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By Keeley Seymour, LCSW, CEDS
4 min read
“To be authentic, we must cultivate the courage to be imperfect—and vulnerable. We have to believe that we are fundamentally worthy of love and acceptance, just as we are. I’ve learned that there is no better way to invite more grace, gratitude and joy into our lives than by mindfully practicing authenticity.” -Brene Brown
In a world filled with constant external expectations and societal pressures, staying true to oneself is a radical act of self-love and empowerment. It’s a journey that requires self-awareness, courage, and a commitment to authenticity. The truth is, no one knows you better than you know yourself, and honoring your core values and beliefs is paramount to living a fulfilling and purposeful life.
One of the first steps on the path to authenticity is making decisions that align with your core self. This means tuning into your inner compass and listening to the whispers of your authentic voice, even when it might seem easier to conform to external pressures. It’s about prioritizing your values and principles over societal expectations or the opinions of others.
Exercise: Values play a role in shaping your goals, priorities, and even your identity. They are influenced by personal beliefs, as well as by your family, friends, and society. Acting in accordance with your values can help you achieve a more peaceful, satisfied life. Write down a few values that you have. How and when were your top values formed? What person or people most influenced your values? How are your values similar to and different from those of others? How do your values play a role in your everyday life?
When faced with decisions, consider what feels true to your core self. What aligns with your values, passions, and aspirations? By making choices that resonate with your authentic self, you cultivate a sense of inner peace and fulfillment that transcends external validation.
Setting boundaries is another crucial aspect of staying true to yourself. Boundaries serve as a protective shield around your authenticity, preventing external influences from diluting your core self. Establishing clear boundaries involves recognizing and communicating your needs, limits, and values to others. It’s about creating a space where your authenticity can thrive without being compromised.
However, setting boundaries may come with challenges, especially when others don’t understand or agree with your decisions. It’s essential to remember that you cannot control how others perceive or react to your choices. The opinions and emotions of others are beyond your control, and attempting to please everyone is an exhausting and futile endeavor. Oftentimes when we focus heavily on pleasing others, we lose our sense of self.
It’s okay if not everyone agrees with your decisions or understands your perspective. The key is to prioritize your well-being and authenticity over external validation. By staying true to yourself, you become a beacon of inspiration for others to do the same. Authenticity is magnetic and has the power to inspire positive change in both yourself and those around you.
Exercise: In some relationships, healthy boundaries seem to form naturally and easily. In other relationships, however, setting healthy boundaries is difficult. What challenges have you faced when trying to set healthy boundaries, and how did you overcome them (or, how could you overcome them)?
When faced with criticism or disapproval, take a moment to reflect on the source. Is the criticism constructive, or is it rooted in someone else’s discomfort with your authenticity? Learning to differentiate between valuable feedback and unfounded opinions is crucial. Constructive criticism can be an opportunity for growth. Unfounded negativity from others should be explored in terms of what is happening for them to be so critical, not an indication that you need to shift your boundaries or thoughts.
Moreover, staying true to yourself often involves embracing vulnerability. It means being open and honest about your thoughts, feelings, and experiences, even if they don’t align with societal norms. Vulnerability fosters genuine connections and allows you to surround yourself with people who appreciate you for who you truly are.
Staying true to yourself is a transformative journey that requires self-reflection, courage, and resilience. Making decisions and setting boundaries that align with your core self is a powerful act of self-love. Remember that you cannot control how others perceive or react to your authenticity, and that’s perfectly okay. The more you embrace your true self, the more you inspire others to do the same, creating a ripple effect of authenticity and empowerment in the world. So, stand tall, be authentic, and let your true self shine.
Evolve Counseling Services is a specialized team of Licensed Therapists providing treatment in Paoli, Pennsylvania.