Living in a world constantly telling you who you should be can make it difficult to stay true to who you already know yourself to be. In this article we discuss what makes authentic people "authentic" and some steps you can take to be more comfortable in your own skin.
With high expectations laid upon us from advertising and social media it can be hard to feel comfortable being your authentic self if it does not fit “the mold”. However, it is important for our mental health and well-being to stay true to what makes us individuals. In the long run people will respect you more and besides, it is sometimes fun to not always run with the crowd.
If you are ready to take the plunge and let the world see you as you are, we have a few steps to consider to put your best foot forward.
Before you can start being your authentic self toward everyone else, you have to know what that means to you. Figuring yourself out is tricky, takes time and will always evolve as you get older and have more experiences. To help you figure yourself out here are some things to keep in mind:
1. What are your values? Being aware of what you personally value will help you determine your behaviors, habits and personal interests going forward. In order to narrow down what is important to you it may be helpful to right down a list of things you value and even go as far as prioritizing which are the most important to the least important. Checking in with your list from time to time can help you re-evaluate as you grow and keep you on track.
2. Determine your interests. These can include interpersonal skills, professional skills and hobbies. The ultimate goal of determining your interests is to recognize your strengths which then helps lead you to understanding better what makes you, you.
3. Be kind to yourself. No one is immune from making mistakes so it is important to give yourself a break when those instances occur. Make sure you learn what you need to from the event and move forward. Ultimately, it is in the past and unchangeable, so why beat yourself up over it?
4. Set goals to work toward. You end up having more personal integrity when you have S.M.A.R.T goals to work on. Just make sure they are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. These goals can be centered around your personal, work, or any other aspect of your life that you would like to see steady improvement in. The most important thing is that you keep your goals realistic and attainable.
When you have a solid sense of yourself it then becomes easier to act with integrity with the people you see and socialize with every day. So what exactly does this integrity look like? Let us break it down for you.
A person who acts with integrity in all social settings always speaks honestly and says what they mean. While it can be tempting to just go with the crowd, a person with a strong sense of self isn’t afraid to have a differing opinion from the people around them and can relay it respectfully. They let their honest thoughts and feelings be known which helps those around them know where they stand at all times.
High character people see no need to put the people around them down in order to elevate their own status. They are confident that their abilities and skills are good enough and are not threatened by other high achievers.
People with integrity surround themselves with like-minded people. The saying “you are the company you keep” holds true. If your friends have high standards you are more likely to have high standards too. If they have low standards, well, you know. The other benefit of surrounding yourself with high character people is that they are most likely going to be ok calling you out if you step out of line, but also won’t be offended when you do the same for them.
Even with good habits and a strong sense of self there are times it can be hard to not get down on yourself. The important thing is to not pay attention to nay-sayers, stay focused on what you do well and learn to embrace the parts of you that need work. When you are able to recognize that everyone is constantly going through the same discovery process of themselves, the happier and more genuine you will end up being.