With all the time we spend online, it is difficult to know if we are being true to ourselves or trying to fit into a mould that others have set. For this reason, it is becoming more challenging to figure out who we are and what we want from our lives.
I’ve come up with 20 questions that you can ask yourself to help you figure out if you’re being yourself or trying to be someone else.
1) Can you handle being alone?
If we aren’t true to ourselves, we will not like the person we have become, so we won’t like spending time alone. On the other hand, if we rely on the support of others for a sense of self, we aren’t going to enjoy being alone because we won’t be getting that sense of meaning that we are used to getting from other people.
If you are ok with being by yourself, you are likely doing an excellent job of being true to yourself, but if being alone is an unpleasant experience, you need to look at where you are getting your sense of self.
2) Are you a people pleaser?
When we are always looking to do what other people expect of us, we might not be clear about what we want for ourselves. People pleasers are only looking out for the hopes and expectations of others and have sometimes forgotten about themselves. There is nothing wrong with being a good person who helps out others, but you might not know who you are if you always put others before yourself.
You know you are being yourself when you are confident in what you want and willing to go after it.
3) Do you let yourself get bored?
People who get bored quickly don’t know who they are because they haven’t taken the time to figure out what their interests are or what drives them. The thing about being clear about who you are is that you know what you want, and you know what you need to do, so you always have something to take up your time.
If you are often bored, ask yourself, who am I? what do I want out of life? And how can I get there?
4) Do you go after what you want?
Similar to being a people please, if you don’t go after what you want, you might be afraid to try and be confident about what you want. Either way, if you don’t go after what you want, you aren’t being true to yourself, and so you aren’t living in line with yourself. The reason being, people who know themselves have a clear sense of what they want out of life and are willing to learn how to go about getting it.
If you don’t go after what you want, you are, by necessity going after what other people want, which is a sign that you aren’t being yourself.
5) Are your friends true friends? Do you respect them?
Do you respect your friend? Could you rely on them if things got tough? These are essential questions because sometimes we are friends with people for not all good reasons. True friends will support you through think and thin; fake friends only like you because of certain qualities or circumstances.
If you are willing to be friends with people you don’t like for not-so-good reasons, then you aren’t being yourself.
6) Do you regret a lot of past decisions? Do you regret them right now?
It is ok to make mistakes and regret what we have done, but if we feel that all the time, we aren’t true to ourselves. Being yourself means you are aware of your wants, have a sense of your abilities, and always move forward and evolving. If you constantly regret your past decisions, you are improving or moving forward, which means you aren’t being yourself.
Being yourself means you are moving forward and becoming a better version of yourself all the time; if you don’t improve or keep making the same mistakes, what are you doing with your life?
7) Do you let other people tell you what to do with your life?
At times it is easy to give in and let everyone else decide what the right thing to do is; sometimes, this is alright because it makes things easier. Other times it is necessary because sometimes the crowd has the right idea about certain matters. But generally speaking, if you always do what other people tell you, you are ignoring your own needs and not being yourself.
Even if we pretend it isn’t the case, if we always let other people decide for us, then there is no way we are being true to ourselves.
8) Do you ignore your passions?
Everyone has something they are drawn to and passionate about, but sometimes we ignore these interests and stick to what we are supposed to care about. Don’t get me wrong, there are some passions we should avoid, but generally speaking, the things that we care about are worthy of our time and attention.
If you constantly ignore the things you care about, you aren’t being true to yourself.
9) Do you look to the future or only right now?
As we’ve talked about in the past, any big project requires time and commitments. On top of this, our passions are often long-term goals that need more than a few minutes of attention. So if you are always focusing on the short term, then it is unlikely that you are committed to anything significant. Which begs the question, what are you working towards? Who are you trying to be?
When committed to long-term goals, we have a clear vision of who we are and what we want out of life. If we have no plans, we likely have no idea who we are or what we want.
10) Do you always explain yourself after making a choice?
Sometimes when we make decisions that other people disagree with, we will explain and justify ourselves. While this might make sense in some cases, if we find ourselves doing it all the time, we have to ask ourselves if we are confident in our decisions. If we aren’t confident, that likely means we don’t have a clear vision of what we are working towards.
