Knowing Your True Self

“Be yourself. Above all, let Who you are, What you are, What you believe, shine through every sentence you write, every piece you finish.” ~ John Jakes

As kids, we live authentically, rarely afraid or embarrassed to seek out what we want or to speak our minds. As we age, we often put that authenticity aside while we chase our dreams, afraid that it might interfere with achieving success. But we never let that freedom go completely. We may (and I did) conform to society’s expectations while secretly nurturing our passions. And we may withhold opinions, though it doesn’t change the fact that we had or have them. Yet it’s that youthful audacity that, in part, frames who you become. The authentic you is your true self and, in living authentically, you live your truth, projecting who you really are.

Think about it… the easiest way to live your truth is to leave the expectations of others behind and live the way you feel most valuable. Yet why do many find doing this challenging?

Choosing to live an authentic life requires courage and inner strength. And most of us possess this. It takes being selfish in a healthy way by doing what you know is best for you, regardless of the opinions of others. It means getting completely honest with yourself and making a heart-strong commitment to be true to yourself. Each challenging yet doable, right?

If you value personal pursuits, don’t feel forced into a certain job just to make enough money to keep up with your neighbors. I did this. For decades. And there was little happiness in it. Conversely, if you prize success in business and all that comes with it, don’t let others’ perception of what’s right for you hold you back. Denying your unique truth can lead to feelings of failure or dissatisfaction because you aren’t acknowledging your true self. And many of us have experienced this.

To ponder, here is an action, an exercise, and a factoid associated with being authentic:

  • Embrace your negative emotions. When you numb sadness and pain, you numb happiness and joy. Feeling the depths of your lows enables you to fully feel your highs. To be vulnerable is to be deeply seen. To be vulnerable is to be alive – to exist as your most authentic self.
  • If you really knew me you’d know this: ________________. This is a prompt Tony Robbins gives to seminar participants. Not only does it prompt introspection and allow people to reveal essential aspects of themselves, it also builds trust, credibility and confidence with the person you are sharing it with. Authenticity does sometimes feel scary, but it builds intimacy.
  • Authentic people sleep well. There is something highly diagnostic about peaceful sleep. Someone who sleeps unusually well is a person who is fundamentally in harmony with his or her world. If you consistently fail to sleep well, there can be any number of factors at play that are keeping you out of sync with you most inner central self. An inability to sleep soundly can signal a deficit in authenticity.

If you are unsure of who the authentic you really is, look inward and ask yourself what your purpose, values, and needs are. Honor your strengths and don’t give in to others’ expectations. Finding who you really are and then making the choice to embrace your dreams will take your life in a direction that is meaningful and fulfilling.

You can be your true self regardless of age.Β The rewards are yours to reap!

Why not choose to be the authentic you?

52 thoughts on “Knowing Your True Self

  1. “being selfish in a healthy way” is a nice way of putting it, as in ignoring other peoples’ judgments, but to still be receptive to their responses. great advice on the journey to a more authentic you….

  2. Hi Eric, Another helpful post. I’ve been struggling with finding/ creating a clear life path for years. I too left a corporate career (25 years ago), but have never really found what fulfills me. I know my values, but don’t have a vision for life or work. Suggestions? Brad

    • Holy cow. Everything is changing, even your Gravatar! πŸ™‚ Seriously though, viewing the exploration and discovery process as “struggling” isn’t an optimistic framing. Consider shifting your mindset to a positive view – one in which you will gain clarity about your purpose and the path toward fulfilling that.

      You know what works well for you… being in flow, listening to your inner voice, heeding your heart, acknowledging your strengths, being open and allowing, etc. Find a way to weave these together and be in intention about what you feel called to be. The vision and a mission will follow, Don’t stress; believe in yourself and your gifts.

  3. “Ask yourself what your purpose, values, and needs are” – another great article , Eric. I need to take time out to ponder. Trouble is, I need to take time out every time you write a reflection!

