The quiet boy hides piercings and tattoos behind long hair and full sleeves. The popular girl puts up her flowing locks, shedding her carefree exterior for a practical one more suited for taking care of her younger sibling. They find a sense of relief in being able to be themselves around each other. Hori without caring about her looks, Miramuya without worrying about being judged for his piercings.
Just as Hori and Miyamura hide a facet of themselves away from their classmates, many of us wear masks and make choices that are inauthentic to our true selves. Authenticity, or “living our truth”, is so important as it guides us towards leading a richer and more complete life. The denial of it hurts us as it hinders us from meeting our needs and brings about shame, guilt and anger.
In the social media world, we will often feel pressured to put on fronts or match-up to those whom we think are better than us. Diane Mottl states that being authentic comes from a real place within. That we don’t pressure ourselves to be what we have been told we should be, or what we think we should be. It is beyond merely trying to be ourselves, we have to know and own who we are.
Nevertheless in certain situation we have to conform and fit into the decorum. An example of this is putting on a uniform in school, adhering to its dress code and behavior. This is necessary as a social responsibility and not a case of being inauthentic. Miramuya displays this pretty well. In school, he hides his tattoos and piercings as they are not appropriate for that setting. However, outside of school, he dresses the way he likes.
Most people have the natural tendency to display and behave in a way that they think will impress others. This is self-presentation theory at work.
However, when we have a choice, it’s important to choose the one authentic to ourselves. It doesn’t always happen overnight but we can take gradual steps towards living an authentic life. Kamal Ravikant writes that we don’t just stumble into this amazing life; it’s a conscious commitment to figuring out what we stand for.
An authentic life is one where we flourish as our needs are met, we feel fulfilled and we experience self-actualization.
Here’s how we can consciously rise towards a more authentic life:
(1) Take note of what is happening in your body.
Do you feel tension anywhere? It may be an indication that you are burdened with something that disagrees with your authentic self.
(2) Listen to your inner voice
Don’t let the noise of others drown it out. Tune in to your hopes, dreams and fears.
(3) Know yourself
Acknowledge what you are good at and be prepared to work in it while knowing your limitations.
(4) Own yourself and your truths
Don’t let others dictate your way of thinking or actions. Shed views that no longer work for you.
(5) Be yourself
Behave sincerely and genuinely.
Here are some questions you can reflect on:
- Do you feel free to make your own choices or are you pressured by your peers?
- Do you feel free to express your own views and opinions?
- Do you feel you can be yourself on a day-to-day basis?
If you answer “no” to any of the questions, reflect on one further question:
Could it be that you are not being true to who you are?
Find a tribe where you can be you. Join a Shadee.Care online group.