Whether you’re preparing for New Year’s resolutions or on a personal improvement journey, embracing authenticity is one of the best methods to better your self-care practice and overall confidence. When who we are closely aligns with who we want to become, we feel better prepared to tackle the future with optimism. As you learn how to be authentic and build the below practices into your daily life, don’t forget to seek the help of a professional if you hit personal barriers. Therapists are a great third-party resource to help us understand our behaviors and emotions.
1. Evaluate Your Adaptive and Authentic Behaviors
As you begin this journey of authenticity, self-awareness and introspection will continually play a key role in your experience. When we choose to look inward and honestly examine our thoughts, emotions, responses and behaviors, we’ll be able to become the person we hope to be.
Authentic behaviors are reactions that closely align with our vision for ourselves and who we are. While, adaptive behaviors represent what we do under pressure and may not represent our best self.
For example, an adaptive behavior emerges when an individual fears being hurt. This often causes that person to place barriers to communication and stifle a close relationship. If you identify any discrepancies between your behaviors—in this example’s case, should they want to develop deeper and meaningful connections—seek to actively overcome them and correct them when you find yourself shifting to an adaptive mechanism.
2. Love Yourself, and Show Compassion to Others.
A focus on authenticity should also focus on self-love and compassion. No one changes their behaviors or feelings overnight. This process can cause frustration or require courage along the way. If our foundation is built on a love of who we are and a love of the process, setbacks won’t feel like pain points: they’ll become our growth points.
If you struggle with self-love and aren’t sure where to begin, start with daily affirmations. Whether you believe it or not, tell yourself every day that you are smart, talented, wise and kind (or any series of adjectives that’s important to your situation). As you speak this mindset into existence, your brain will slowly rewire itself to believe those phrases as true over time.
It’s also essential to show compassion to those around you. Just as you struggle with certain aspects of your personal life, others live in their own world—independent of yours—with a separate set of challenges, worries, hopes or shortcomings. Take this into account and let it be your guide for interactions with others, remembering that there are various factors, seen and unseen, that affect their behavior as well.
3. Create Daily Practices for Incremental Change.
If you ask a bodybuilder how they gained their physique, they’ll likely answer that it was through a series of decisions made consistently over a long period of time. This is the same for anyone who makes long-lasting changes. We can’t expect to see results overnight. Instead, we should set small, measurable goals to help us reach new milestones in our lifelong journey.
When we focus on daily growth, we actively create more opportunities to celebrate our success. If part of your journey to authenticity is increasing your mindfulness, you might start by meditating once a day for 2 minutes for 30 days. At the end of that time, set aside a reward for yourself to celebrate your success. Then, reset your goal to continue improvement—in this case, it may mean a 10-minute meditation session.
How to Be Authentic and Fulfilled
Personal improvement is a worthwhile and empowering process. Remember that your journey and its subsequent speed is not in competition with those around you, nor should it be guided by their expectations. Follow the above steps to feel more fulfilled. As you come to know yourself and love yourself, you’ll be able to find your authentic self.