We may struggle to be authentic due to lack of self-esteem, fear of judgment by others, and a strong desire for others to like us. Past experiences, perhaps from childhood, that led to being shut down when we spoke our truth, can mistakenly teach us that it isn’t safe to be genuine. Learning, as an adult, that our truth matters and that we matter becomes essential to developing an authentic self.
When we are not authentic, we may suffer from depression, low self-worth, and lack of intimacy in our relationships. Others won’t be able to get to know who you really are if you are censoring and showing up as anyone other than you, with all your unique thoughts, beliefs, and emotional desires.
Here are 11 Signs you aren’t being fully authentic:
1. You question what you say to others.
This may look like self-doubt, second-guessing what one says to another person or how one says it. Fear of judgment by the person with whom we are communicating leads to censoring what we say and not speaking our full truth.
Saying what we believe the other person wants to hear versus how we really feel. Focusing on the other person’s needs & wants versus our own.
3. Comparing oneself to others.
Comes down to self-esteem and how we feel about ourselves. If we are frequently comparing ourselves to others, we may look to other people as being better than ourselves or see ourselves as falling short somehow by proxy. This can lead to not showing up in relationship owning who we are.
4. Distrust of others.
If we don’t generally trust other people, we may not share as much about ourselves or hide things about who we are.
5. Preoccupation with others’ faults.
When focusing on others’ faults and misgivings, the focus becomes off the self. Our true nature may be lost due to focus on what others are doing.
Lying to others creates a wall between you and the other person. One cannot know who you really are when lies are at play.
7. Staying quiet or stonewalling during an argument.
If we stonewall, or stay quiet and shut down, during an argument, we are not expressing how we really feel or giving the other person the opportunity to understand our side of the issue.
8. Not forging your own path.
Traveling a life path that uniquely expresses who you are, what your passions are, and what you desire is the embodiment of authentic living. If you find yourself living a life for others and making life choices based on insecurity rather than true purpose, your authenticity will be negatively impacted.
9. Not being humble.
Being able to admit fault and one’s mistakes leads to genuineness within self and in relationship. If you are frequently defending your position with others, not being introspective about your role in the situation, or insecurely inflating your importance at the expense of others, genuineness is lost.
10. Lack of empathy.
Being able to understand another’s emotional experience and being open to another’s thoughts, versus caught up in one’s own, is the basis of empathy. When we're not empathetic, we don't give permission to the other person to be their most authentic self. We also lose out on being our most genuine self by not opening to another's experience.
11. Not thinking for yourself.
Being easily swayed by others and not sticking to your own values and beliefs.
If you’re struggling with being authentic:
· Start setting boundaries with others by saying “no” and shift away from people pleasing.
· Begin to develop a self-compassion and self-love practice through affirmations (“I am enough” or “I love myself” or “I am learning to love myself”).
· Do mirror work. Sounds funny, but look directly in your eyes in the mirror several times a day and tell yourself you love yourself.
· Celebrate the things you do like about yourself and keep a running list of these things that you read daily.
· Ask yourself what is missing in your relationships. Is it intimacy and closeness? If so, practice being open, honest, and direct in your relationships.
· Tackle issues in relationships right away versus letting them fester and build resentment.
· Navigate the path of your life by your values. What is most important to you? Are you living your life based on these truisms?
Authenticity deepens the relationship you have with yourself and with others. Being authentic means something. It, actually, means everything.
Jennifer Huggins, Psy.D is a licensed Clinical Psychologist in West Los Angeles, specializing in Trauma and Chronic Pain. In addition to these specializations, she helps her clients heal depression, anxiety, and reduce stress though the use of cutting-edge treatments and empowering them to thrive in their lives. Her passion is helping clients find hope when its been lost.
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