Journal Prompts for Exploring Your Authentic Self
While I am not generally one for making New Year's resolutions, one goal that I can support this year is working towards growing into more of our authentic selves and feeling safe to be that authentic self within our relationships. 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, such as societal expectations, our environment, the people we surround ourselves with, fear of judgment or rejection, etc. Exploring what may be holding us back from truly embracing our authentic selves can often be the first step in beginning to embrace this self.
There are many different variations of this concept 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 a similar idea, the concept of congruency. She believed this state of congruency is something all humans aim to attain in life, a state where what we say, do, and believe all match (Satir, 1988).
One step towards becoming more of our authentic selves is to explore who our authentic self is and get to know this self, whether it be through talking about it to others, trying new activities, or writing about it. Below are a few prompts to help you begin exploring your authentic self through journaling and aid you in getting this process started.
-What does your authentic self look like? What words would you use to describe this self?
-What would you like to ask your authentic self? What would you like to tell 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?
-How would you engage in relationships (with friends, family, partner/spouse, 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?
-What may be holding you back 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?
As you begin to explore and discover your authentic self, you may experience a variety of emotions. If you would like support and guidance in this process, 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 as you make new discoveries about yourself.
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.