Being authentic seems like it should be easy. We aren’t taught how to be ourselves. We are taught how to be what other people need. So we adapt and become like chameleons. We hide pieces of ourselves, we lose sight of who we are and slowly we feel lost, alone, isolated. Finding our way back to our authentic self is an individual process but below are 6 different ways to start making your way back to authenticity.
Self-compassion helps us start to hold, understand and care for the parts of us that we keep hidden. We start to understand their value and worth to us. What they are trying to do in order to support us and we can change the ways that they protect us. When we start building this self-compassion we start moving towards self-acceptance and seeing the awesomeness that we can bring the world. The more accepting we are, the more ourselves we can become.
Some links for self-compassion exercises:
– Tara Brach RAIN
– Kristen Neff Self-Compassion Break
– More info on Self-Compassion
Checking in & Being Authentic
A lack of self-connection holds us back from authenticity. When we start checking in on a daily basis and creating intentions for each day we start to act more closely to our values. We feel the pull to be who we should be because it feels easier. We understand who we really are, even when it is hard to act on. A few questions to start asking yourself in your daily check-in:
– How is my body feeling today? The emotions I am experiencing are:
– What are my highs and lows of the day?
– What are some ways that I followed my values, and anyways I strayed away from my values?
– If I strayed away – what discomfort came up to cause that for me?
– If there was one thing I would do differently tomorrow to be more intentional, what would it be?
Meditate with Hard Feelings
We avoid hard feelings, we want to find any way to find something else to do. I get it, we weren’t taught to deal with hard feelings and often we were told hard feelings are wrong to feel. Learn to be with your hard feelings. They have a story to tell. The story might not be accurate to the here and now but it is important you know it. The more your hard feelings aren’t scary to you, the less you act on them. When we don’t sit with and understand our hard feelings, we act on them inevitably. Start getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. A blog on sitting with your hard feelings.
Healing Past Wounds
This is a HUGE one. Healing our wounds allows us to break through our layers of conditioning to really embrace who we are. Our unmet needs cause us to sacrifice our values. In order to live more values-based, we have to know what those needs are and work towards getting them met. Only then can we start to act more in the here and now. There are so many ways to engage in healing, no one way is right. We have 4 therapists here at Empowerment Within that each have their own way of doing it. Click to learn more about each of us or to reach out for a free consultation.
Journaling & Self-Reflection
Journaling and self-reflection go hand in hand with sitting with hard feelings. How do you get to uncover and know who you really are? By sitting with yourself, listening to yourself and giving yourself support. Often I encourage people to journal in moments of stress and lightheartedness. Then when you are in a calm and grounded place – go back to the journal entry and see how you can couch yourself through it. How can you find more space to feel the lightness and how can you coach yourself through the challenges. We have to be regulated and calm when we return to journal entries. Only then are we able to be our own coach. We learn to support ourselves the way we so often support others.
For the basics of where to get started click here.
Letting go of Self-Judgment
This might be the hardest one. In order to embrace being authentic, we have to let go of judging. Our judgments get in the way of everything. They cause a lot more suffering than needed and they instill fear. Fear of: what others might say, think or do, rejection, loneliness. All of these fears tell us one thing: don’t be yourself, people might hate it. Learning to let go of self-judgment and embracing who we are, actually brings us some rejection AND it brings us closer to people who can truly love, embrace and encourage us, exactly as we are.
Letting good self-judgment is hard, I’ve written a few other blogs on supporting and working through your inner critic. We also love to hear from you what would be helpful in the future. If you have any ideas for blog or vlog posts, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Patrice Flanagan-Morris, LCSW
Empowerment WIthin LLC
Brainspotting Consultant & Psychotherapist
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