no wrong or right way to live.

Ask yourself what happiness looks like to you! Not to your parents, friends, or the outside world. What does it look like to you? Then steer your life in the waves of your own happiness. 

2. Embrace your passions  

Spending time doing things we love is a sure way to connect with our inner selves. It also helps give us the confidence to lean into our authenticity. 

Life is bursting with the opportunity to engage with the world. No matter what your passion is, I guarantee there is a community group of sorts that you can connect with.

Spending time in an environment with like-minded people, be it online or in person, helps encourage our authenticity. There is beautiful collective energy when we meet others with shared passions. 

I am a complete trail and ultra running nerd. My non-running friends aren’t particularly interested in this. But when I spend time with my running friends, our collective passion for the trails and ultras leads to engaging and energizing conversations. Our commonalities give rise to me feeling accepted and understood.

This connection gives me the confidence to feel at ease with who I am without trying to present an edited version of me. 

3. Follow your values  

Have you still got the pen and paper handy? 

It’s time to consider what your values are. Spend 5 minutes writing down some of your values. 

My list looks something like this: 

  • Animals and animal welfare. 
  • Friends. 
  • Nature. 
  • Running.
  • My partner and dog. 
  • Human rights and feminism. 
  • Honest conversation. 
  • Kindness

I make a concerted effort to ensure my behavior aligns with my values. Let’s explore what this looks like in reality. 

Given my love for animals, I live a vegan lifestyle. My adaptation to veganism was possibly the most significant change I invited into my life to help my values and actions align. 

I value my friends deeply. I make sure I give them my time and attention. I demonstrate my love for them through my words and behavior.

Honest conversation is vital to me. I encourage this with those around me by not shaming or attacking anything others may say, even if I disagree. We can have different opinions and still love and respect each other. If we don’t have honesty, what do we have? This communication style has helped build mutual respect and trust. 

What about you? It’s time to ensure the way you live your life is in tune with your values. 

4. Explore your patterns 

We all have behavior patterns. Some serve us, and others may have a negative impact but are deeply habitual. 

Are your habits and patterns authentic, or did you inherit your habits from the people around you?

It can be challenging to break the shackles of our patterns. It’s time to recognize that you don’t need to go along the way of life that has been indoctrinated into you. 

Sit and contemplate a few things. 

  • Why do you behave the way you do? 
  • Is your belief system/religion formed from free will or was it instilled upon you? 
  • Is your political allegiance true to your value system, or has it been enforced upon you? 

Step out of the crowd and have the confidence to walk your own path. It’s ok to break out of your prescribed mold. 

5. Show up as yourself  

When we start to live more authentically, it can feel liberating. I feel like I have shed my old skin and now show up as myself. I used to wear a mask to try and hide my vulnerabilities. But now, I am at peace that some people will love me for who I am and others won’t. I am not for everyone. 

Living authentically is a celebration of who you are. There is only one you in this world, and it’s high time you show everyone how sparkly you can be. 

Going along with the crowd is dull. Perpetually agreeing with other people’s opinions when inside we have counter ideas only serves to invalidate yourself. 

It’s not about being right or wrong. It’s about showing up as yourself and not compromising your authenticity in favor of a desperate need to fit in. 

I don’t always feel I fit in, but at least I fit into my heart.

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Wrapping up 

When we learn to be authentic, we embrace a beautiful acceptance of ourselves. We empower our inner heart to be true to itself. This union with our soul translates as confident energy to those around us. There are several ways you can learn to be more authentic. As a reminder, here are our 5 tips: 

  • Get to know yourself. 
  • Embrace your passions. 
  • Follow your values. 
  • Explore your patterns. 
  • Show up as yourself. 

Do you do anything, in particular, to help with your authenticity? What tip did you like the most from this article? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!

Maili

Maili Tirel

School psychologist

School psychologist, teacher and internet counselor from Estonia. Passionate about coffee, reading, dancing, and singing in the shower, much to the neighbors’ dismay. Counseling catchphrase: “It’s okay!“

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