It makes sense to explain yourself sometimes, but if you are doing it all the time, it points to the possibility that you don’t know who you are or what you want.
11) Do you let other people take advantage of you?
When we don’t respect ourselves or our future visions, we don’t respect our time or choices. If this is the case, we might be more willing to ignore our wants and desires and let others tell us what to do. This gets even worse when we let people take advantage of us because it means that we are so oblivious to our wants and needs that they don’t even matter to us.
If we let other people take advantage of us, we aren’t ourselves because we have no respect for our goals, values or time.
12) Do you fold under social pressure?
When we aren’t confident in what we want, we will not stand up for what we believe in, and so we will easily fold under social pressure. Knowing yourself means knowing what you want and being confident about your decisions, even if others disagree.
You know you are yourself if you are confident in your decisions, so you stick with them despite the pressure of others.
13) Do your opinions and values evolve, or do they stay the same?
While we just talked about folding under social pressure, we must realize that our opinions and values should change as the evidence changes. Put another way, if you are clear about who you are and what you want, you will always be looking to improve, which means taking in the evidence and adjusting your positions.
If you stick to your opinions and never change them, you might be getting your identity from belonging to a group or an idea. Being true to yourself means you can adjust and aren’t fixed on ideas rather than yourself.
14) Do you share your thoughts or keep them a secret?
If you keep your opinions to yourself, you might be wise in some situations, but it is crucial to stand up for your truth in other situations. Sharing your thoughts is a sign that you are confident in yourself and the ideas floating around in your head. This doesn’t mean that you can’t change or evolve; in fact, bring ideas to light is the best way to test them and ensure they are correct.
You know you’re yourself if you share your thoughts and allow them to be challenged by others; otherwise, you might be hiding your true self away.
15) Is it difficult for you to make decisions?
When you are clear about what you want out of your life, you always know what you need to do. When you know what you need to do, it is easy to make decisions because what you want is clear. People who have a lot of trouble making decisions often don’t know what they want or actively avoid getting what they want.
Having confidence in yourself is a sight that you are yourself; it will also mean that you know what you want and won’t have trouble making decisions.
16) Do you try to silence the voice inside your head?
We all have a voice inside our heads that helps guide us towards making the right decisions. However, if we tend to silence or ignore that voice, we will not be chasing after the things we want in our lives. Sometimes we need to control our inner voice if it is getting out of control, but often it is trying to guide us to a better life, so it is wise to listen.
You know you aren’t yourself if you consistently ignore your inner voice and make decisions for inauthentic reasons.
17) Do you change based on the people you are around?
It makes sense to have different interests for different groups of people, as that means you will fit into the group you are with. I have a friend who always talks about intellectual things with me, but with some other friends, he only talks about baseball. These differences make sense because it is essential to get along with people based on their interests.
However, if you aren’t consistent in who you are for reasons other than interests, you likely aren’t being yourself because you are trying to be someone else based on your group around you.
18) Do you not priorities what matters to you?
Having a clear sense of who you are, means knowing what matters and having a sharp understanding of what you need to do with your time. Knowing what you need to do should give you a list of priorities at any given time. However, you aren’t true to yourself if you ignore those priorities and do what other people want you to do or ignore your preferences altogether.
You know you are yourself when you prioritize what matters to you and what you are looking for in life.
19) Are you working towards something meaningful?
Living a meaningful life means working towards things that matter to you, and having a clear sense of what you want from life means you are honest with yourself and what you need to do. Having a big goal that you are working towards is a good sign that you’ve thought about what matters and has meaning, prioritized it, and are working towards it.
You know you are yourself if you are working towards an important, self-defined and meaningful goal.
20) Are you afraid of mistakes so much that it gets in your way?
Everyone makes mistakes, and mistakes are a part of life. But if you let the fear of making a mistake get in the way of you trying to live your life in a meaningful and purposeful way, then you aren’t living your life at all. When you are doing something important, you are bound to make mistakes, but recovering quickly from errors is the best way to move forward and get better.
You know you are yourself when you work towards what matters, and don’t worry about the potential difficulties. On top of this, when issues arise, you resolve them quickly and move on.
Hopefully, these questions have given you a sense of what you need to think about to ensure you live your life authentically and be true to yourself.