How many people walk through life living outside of themselves? What I mean by this is, we are influenced at a young age and molded to be….who?
Most children do not fully develop at the stage of autonomy. Therefore, they spend the better part of their adulthood trying to prove themselves to others or struggling to hold on to who they think they are as they are being pulled to remember who they are at the core.
The authentic self has been suppressed, criticized, torn apart, damaged, abandoned and disrespected.
Any of this feel familiar?
This is why we may develop the imposter syndrome, or create walls and masks. Sometimes we say or do something that seems unfamiliar and we wonder why we said and did THAT.
To be authentic is one of the hardest ways for a person to honor their truths. Would you agree?
You may ask, why is this so?
I’ll tell you why.
Fear – if you check your “foundation” from which you make decisions and choices, you may find that fear is rooted in the cracks. As long as fear is embedded in the direction you take yourself, then your ability to honor who you ARE is reduced. Fear of success, fear of failure, or fear of making someone else mad. Transform your fear into assurance, and you will be sure to strengthen your foundation for enhancing the next step of building your confidence.
Lack of Confidence or Low Confidence – we can be successful or appear as if we have it all together, but if low confidence is behind this façade, we are in trouble. Together with fear, it is treacherous territory. Keeping up a positive act does not fool everyone, and it takes a lot of energy to sustain. Ask yourself how strong your confidence is and if it is low, why? Come to peace with whatever has caused it, then take a step forward with assurance and new confidence. Now, you have a strong foundation!
But wait, there’s more!
No Voice – we cannot be authentic if our voice is weak. The challenge a lot of people have is they have been stopped from expressing themselves at an early age or even as adults. This becomes very disempowering and causes a retreat into insecurity and again fear of speaking up. Find your voice in a healthy way through boundary setting and with your newfound assurance and confidence you will be well respected by those you interact with.
Is it easy to be authentically you? Absolutely not, yet emphatically it is.
Stripping away the old to make room for the real you takes courage and practice in sharing this “new you” with others.
The good news is, once you begin to BE YOU, whatever was holding you back no longer has power over you. The freedom experienced is like a natural high, and the more you release, the happier you become and the more authentic you are. The process can be challenging, but the rewards are great!
When I see someone who is stuck or not moving towards reaching their highest potential, it saddens me. We all have something unique and special to offer to the world. Why would you not step fully into your authenticity?
No matter our past, what others think, or what has been said to us, we are the only one who can own our authenticity. Whether you are a leader, an entrepreneur, younger or older, the basis upon which you look at your place in the world is dependent upon how much you are authentic in all your thoughts and actions. Take some time to contemplate what I have shared, and may you always find a reason to learn and grow into the best version of yourself.
We are constantly invited to be who we are.
~Henry David Thoreau
Eileen, please forgive the mis-spelling of your name, sometimes I type too fast.
Lynn, no worries. 🙂
Eillen, I have learned over my 50 + years that being myself and recognizing how to handle my responses and actions, while still being myself has given me much peace in many ways.
Lynn, glad to know! Finding our peace is freedom, and the ability to live life on our terms. Thank you for sharing.
Eileen, I really appreciate the thought and research that went into your article. It is so important to connect with our authentic self. Sharing.
Kat, glad you like my article! Yes, it is very important to connect with our authentic self. I have found through my own experience and in coaching others, the authentic self seems to get lost in our life journey when we interact with others. Sometimes at an early age, other times in traumatic experiences or events, and many times in relationships, both personal and/or business. To be truly and wholly authentic, it takes a lot of self reflection, self development and self awareness, along with letting go of the past that haunts us and the present that burdens us. Not always an easy task, but when forged with courage and tenacity, can be very liberating. Thank you for sharing! Cheers!
Very profound Eileen! Thank you for this resonating article!
Paula, thank you! It is something that has presented itself time and time again with not only my clients, but for my own strengthening of authenticity. Glad is resonated with you! Cheers! ~Eileen
Love this We are constantly invited to be who we are. Yes we are and we grow and shine
~Henry David Thoreau
Suzie, thank you! The key is to grow and shine!!
“Stripping away the old to make room for the real you takes courage and practice…” Like removing layers of old wall paper and paint. But here there is no quick solution we can spread on our personal walls to loosen things up for scraping. In many cases, the “old” is deeply affixed. Getting to the authentic self is often tough work. But oh so rewarding.
Nice instructive piece.
