Dr. Bob Wright | September 28, 2016

How To Find
Your Authentic Self

 

How can we truly BE our real, true, authentic selves, each and every day? Let’s start with a question: What is authenticity?


This post was originally published 5/23/14. Because of this article’s popularity, we’ve provided more thorough, updated content about finding your authentic self. Last updated: 9/28/16. Read on!

 

Is it the dictionary definition of authenticity? (Genuineness; undisputed credibility; one who is worthy of belief; real, honest, sincere)

Or is it existential philosophy’s take on authenticity? (Developing a true sense of self, not merely conforming to social norms and accepted practices; being true to one’s values, spirit, personality and character, despite external pressures) This existential view of authenticity suggests we look inward—that it’s more important to be faithful to ourselves internally than conform to external ideas and norms.

Being authentic doesn’t mean simply being an individual or being “unique” for the sake of being unique. True authenticity involves rising above societal norms, trends and pressures. Authenticity isn’t just about taking the easy route or “going with the flow.”

True authenticity means being honest and forthright about who you really are.

As you journey through the process of self-exploration, growth and discovery, you might find you can’t distil down or define your authentic self. Finding your authentic self is often an evolutionary process; it’s not static or measurable—because humans are not static beings! Authenticity isn’t something you can pin down or put in a box.

To really explore your own authenticity and find your authentic self, you have to address this question: “Am I true to who I am each and every day?”

If you’re not sure, you have to journey into the heart of what drives you. What motivates you? What do you yearn for? Define your values and the essence of what’s truly important to you. It may be one thing or a number of things. It may change and shift over time as your relationships and focus in life changes.

Through it all, authenticity is your personal truth.

Discovering the Power of Authenticity

Finding your authentic self means different things to different people—and that’s exactly the way it should be. We’re all unique! Authenticity means something different to each person, based on an infinite amount of aspects of our lives, whether we’re married or single, young or old, Muslim or Atheist, American or Jamaican, etc. Our environment, our influences, and our social structures all become part of us and shape who we are. How we’re raised plays a significant role in our values, traditions, and beliefs. We cannot interpret our authentic self without examining the crucible that shapes us.

That’s the beauty of authenticity. At its very definition, it allows YOU to interpret and become your own authentic self. You define who you are. You have the control and the ability to harness, define and structure who YOU want to be.

Author and behavioral scientist Steve Maraboli says of authenticity, “There is nothing more beautiful than seeing a person being themselves. Imagine going through your day being unapologetically you.”


finding your authentic self
Authenticity allows YOU to interpret and become your own authentic self.

Finding the Authenticity Within

Unlocking a sense of self and finding fulfillment and satisfaction comes from within. The answer is right inside us and there’s nothing more exciting than this discovery!

Why is it so hard to find our authentic selves? Because our societal structures don’t encourage us to do so.

Often, our basic intellectual and educational approaches to personal growth and fulfillment are founded on the assumption that it’s a lofty goal we must find and work for. This misconception holds us back because we’re daunted by the journey, the level of education, and the hard work we have to put in. Fulfillment and satisfaction in life isn’t a matter of acquiring remote skills, but rather, it’s a function of developing our natural capacities!

The answer is within you. It’s all about exploring, unlocking and finding that authentic self.

This is a huge part of our core approach at Wright, as the theme of authenticity permeates all of our coaching and classes. We provide empowering, challenging, uplifting educational environments. There’s nothing more empowering than knowing who you are, defining your personal authenticity, then learning how to embrace it, apply it and LIVE IT.

Our curriculum helps people from all backgrounds live a life story worth telling—the story of a life true to oneself.

People often become burned out in education, professional development, and intellectual pursuits because our educational systems operate on the assumption that it’s simply about acquiring and mastering external skills.

It’s NOT.

True education is holistic—taking in the whole mind, body, and spirit, and differentiated—taking into account the way students learn and the difference in approaches. Standard educational models are overly focused on memorization and getting good grades. It’s the “norm,” the standard approach. But this kind of learning doesn’t really ensure pupils “get it.” Are we really learning anything? Are we learning anything about ourselves?

Authenticity in education and growth looks at the question: “HOW will this benefit us?” Authentic learning looks at the individual and their full journey. Growing, learning and living in accordance with one’s authentic self results in feelings of enjoyment, intense meaning, and direction in life.

An authentic person is always evolving and moving forward. They understand the changing nature of our environment, social circumstances, intellect and more. We aren’t static beings that can simply be defined and put away. Becoming is the normal, healthy psychological growth of human existence. We’re striving, reaching and learning.

We each have a choice—to discover and move toward our authentic lives and to evolve—or to become victims of our own circumstance. We can give the control to our environment and allow things to happen TO us, or we can make things happen FOR us. We can choose and define our values and live in accordance with them, or we can follow the values that others chose for us.

What one do you choose—do you choose to live an authentic life?

For more on finding your authentic self and discovering your own authenticity, read more at Wright Living. You can also join us for our quarterly weekend of transformation event—learn how you make your own rules in life and be your best self!

 

Learn more about Wright Living’s Life Coaching in Chicago, Self Development Courses, and Relationship Courses.


About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


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Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

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