    • So what would happen if your reframed “I need to take time out to ponder” to “I will create time to ponder and then act”? I’m glad that the posts are giving you cause to pause. My evil strategies are working. πŸ™‚

  4. I have always struggled with this and am specifically in a battle with this right now. Thanks for your words of guidance here, my friend. Being myself is about to cost me something very important in my life, but after being something I’m not so many other times in life I have to make this stand and face the consequences…and trust that God will make the best of it. Sorry for getting lengthy here, have a good day Eric.

    • Battle? What if you called it ‘an emergence’? It sounds like you’re bringing a challenging matter to a head. In doing so, you are much farther ahead of many others who have taken on significant decisions and stressed about the possible results. Additionally, “consequences” often has a negative connotation. If possible, consider the outcome as an unfolding or opening into a new phase, stage, passage, or life opportunity.

      I’m holding you up in positive thoughts, strength and comfort. Brian. Thanks for your good day wishes!

      • Thanks Eric, I appreciate that very much. Clearly my bitterness toward this situation came out in my response. It’s a long story. But yes, I need to get back to my normal positive mode and I most definitely believe that all will work out as it should. Just been caught up in this situation a bit so I appreciate the reminder to look at things more positively πŸ™‚

  5. I remember reading an article about this man who was constantly seeking ways to climb up the financial ladder. Apparently he made it out of coach, to super coach, to business and then finally to First Class. As he was being a bit of a you know what to the stewardess, he happened to look out the window only to see a couple jumping on their private jet.

  6. So well said, as always. You know that I relate to this completely as I have just this year allowed myself to be “healthily selfish” and let my authentic self surface and be the one in control. I wish I had read this post years and years ago. I have always believed it, just took some time to put it all into action. You have provided some wonderful advice for people here, and I cannot recommend it enough. Great post again, oh wise friend! πŸ™‚ Thanks, Eric! Keep up the great work!

  7. You continue to emerge, mate. It sounds like 2013 has been a breakthrough year for you. How great is that?! I believe many of us would have appreciated the prodding years and years earlier. The fact is, more and more of us are becoming aware now and choosing to act on what really matters to our true selves. I always appreciate your honest shares and feedback, EJ. πŸ™‚ Onward!

  8. Great reminder. We are all beings so similar and yet so different. We have our own identity and it is important that we recognize it and be authentic… be the person we are. And that certainly requires that we are obedient to ourselves, that we think about ourselves.
    Thanks for sharing. πŸ™‚

  9. Great post! Constantly re-connecting with our inner child (and we’ve all got one) is so important… going back to our spontaneous state of awe and wonder at the amazing world that surrounds us, engaging in the never-ending quest to know, care for, and transform with the world and its creatures–so swiftly stomped out, in my opinion, by the insidious workings of capitalism. And radical honesty, with self and others. Keep up the great work! πŸ™‚

  10. Eric. This is first piece of yours I’ve read. Man, did I relate to it. Just got comfortable in my own skin within last 1 1/2 of nearly 53 years. Listen to everyone but spent years holding things in. I plan on reading so much more after reading these fascinating words. Thank you so much for visiting my blog and liking. Now that I’ve seen what a good person you are, makes me feel even better.

  11. Pingback: If you really knew me you’d know that … | Apples and Mangoes

  12. “Denying your unique truth can lead to feelings of failure or dissatisfaction because you aren’t acknowledging your true self.” – and not just your unique truth but the fundamental truth of the universe – that love is all. That abundance is the natural order of things. That the universe will give you what you focus on. I’m authentic, and trying not to be disheartened when I am feeling down. Tears are made of the same as the ocean… everything is a celebration of life. A life lived authentically is an expression of the soul of the universe. Enough from me – thanks for reading, Eric. love, tj

    • Thanks for “enough.” πŸ™‚ I appreciate your groundings and taking time to share them here. It humbles me when a fellow blogger creates time to search my post archives and find words worthy of your thoughtful comment. Much appreciated.

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