Jeff, yes….no quick solution, as layers can go really deep. Some are not in the conscious and must be drawn out through reaching into the core and discovering what is encrusted over it. Agree, it can take much perspiration and letting go, but rewarding in the end. Thank you for sharing your thoughts! Happy you liked the article. Cheers! Eileen
Eileen – Oh, the many masks we try to hide behind when we are afraid to be our true selves. Your final quote is do important for all of us to remember. Thanks – great article.
Len, yes. There are many masks we try to hide behind, but I have found both personally and through coaching my clients that as we remove them, the freedom we experience is so much more than we could expect. And, the ripple effect that lasts a lifetime is immeasurable. Glad you like the article! Cheers! Eileen
Who we are is those whom we follow, our parents, some teachers or anybody who influenced you or made a difference in your life. In short, we have many parts that go into the making of the authentic us. The hardest person for us to know is us.
Joel, yes! It becomes hard to know our self when we have been influenced our entire lives and have fear of being “me.” The good news is, every day is an opportunity to shed what keeps the authentic self from expressing and showing up in life. Cheers! Eileen
Thank you, Eileen, for responding to my comment.
Joel, you are most welcome!
Eileen, Thank you for sharing these insights on the many challenges we face in becoming authentic. I might add Shame to the list but it is probably a mixture of fear and no confidence. I appreciate this post. Mary
Mary, you are most welcome! Yes, shame can be a part of the struggle to be authentic. In the map of consciousness, shame is actually at the bottom of the list. Fear is a little higher up the scale. They are both below the neutral line, though. No or low confidence is the result of what falls under the neutral line and confidence is the result of what is above the neutral line. The better we feel about ourselves and our experiences through love (of self), joy, peace and understanding, the more confident we become. If you are not familiar with this “map,” it is a great tool to gain insight to where our consciousness is residing and what we need in order to become a better version of ourselves. Glad you appreciate this post. Cheers! Eileen
Eileen, I am not familiar wiht the map. Love to see a copy when you can. Thanks,
Great Post.. I believe it is important for a sense of self to be authentic 100% of the time. Popeye said “I am what I am” and honestly that is the way it should be. I have found in 50 years of sales , sales management and at a senior executive level it always paid off to be totally authentic. People can see thru the B.S. If we are authentic then people will respect us for who we are and if they don’t then we do not need to associate with them. When I coach and consult with business managers and owners I always tell them do not engage me if you do not want to hear the truth. I do not intend to tell you what you want to hear rather I will tell you .
Your quote by Henry David Thoreau is spot on.
Thanks for making us think.
Norman, thank you! That is awesome you have always looked at authenticity to be important. The interesting thing is that when we are authentic others respect us more. People will either join you or they get replaced, as you have said…you do not need to associate with them. Your boundaries are perfect in telling the truth and only engaging if there is equal reciprocity. I am sure many of those you coach and consult with have difficulty saying okay to your request to speak truth, especially if they have not done much personal/professional development. Yes, I love that quote! Happy to cause you to think. Cheers! Eileen
Eileen – another well written article that resonates with many. Having taught children and young adults, it’s clear which ones seem more confident in their reasoning than others. Clearly, much of who we are today — our confidence, drive, and fulfillment — starts early on within the home environment with mom, dad, siblings, & teachers. Well done. Cheers, Robert
Thank you! Yes, it does start early on and I am sure since you have taught children/young adults, you have seen the difference between those nurtured with confidence and their autonomy at a young age vs. those who are not. I see so many people struggling as adults to find their footing in authenticity and it seems to consistently point back to childhood. Incomplete development of a good sense of self can lead to a lifetime of searching for an identity that is already there, just buried so deep it is not seen, felt or heard. I am sure you have been a great mentor and guide for your students! Cheers! Eileen
Sage advice and wisdom. Thank you for sharing
You are most welcome! Cheers! ~ Eileen
Beautiful post Eileen, thank you for sharing.
Having been on an awakening journey myself, every word that you have written resonates. Fear, masks, low confidence and lack of voice are all learned behaviours that mold early in education and even at home.
It is so refreshing to read articles like yours that simply point us in the direction of we are enough, thank you so much for this.
Gary, you are most welcome! I am so happy this article spoke to you and hope it inspires you to be true to yourself. Know that you matter and at any stage of life, especially during an awakening journey we can infinitely move towards our highest potential. Wishing you the best! Cheers! ~Eileen