Exploring Your Authentic Self
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, authenticity is the quality of being “true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character". So many things can get in the way of us being able to embrace our authentic selves: societal expectations, our environment, the people we surround ourselves with, fear of judgment or rejection, etc.
There are many different definitions out there about this idea of authenticity. Brene Brown describes authenticity as “the daily practice of letting go of who we think we are supposed to be and embracing who we actually are” (Brown, 2010). Family therapist Virginia Satir described something similar, the concept of congruency, which is a state that she believed all humans aim to attain in life. Congruency is a state where what we say, do, and believe all match (Satir, 1988).
Below are some questions to help you begin exploring your authentic self. These may be questions you’ve never thought about before, so allow yourself time and space to think about them.
-What does your authentic self look like? What words would you use to describe this self?
-Are you more able to show this authentic self to certain people or in certain situations?
-During which activities do you feel most yourself?
-What keeps you from being your authentic self?
-What’s your greatest fear about showing more of your authentic self?
-What most excites you at the thought of showing more of your authentic self?
-How would you engage in relationships (with spouse/partner, friends, family, coworkers, etc.) differently if you could be your authentic self more often?
-What are the values of your authentic self, and are you living your life currently in a way that fits those values?
If you would like support in exploring these questions and beginning the brave, courageous journey of becoming acquainted with your authentic self, therapy can be a safe, nonjudgmental place to do this work. A therapist can ask thought-provoking questions to help guide you on this journey and support you along the way.
Brown, B. (2010). The gifts of imperfection: Let go of who you think you're supposed to be and embrace who you are. Hazeldon Publishing.
Satir, V. (1988). The new peoplemaking. Science and Behavior Books.