How To Always Be Authentic And Stay True To Yourself
When was the last time you spoke out in defense of one of your most cherished beliefs?
What did you feel when the words came out?
Relief? Pride? Confusion?
Maybe you found, after saying the words as you’d rehearsed them in your head, that they didn’t really sound like you.
You held onto the part that was true and stifled your doubts about the rest.
You want to be true to yourself, but what does that actually mean?
And what will it cost?
Why is it important to stay true to yourself?
The best be true to yourself meaning takes into account the value of self-knowledge. If you don’t know the person you are at your core, how can you be true to that person?
And if you’re not true to yourself, you risk the following:
- Unhappy and/or unhealthy relationships
- Declining health and well-being
- Rapid aging
- Self-destructive behavior (what do you have to lose?)
This is not the life you want for yourself or for anyone you care about.
So, what can you do?
11 Ways to Always Be True to Yourself
Taking the following steps can help you grow in self-knowledge, be authentic, and stay true to yourself.
And the more you make these a part of your life, the more you’ll inspire others to do the same.
1. Take responsibility for your own happiness.
Be true to yourself and don’t rely on someone else for your happiness.
It may seem as though you need the love of someone special for you to feel happy.
You need their reassurance that they’ll always be there and they’ll never hurt you (at least not intentionally).
They light you up inside. They challenge you to be better. They believe in you.
And you do your best to return the favor. But the emotional high doesn’t last.
And repeated doses yield diminishing returns. You still want them near, but you start to realize their company isn’t enough to make you truly happy.
Real happiness of soul can’t take root and thrive in something outside yourself.
2. Be honest with yourself.
Ask yourself what you really want and what kind of person you really want to be.
If the life you have right now is a far cry from the life you deeply want, take a hard look at why.
What have you given up or suppressed because you felt you had to?
Have you sacrificed your own dreams to meet someone else’s expectations?
If those expectations are worth meeting, is there a way to meet them while honoring your true self and meeting your own legitimate needs?
And if they’re not worth meeting, what can you do to free yourself from them?
3. Let your heart speak (not just your head).
Self-knowledge will help you understand where you want to go and what you need to do to get there.
Your head is critically important to this process, but so is your heart. Through your heart, you connect with your soul.
And as long as you remain disconnected from your soul, you’ll never connect with your deeper self and be true to yourself.
You might think you’re doing what you have to in order to meet the expectations that generate your income. You’re making a living and supporting those you care about.
But if you can’t listen to your own heart, you can’t hear theirs, either.
4. Remove negative influences.
Distance yourself from those who refuse to see your value — who only see what they can criticize or condemn.
Sometimes, these relationships can improve through communication and a mutual desire for self-improvement. Other times, not so much.
Don’t blame yourself if you’ve done your part and they refuse to either forgive you or regard you with anything but contempt.
They may yet decide to forgive and see the good in you.
Until then, do what you need to do to shield your mind and heart from their negative attacks.
Compassion doesn’t require you to be anyone’s doormat or emotional sponge.
5. Spend time alone with yourself (stop avoiding yourself).
Stop avoiding yourself and make time and space for introspection.
You need this in order to listen to your heart and make sense of what you’re feeling.
Talk to yourself. Or write yourself a letter. Allow yourself to put what you’re feeling into words.
Only then can you begin to sort out what you’re going through and why.
Whatever others can do to help you with this, you are uniquely equipped to identify your own personal values and apply them to your words and actions.
But without alone time, the inner voice that helps with this is just background noise.
6. Stop trying to be what others expect you to be.
You don’t have to be what other people consider “likable” if that definition doesn’t fit the person you want to be. You’re under no obligation to be anyone’s mini-me.
Your value doesn’t depend on someone else describing you as “hard-working” or “fun to be around.”
Work as hard as you need to, regardless of what other people think.
And make room for the things you enjoy.
Respect your need for self-care and for privacy. No one has a right to know everything about you.
You’re responsible for the choices you make. So create your own expectations and take action to meet them. You don’t need anyone else’s approval.
7. Choose authenticity over popularity.
You’ll meet plenty of people who have their own ideas of what it means to be “cool.” And most of those ideas aren’t worth the breath it costs to put them into words.
You instinctively know that if you do something harmful to gain other people’s approval, you’ll feel less like yourself.
You’ll have something in common with war criminals who defend their actions by saying they were “just following orders.”
Deep down you know that you owe it to yourself and to the people you love to be authentic and true to your highest self.
And that self doesn’t need to be “cool” by anyone else’s standards.
8. Learn how and when to say “No.”
If a “yes” to someone else means a “no” to yourself or to a previous commitment, take a hard look at where that will lead you.
What will a “yes” involve and require of you? What will a “no” make room for? Or what will it cost?
Sometimes, it will seem at first glance that saying “no” will cost you more than saying “yes.”
And sometimes, the right answer is somewhere between a yes or a no — like a “Not now” or a “Let me check and get back to you.”
If the best answer isn’t what the other person wants to hear, you don’t have to disregard what you know to be true in order to please them.
9. Connect with your inner voice.
Make time for daily meditation to connect with your inner voice and become more aware of what you’re feeling.
Take dictation by writing down the insights that come and take time to reflect on them.
Your inner voice is that of your higher self — the part of you that seeks your highest good.
And that good won’t conflict with the highest good of others. No one knows karma better than your inner voice.
It remains connected to the larger story of your entire existence, as well as every role you play.
The more you connect with it, the more you can know and be your true self.
10. Forgive yourself and others.
If you can’t forgive yourself for your mistakes, you’ll find it more difficult to forgive others. And any lack of forgiveness makes it impossible to grow into the person you want to be.
Any grudge you hold is cement around your ankles. It keeps you stuck in the past while others keep stepping forward.
Forgiveness is the strongest magic there is. Without it, being your true self remains locked away.
And only you can give yourself this gift. You’re the only one who can choose to forgive those who’ve hurt you or to stop punishing yourself for the mistakes you’ve made.
11. Step outside your comfort zone.
Your life doesn’t have to look like that of your parents or conform to anyone’s idea of what you should do with your life — even if they know and appreciate your strengths.
You’re the one who has to live your life and you’re the one responsible for your own choices. But you can’t explore your highest potential without taking risks.
And one of those risks might be angering those who expected you to choose differently.
Other risks might involve losing what you’ve built up to that point or disrupting a relationship you’ve come to depend on, whether or not it’s good for you.
Knowing and honoring your true self is worth the risk. And uncertainty is not your enemy.
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Can you be true to yourself?
Now that you know how to be true to yourself, what will you do differently in the days ahead?
You know how great it feels to stand up for yourself. Other people and their opinions lose power over you. You stand proud even if you stand alone.
And you’re not proud of the person you think you have to be for others. You’re proud of your true and authentic self.
You’re proud of what you’ve done as your true self and of what you can do.
Being authentic frees you from the chains of other people’s perceptions of you.
You don’t owe a thing to other people’s opinions. They no longer matter.
May you stay true to yourself with everything you say and do today.