Being authentic means being honest about who you are and what you value; it also means being honest with others and not hiding behind a facade. While being authentic can be difficult at times, it is critical to living a meaningful life and aligning with your purpose. If you find it challenging to be authentic, you will miss out on opportunities to grow and develop as a person. Let’s talk about 21 strategies you can use to practice being more authentic.
1) Be honest about what you want and what you value.
Sometimes we aren’t honest about what we want or value; as we are willing to go along with the crowd or easily accept someone else suggestions. When we don’t value our desires enough to speak up for them, it is challenging to be authentic and get what we want. Even worse, if we aren’t honest with ourselves about what we want, it will be pretty much impossible to get it.
2) Meditate and work on mindfulness.
Meditation and mindfulness allow us to calm down our minds and focus on the here and now; that clarity enables us to understand better who we are and what we want. Once we know what we want and value, as long as we don’t get caught up in social games or trying to impress other people, we can live our truth and be authentic in our actions.
3) Ask yourself why you think you aren’t being true to yourself.
If you ask yourself how to be more authentic, something must have happened that made you believe you weren’t authentic. Look at what happened and try to understand why it made you feel that way. Maybe there is an obvious explanation or simple thing you can do to get back to living truthfully. If you have to ask yourself if you are living authentically, you know you’ve got a problem.
4) Ask friends or family to remind you when you slip up.
If we are honest about what we want and tell the people around us what our goals are, we can also ask them to hold us accountable. It is easy to say we want to be authentic and live our truth, but we might collapse and give in once we get some pressure. This is where we want our friends to call us out and get us to think again about what matters and how we want to live in line with that.
5) Look at the people who you believe are authentic, ask what they are doing right.
Often having a role model is a great way to gain inspiration and help you focus on your goals. At the same time, if you believe that someone is authentic, certain qualities make that the case, so look at what they are doing and mimic what aligns with your values. When we are practicing being authentic, other people will see this, making it easier for them to do the same thing.
6) Talk openly about your values, be responsive to feedback.
Often we know we aren’t authentic when we hide behind other people and their values. If something is important to you, you need to live by it and make it clear to people if they get in your way. Alternatively, having open-minded friends means you have a soundboard to bounce some ideas off of; if you express your views to a good friend, you can expect honest and helpful feedback.
7) Look at your past, have experiences discouraged you from being honest?
Sometimes we tell the truth, and it backfires; we feel regret and might be less willing to speak our truth in the future. Think back to when you were authentic and it didn’t work out; look at those situations and ask yourself why that was the case. Maybe what you were saying was utterly BS, or perhaps the person you were saying it to was being a jerk. When we get discouraged from being ourselves, we are more reluctant in the future, but that doesn’t mean we should be.
8) Where are your weaknesses, what can you do to surpass them?
Sometimes we give too much power to our weaknesses, and even if they are holding us back somehow, that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the game. Being authentic means living your story, but it also means having goals and working towards them. If you are honest with yourself, there will be places where you need to adjust your trajectory, develop further skills or rethink what you are working towards. You can grow past many things, but you need to be willing to look at what is holding you back first.
9) Turn up the volume on your inner voice.
We all have a voice inside our heads that gives us guidance and support, and sometimes it can turn on us and lead us astray, but there are ways to deal with that. That said, most of the time, our inner voice is trying to guide us in the right direction and towards our true selves. Being authentic means following your arrow, even if you are reluctant to do what you need to do.
10) Look at your fears and ask yourself if they are holding you back.
Sometimes we have unreasonable fears about accomplishing our goals or working towards something significant. Look at what you fear and ask yourself if it is reasonable, next ask yourself if it is getting in your way. Once you’ve figured out those two things, it’s time to get over that fear or work out how to get around the trouble that you see. To practice being authentic, you need to stand up to your fears and live your truth even if you are terrified.
11) Be consistent and don’t forget about what you are working towards.
