Finding Your Authentic Self
At what point in the day do you feel most like yourself? What activities do you connect to and enjoy? Is it being with your family, is it completing a workout, is it going to work or something else altogether? If you are going through your entire day without connecting to anything you do, then you need to start on the path to finding your authentic self. Your personal success, happiness, comfort, feeling of fulfillment, and enjoying life all come from your true self. Too often you see people falling prey to living their life for someone else and their expectations. This will eventually lead to unhappiness and will move you farther away from your path. So, the first step is becoming consciously aware of what brings you joy and highlights your authentic self.
Observe what brings you happiness and write it down.
Go through your day, observe your mood and level of enjoyment for each task that is voluntary. This includes any hobbies, your job, your food choices, the music you listen to, the shows you watch, the people you hang out with, how you dress, how you talk, what you read and so on. We are sometimes forgetful so writing it down will give you a point of reference. Record your findings for at least a week, giving you seven days of data to review. Document what tasks are you doing, how is your mood during the tasks and did you feel good about yourself afterwards. Once you complete the week, highlight any patterns you see daily where you were unhappy, or your mood changed drastically. This is where your authentic self was sending you a signal that this task, situation, or people are not for you.
For example, let’s say after work you get invited to have a drink with your team. You want to seem like a team player, but you don’t drink, and bars make you uncomfortable. However, you go anyway and end up spending hours there and regret going. If you were being your authentic self, you could have suggested going somewhere else or said thank you for the invite, but I am uncomfortable at bars. I know for some, it may feel embarrassing, but it shouldn’t in this situation. Your feelings and preferences matter and the only person that can share those viewpoints is you. You must be your own voice and start to normalize it for yourself. When you do this, others will take notice. They may even offer to go somewhere else where you are comfortable and could have a fun time.
Make a list of the items that cautiously make you unhappy from the week and start with one change at a time.
Review your notes from the week and pinpoint what needs change. List them out in two categories, immediate change, and long-term change. The changes that can be immediate, are like turning off a tv show that has been giving you anxiety. Others like changing your career may take more time. As much as it would feel good to just quit, if you don’t have the means to do that, you need to make sure you can support yourself financially. Start looking for a job in your free time in the career you want to be in, so you can make a smooth transition between the two. As you go through your list, make one change at a time so you can comfortably adjust. When you do this, you will see your overall mood improve throughout your day.
“Giving yourself time to become more aware of yourself and your internal experience will allow you to manifest into action what you truly want. Experiencing your true self will help keep you feeling real, healthy, and truly satisfied, giving you the push you need to continue down that path.” Ilene Strauss Cohen Ph.D.
You only have this life right now. Why waste time being unhappy when you can enjoy life being your authentic self. It may feel strange at first but once you start the process you will be glad you did!