Have you ever been in a situation where you felt you weren’t acting as yourself? Why do you think that was? In other words, what causes someone to not being their true self?
Or maybe the question should be: what’s necessary for someone to be authentic? I believe two ingredients are needed: 1) look within, and; 2) be fearless.
1) Look within
In order to be authentic, it’s important to truly listen to and understand who we are and who we want to be. The only place we can look for and find our true selves is within. As a Tibetan Buddhist monk at the Pema Ts’al monastery where I volunteered rightly pointed out, some people define themselves by their relationships or will try to find someone who will make them feel better. But the moment this relationship goes, they also lose themselves…
So how do you look within? By taking the time to reflect, meditate, contemplate about your experiences, your beliefs, your values, your aspirations, etc. Define yourself through your heart and soul. Also, find a way to externalise your thoughts, they will become more concrete and solid. One idea is to grab a piece of paper and write or draw them down.
2) Be fearless
Fear is one of life’s biggest hindrance. Because of fear, people cheat, steal, lie… pretend to be someone else. To avoid rejection, insecurity or discomfort, we’ll put a mask on and act in ways that don’t reflect our true persona. The irony is: some people will not like us no matter what! As the same monk said: “Even the enlightened Buddha doesn’t satisfy everyone, so why should we fear of not being liked!”. Insecurity and discomfort are brilliant sources of learning and personal growth, so they should be embraced more than rejected.
A good exercise is to write down your fears on paper and willingly and consciously shred them to pieces. Or again to discuss them with someone you trust.
When we show our true selves we attract the right people, the ones who truly believe in how great a person we are.
So come on, it’s time to be fearlessly you!