What does it mean to be “authentic”? The dictionary definition of authenticity is “representing one’s true nature or beliefs; true to oneself or to the person identified.” But while this short, simple phrase may sum up the notion accurately, actually being authentic can be surprisingly complex.
Letting go of negativity and judgment helps, but also creating and serving others allows you to go outside of yourself. Apply the following practices to release fear, anxiety and guilt, and to introduce positivity, optimism and inspiration:
Tune Into Your Intuitive Abilities
Discussing your feelings with others, asking for advice, and being open to constructive criticism are all very important. However, don’t be afraid to trust your own opinions and intuitions, either. Social upbringing, culture, and a whole lot of other factors causes people to feel doubt and to question everything. Authentic turn to others for guidance -- but they don’t allow themselves to be lead around by the thoughts or desires of others without taking their own aspirations and desires into account.
Darlene Lancer of PsychCentral once wrote, “We can’t control other people’s reaction, so we also must know that we can nurture and sustain ourselves”. Nurturing oneself sounds great doesn’t it? Yes, it’s “easier said than done”; but it just takes discipline and practice, until little by little you develop a strength and confidence in yourself. Try meditating and reflecting inward and ask your authentic self the same questions you’ve asked others; and answer back genuinely and truthfully, and free of judgment; then listen to your intuition and take action.
Find Friends Who Foster Happiness and Success
Think about that old saying, “You are are who you hangout with”. Surround yourself with people who foster bad habits and cynical attitudes and you’ll start to act, think and sound like them. On the flipside, involve yourself with successful and authentic leaders, and you’ll gradually begin to feel motivated, inspired, and yes, authentic. Jessica Stillman of Inc.com wrote that even if “you have an 'I am less than them' feeling,” when interacting with successful figures, “If they are a genuine leaders, they will help you”. Stillman also advises to find friends and colleagues that make you “feel comfortable in your own skin." Think about taking those next steps in walking away from toxic relationships, and into life-changing ones.
Discover Authenticity through Helping Others
In the article, Volunteering--7 Big Reasons Why Serving Others Serves Us, Kathy Gottberg, explains that “a part of our brain lights up when we help others; that part of our brain then doles out feel-good chemicals like dopamine, and possibly serotonin”. You’ve heard about the “runner’s-high,” will this achieves similar feelings and is known as the “helper’s high”. By serving others in need, people typically feel more fulfilled, meaningful, peaceful and closer to their authentic self. By serving the community (whether that’s leading an AA group, writing a self-help book, or working at a soup-kitchen), you’ll experience a deeper connection to others which creates both outward and inward love.
Do I Need Professional Help To Feel Authentic?
Quite simply, you can achieve authenticity and fulfillment all by yourself. However, when you feel down and gloomy or anxious day in and day out, you may want to consider getting psychiatric and/or therapeutic help -- even if it’s just for someone to listen with undivided attention!
Oakville Wellness Center, has several certified therapists with various special focuses and styles. If you do not feel authentic after trying to love yourself and others, then consider contacting one of the therapists at Oakville Wellness Center. Struggling should not happen alone, if you feel isolated or misunderstood, seek out help today. With the right therapy (and sometimes medication) and self-help practices, you’ll feel significantly more at ease and closer to your authentic self.