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When did I Lose my Authenticity?

Authenticity is a big buzz word right now. There are so many articles, podcasts, workbooks and workshops on getting your authenticity back. But if you don’t know where you lost it – how do you find your way back? This is the struggle with authenticity, often times we go on a journey to find it, feeling more lost than ever. Asking ourselves: did I ever really know who I am?

It’s such a loaded term, and an idea that we are always supposed to know who we are. In reality, our authenticity grows and changes with us over time. It isn’t a stagnant thing – I found myself! I am good for life. But knowing the roots of what suppressed your authentic self can help you ensure that as your authenticity changes, you know it is growth, not suppression.

Authenticity and Conflict

One fear of authenticity is the conflict we feel it might make. People not liking who we are, battling our opinions and feelings around things. And really, this might be true that others won’t like it. But what isn’t true is that it creates conflict. Dr. Gabor Mate speaks to this perfectly in a podcast episode I will be linking below. He discusses that when we are comfortable with ourselves, we don’t need anyone else to be different.

So the more self-acceptance we have, the more accepting we are of others. We don’t engage in the conflict when it is presented. We can actually be more calm, grounded, and responsive to the conflict instead of avoidant or aggressive around it. As we embrace life in this way – we start to expand our circle, and connect with people we never would have anticipated, because we are open and curious. Authenticity, embracing who we are, actually can lead us to peace and ease.

Our Past Feeding Our Present

Spending some time to reflect on what might have suppressed your authenticity growing up, can help you in seeing ways you might try to embrace it now. Let’s take being a sensitive child (which there is an argument that all children are sensitive, but some more than others):

Did you often hear things like:

  • Oh, stop being so sensitive it isn’t a big deal
  • Wow you are really emotional
  • You are so dramatic
  • Isn’t is so much nicer when you are calmed down?
  • When you are older you will see this isn’t a big deal

These statements teach us to start to suppress our natural response to empathy and emotional expression. So we move away from our authentic self and into either being more guarded and shut down or anxiously attempting to please everyone around us.

Reflecting on some of your own roots can support you in starting to see some opportunities in which you want to express your authenticity more. Oftentimes, processing past roots are what lead us to living more authentically. Different types of therapy like Brainspotting, Psychedelic Assisted Therapy and Hypnotherapy are ways that you can start breaking free from suppression.

If you want to listen to more of Dr Gabor Mate on authenticity

If you want to connect with a therapist to start working through your roots and embracing your authenticity

Patrice Flanagan-Morris, LCSW
Empowerment Within LLC
Individual Psychotherapist & Community Educator

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