If we look at how our self image is shaped, our first stop would be our inborn temperament. All of us have some inborn personality traits such as sensitivity, being easy going, and so on. Then we add caregiver style and culture and those environmental influences can teach us adaptive or maladaptive habits. It is easy to determine the difference between adaptive and maladaptive habits. Adaptive habits leave one feeling peaceful and approachable while maladaptive habits do the opposite. As children, we don’t always get to choose how we live and what our beliefs are. As adults, however, we do get to choose. In fact, not being who we are as adults results in low self esteem. Somehow, we cannot fool ourselves for a life time.
In a nutshell, being authentic can be summed up in 5 steps:
- Recognizing and owning your feelings. Your feelings are a guide for setting boundaries, exercising beliefs, and making changes in the way you do things.
- Being in tune with the feelings of others. If you cannot understand where others are coming from, it is impossible to be fully authentic. Being able to control yourself and respect the boundaries of others brings the concept of authenticity full circle.
- Boundary setting. You have to be able to say no to and avoid toxic people in your life. If you cannot set boundaries you are doomed to be beholden to others.
- Flexibility. Being flexible is one of life’s greatest gifts. Just think about how many people you interact with each day. Each one of those people are likely to have a reality that is not the same as your reality. Then add small children, water heaters, car parts, and work obligations. From the distant vantage point, it is easier to see why all of life’s pieces do not perfectly fall into place. All of the pieces of life have lives of their own. Being flexible is a lifesaver in terms of being who you are without being hard on yourself.
- Accountability. You know that small voice inside you that says “don’t do it” or “not a good idea”? That voice is there to make you accountable for staying true to yourself and accomplishing the greater good in your life. Listen to those voices of knowing and be honest with yourself when you sabotage yourself by doing something that is not in your best interest.
Deep down you know who you are. Nothing will make you happy if you do not step up to the plate and own your authenticity.
All the best!
Founder of the Man and Woman’s Mindset