10 Ways to Be More Authentic
Updated: Jun 2
Have you ever asked yourself what being authentic means? Are you someone who would like to be an authentic person but don’t know where to start? What are they ways to be more authentic? These are not uncommon questions and seem to have become more prevalent during the age of social media. You may notice that who you are with those closest to you differs from who you are at work or online, and some of those qualities in each area may not seem authentic to you. This is because we are programmed a certain way due to how we are raised. We are influenced by culture, society, economy, history, identity, and more. The person we become through these influences is known as the Adaptive Self.
As humans, we are hardwired to fit in and be accepted by others. But how we do learn what our “true” or “authentic” selves are behind this programming?
What is an Authentic Self?
Who you are at your deepest core
Acting in a way that aligns with your values
Being intentional and genuine about your thoughts and words
Using self-awareness, self-acceptance, and self-love
10 ways to connect to your Authentic Self:
1. Observe yourself with curiosity
Learn to observe your Adaptive Self objectively – how you behave, what you believe, how you respond to different situations. Being curious to which parts feel authentic to you and which feel inauthentic can help you discover any sense of falseness.
2. Review your language
Notice how often you use the word “should” and try removing any associated tasks off your list for a week. Or check in with yourself around why you feel you should do something and if you’re actually choosing to do it because you want to. Is it out of a sense of obligation or choice?
3. Unplug from social media
Take a break from all social media platforms for a week or longer. This will help you be more present in everyday life and give you space to connect with your true self rather than feeling pressure to present a certain way online. Instead, spend time in nature, read a book, or connect with an old friend face-to-face.
4. Reflect on your upbringing
The people you were raised with undoubtedly had an affect on who you are today. We are shaped by our caregivers’ beliefs and values, often from a young age. Think back on moments from your childhood where you felt you had to hide your authenticity and behave an expected way in order to adapt. Reflect on your family's beliefs and whether they feel true to you.
5. Notice where your doubts come from
The process of discovering your authentic self can bring along some doubts. You may believe it’s not possible to become more authentic. If you find yourself doubting a thought, feeling, or emotion think about why – where do those roots of self-doubt come from? Imagine how you would like to feel instead.
6. Be open to self-awareness and self-acceptance
In order to feel more like your true self, you will need to increase your awareness of your inner thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. Remember that awareness is part of growth and learning to understand and accept yourself doesn’t happen overnight. Think of self-awareness as necessary to self-acceptance. As you become more aware of your authenticity you will become more accepting of yourself, which is also an act of being authentic.
7. Face your fears with courage
Embarking on a journey of self-discovery can seem daunting and uncomfortable. As humans, we like things that are familiar – and exploring your inner world can seem unfamiliar. While you are finding yourself, you may naturally be afraid of what you might come up. Especially if you had to hide your true qualities or were made to feel you wouldn’t be accepted for who you truly are. Be courageous and acknowledge that fear is a part of any new learning.
8. Identify your core values
Personal values define the person you would like to be in the world – how you would like to behave and interact with others. If you are not sure about your Authentic Self, chances are you won’t be sure what your values are. Take some time to explore what’s most important to you: is it being compassionate? Being present? Being adventurous? Being assertive? Reflect on whether your actions take you away from or move you towards the person you want to be.
9. Write in a journal
Writing down your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs can help your mind process them and can give you clarity on what feels genuine and what doesn’t. This is also a way to keep track of any patterns that may emerge when you’re trying to be authentic versus when you’re being “adaptive”. Keeping a record can help you practice awareness and affirm why it's important to be your true self.
10. Be conscious about your decisions and actions
Before you make a decision, slow down and consider if it feels authentic or not. Decide how you truly want to spend your time, who you want to engage with, and how you want to respond to someone or something. Be honest with yourself and don’t let others tell you what to do. This may be difficult to do for each decision you make, but try it as often as possible.
How to maintain your authenticity
Once you’ve started practicing being more authentic, check in with yourself regularly in order to maintain your authenticity. Take opportunities for personal growth because growth is continuous. Be mindful of your experiences and work on strengthening your inner guidance – the more aware you become the more you can learn to trust your own intuition. Developing your authenticity may also connect you to a purpose that you can act upon or may make you feel more energized in life.
The most important thing to remember is that authenticity doesn't happen quickly. It takes a lot of time, effort, and upkeep and may even change the relationships around you. Remind yourself why you're striving for authenticity and know that the person who will benefit the most is yourself!