Have there been times in your life when you felt you weren’t acting like your true self? Maybe you were unsure of a situation or were lacking the confidence to reveal who you truly are. Perhaps you felt bullied or pushed into doing something that was out of alignment with who you are. Whatever your reason, you chose to hide part or all of your real self. You were not authentic.
Personal concealment places us into an emotionally unhealthy cycle. First, we feel unsure of ourselves and this causes us to act even less authentic in the future. We may even begin to wonder, “Who am I?” The longer this cycle lasts, the harder it may become to re-align with your true self.
When you become more authentic, you can experience a better life. Research has shown that people who feel more authentic, tend to be happier, experience more positive emotions and have higher self-esteem. There is also evidence that being authentic can lead to less stress, anxiety, and depression.
Rather than spending time hiding from the world, you’ll flourish by revealing your true self to others. Becoming more authentic in your interactions is definitely possible. Here are seven steps you can take to increase your personal authenticity.
1. Closely monitor your feelings.
When you know and understand your own emotions, you’ll be less likely to behave in ways that contrast with your feelings.
- Mindfulness will help you tremendously in your quest to be more authentic.
- Stay in the moment and consider what is going on in your world in the present.
2. Give yourself time.
If something happens and you’re unsure of how to react or respond, it’s okay to not react at all. Allow yourself some moments to consider the situation.
- If you feel pressure to respond, saying something like, “I’m not sure how to respond to that.” This can be your best course of action until you feel more confident about your reaction.
3. Catch yourself being inauthentic.
When you realize you’ve been less than honest in a given situation, it’s okay to say, “Wait a minute. I changed my mind,” or “Maybe I’m not as sure about this as I thought.”
- Remind yourself that you have permission to alter your response to anyone and anything at any time. Then, choose a route that’s more in line with how you honestly feel.
4. Notice what situations prompt you to be disingenuous.
Being insincere or untruthful each time you’re around your in-laws or your supervisor, for example, will reveal where your insecurities lie.
- Do some self-reflection to determine why you’re behaving this way around that person or in that particular situation.
- Find a way to be more authentic in these situations. It may take some work to build your confidence or find an appropriate way to communicate your truth.
5. Become more authentic with others to increase your level of confidence.
The ability to be open and honest shows that you like and accept yourself and you’re self-assured. Avoid being afraid or too timid to show others who you really are. Self-confidence earns you more respect than acquiescing to other’s desires.
6. Realize that others truly appreciate you when you’re authentic in behavior and comments.
Think about how you feel when you’re with someone who’s consistently open with you. It feels comfortable and easy to be with someone you know you can trust. There’s no tension or guesswork involved. If you keep this in mind, you may find it a little easier to be authentic.
7. Show care and gentleness toward others.
You might be thinking, “What’s the connection between being caring and being authentic?” If you go out of your way to be polite and kind to others, it will be a natural response to be authentic with them.
- Once you realize that what you say or do can have a positive or negative effect on their feelings, you’ll know it’s necessary to be gentle and honest with others.
When you expend a little bit of effort on relating to others truthfully and carefully, you’ll gradually find that you like yourself more. When you offer authenticity to others, it sets a wonderful example for those around you. The more authentic you are, the richer the life you’ll live.