How To Find and Be Your Authentic Self

Wondering how to discover and be your authentic self? What does it mean to be authentic and true to yourself?


Be Your Authentic Self


Wondering how to be your authentic self? For most of us, it seems like either a tall order or a confusing question. Aren’t we already who we are? Are there certain situations where you shouldn’t be your authentic self? And what does it really mean? How can we truly BE our real, genuine, authentic selves each and every day?

Let’s start with a straightforward question: What is authenticity? How can you be your authentic self?

How to Be Authentic

So how do we define authenticity? Is it the dictionary definition of genuineness; undisputed credibility; one who is worthy of belief; real, honest, sincere?

Or do we define authenticity as existential philosophers did? Is authenticity when we develop a true sense of self rather than conforming to social norms and accepted practices? Does it mean being true to our values, spirit, personality, and character even in the face of external pressures? This existential view suggests that authenticity is something we should seek inwardly. It’s more important to be faithful to ourselves internally than confirming to external ideas or norms.


Being authentic doesn’t mean being a unique individual for the sake of being unique. Instead, true authenticity involves rising above societal norms, trends, and pressures.


Authenticity isn’t taking the easy route or going with the flow—it’s holding fast to our true selves. True authenticity requires us to be honest and forthright about who we really are, both to ourselves and others.

As we journey through the process of self-exploration, growth, and discovery, we can often discover that it’s hard to define our authentic selves. Finding our authentic self is an evolutionary process; it’s not static. It’s not something we do once and move on. We aren’t static beings! We can’t pin down authenticity or put it in a box.


To really explore our authenticity and find our authentic selves, we must address the question, “Am I true to who I am every single day?”


If we aren’t sure about the answer, it’s time to explore the heart of what drives us. What motivates us and spurs us to action? What do we yearn for? It’s important to understand that yearning goes deeper than simply desiring or wanting something. Yearning for something is a longing of the heart—something we need to feel whole. For example, we might yearn for respect or love. We may yearn to be seen for who we really are, to be understood, to be secure. These yearnings drive us forward and move us toward almost everything we do.

We must also define our values and the essence of what’s truly important to us. We may identify one specific value or several things that we hold dear. These may change and shift over time as our relationships, careers, circumstances, and focus change.

Through all of our different experiences, authenticity is our personal truth.

Discovering the Power of Authenticity

So why do we care about authenticity? Why is it important? In short, because authenticity gives us power and guidance. When we’re true to ourselves, we have a guiding star that helps us through all experiences.

Finding our authentic self may mean different things to different people. We’re all unique, with different influences, experiences, and needs. Authenticity may mean something different to each of us based on endless aspects of our lives—whether we’re married or single, young or old, Muslim or Atheist, American or Jamaican, and the list goes on. Our environment, influences, and social structures are part of us and shape us.

Our upbringing and the way we were raised also play a significant role in our values, traditions, and beliefs about ourselves and the world around us. We can’t examine and interpret our authentic selves without examining our inner makeup and experiences that have shaped us.

The beauty of authenticity is that by its very definition, it allows us to interpret and become our own authentic selves. We define who we are, and we have the control and ability to harness, define, and structure precisely who we want to be. As author and behavioral scientist Steve Maraboli says, “There is nothing more beautiful than seeing a person being themselves. Imagine going through your day being unapologetically you.”

Finding the Authenticity Within

So how do we find that sense of authenticity that’s within us?

The answer is right inside of us, and there’s nothing more exciting than making this discovery! But that’s not to say that it’s a challenge. Finding fulfillment and satisfaction—a sense of purpose—is a lifelong undertaking that requires work. It can be uncomfortable at times and even difficult, but the payoff and reward are worth the effort.

Why is it so hard to find our authentic selves? Because our societal structures don’t support and encourage us to make these discoveries. Most approaches to personal growth and fulfillment focus on the intellectual and educational aspects of “discovery.” These structures are based on the assumption that self-discovery and authenticity are a one-time, lofty goal and something that we have to find. This misconception holds us back because we’re daunted by the journey, level of education, and work. But fulfillment and satisfaction come along with us on the journey—the discovery is along the way. It’s not a matter of acquiring remote skills or hitting an achievement. These discoveries come as a function of developing our natural capacities.


The answers to how to be authentic are right inside each of us. As we explore ourselves and get to know ourselves better, we’ll start to see glimpses and signs of who we really are. We’ll make discoveries that ring true to us and help us gain that sense of personal connection, insight, and satisfaction.


The idea that self-discovery is a journey is part of our core approach at the Wright Foundation. The theme of authenticity permeates our coaching and classes. We offer empowering, challenging, and uplifting educational environments that encourage engagement and growth. We know that there’s nothing more empowering and exciting than discovering who we truly are, defining our personal authenticity, and learning how to embrace it, apply it, and LIVE it.

Our curriculum helps people from all backgrounds and experiences live a life story that’s worth sharing. We want to help everyone live a life that’s true to their selves—a life of authenticity.

People often become burned out and discouraged in education, professional development, and similar intellectual pursuits. Most educational systems operate on the assumption that we should acquire and master external skills. So we check them off the list and move on.

True education is the opposite of that. True education is holistic. It takes in the entire mind, body, and spirit. It’s also differentiated—taking into account the different ways people learn and the differences in approaches to new experiences a discovery. Standard education models are about training, memorization, getting good grades, and working toward external markers of success. But this kind of learning doesn’t really ensure that people “get it.” So how do we know we’re really learning anything, especially profound inner discoveries about our true selves?

Authenticity in education and growth looks at the question of, “How will this benefit us?” Authentic learning looks at the individual and their entire journey. Growing, learning, and living in accordance with one’s authentic self, bring feelings of enjoyment, intense meaning, and a strong sense of direction in life. An authentic person is constantly evolving and moving forward. They are working with their environment’s changing nature and impermanence, social circumstances, intellect, and more. Rather than operating under the idea that we’re static beings that are defined and put away, authentic education helps us become.


Becoming is the healthy psychological growth of human existence. When we’re becoming, we’re striving, reaching, and learning.


In life, we each have a choice. We can decide we want to discover and move toward our authentic, best lives and that we’re willing to evolve and grow. Or we can become victims of our own circumstances. We can give up control to our environment, allowing things to happen to us, or we can take action and make things happen for us. We can choose and define our values and our authentic selves, living in accordance with who we want to be, or we can follow values that others choose for us.

So which one do you choose? Do you choose to be your authentic self? To live an authentic life?

For more on discovering your true self, explore our courses at Wright Now. We have many different resources to help you learn more about yourself, your career, and your relationships. If you want to live a life of MORE, make a choice to start today!

 


About the Author

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.

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.


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.