Being authentic means knowing your truth and sticking with it; it is easy to be real for a day or two, but being real forever is a serious commitment that will take a lot of work. To accomplish anything of significance, including being true to yourself, you need to be committed and consistent with your efforts. Like all necessary things in life, being authentic requires continued effort; you don’t get what you want by giving up easily.
12) Question your values; do they come from the right place.
Being authentic means living your truth and always doing what you believe is the right thing to do. But what if your values are way off and you come to recognize that there is a problem? It is essential to questions our values and where they come from. Sometimes we believe things for irrational reasons or simply because that was the way we were brought up. But to be authentic, you need to be working towards your best self all the time, which means questioning your values when they stop making sense.
13) Work on accepting yourself for who you are, flaws and all.
Sometimes we want to pretend that we are perfect and have no flaws, but this is never the case; we all make mistakes and aren’t the best at everything we try. A big part of practicing being authentic is being honest with yourself, understanding your strengths and weaknesses, and then accepting yourself for who you are. You aren’t always going to be the best, but if you can accept your inadequacies, you are working towards being your best self.
14) Ask yourself if a recent event inspired your doubts; what can you learn from that?
I mentioned earlier that it is helpful to look at what made you think you weren’t authentic, but sometimes there isn’t a clear answer. In those situations, we need to look at what we have been up to recently and see where we have let ourselves down. Being honest about how you’ve responded to recent events will act as a barometer of how well you are doing in your quest to live an authentic life.
15) Be honest with the people who you think are holding you back.
Often we are our own worst enemies, meaning it is often ourselves who is getting in our way and preventing us from being our best possible self. But occasionally, other people are holding us back and getting in our way. If this is happening and we are authentic, it is our responsibility to be honest with that person and let them know what they are doing wrong. Maybe they can stop doing what they are doing, or you need to remove them from your life.
16) Ask yourself how long you’ve been concerned about your authenticity.
If you are starting to think about how authentic you have been, you are just beginning your journey. This matters because we quickly see our flaws anytime we get started at something, but we don’t always realize how long it will take to get better. Being authentic isn’t something you do in a day and forget about it, instead, it is a lifelong practice that takes dedication and commitment. If you want to live a more authentic life, you need to start today, but you can’t ever give up.
17) Work on habits that improve your authenticity, don’t hold back on the truth.
It is easier to be true to yourself if you continuously improve yourself and live better than the day before. If being authentic means speaking your truth, you need to get used to doing that and it will take practice. The best way to get anything significant done is to build it into your routine and make a habit of it. Sometimes it is difficult to be honest because we aren’t used to doing it; the only way to make that easier is to create a habit; that way, it will happen naturally.
18) Work on boundaries, find ways to be clear about who you are.
Sometimes we get pulled in too many directions, and we lose track of where we are trying to go. If we are kind and agreeable people, we might find that we are always helping others instead of working at what matters to us. To practice being authentic, you need to be willing to say no when people ask you to disregard your priorities. Setting boundaries means being clear about what you want, knowing how to get there and being willing to say no when people ask you to step away from your priorities.
19) Find your life purpose and use it to guide your actions.
It is easy to forget who you are and what matters to you if you aren’t clear about what you want or what you are working towards. If you haven’t found your life’s purpose or aren’t working towards something, you won’t have any priorities. Having a purpose makes everything else in life much easier because you know what you need to be doing all the time. A major reason why you might feel like you aren’t living authentically is that you haven’t been clear or honest with yourself about what you are looking for from life.
20) Regularly check your progress; have you forgotten about your goals.
It is impossible to do something if you don’t know what you are working towards or have no way of marking your progress. Being authentically yourself requires a sense of awareness of who you are and what you are working towards.
If you have no idea what you want, then how can you authentically do it?
Having a plan or having a way to measure your success will make a huge difference when it comes to being true to yourself. You could have two columns on a page; one side could say “was authentic,” and the other could say “hide behind something else.” Then put a check on the side that represents your actions for that day.
21) Be more honest about who you aren’t and can’t be.
While being authentic requires us to focus on what we are good at and most inclined to do, which is a good thing. But at the same time, we need to be honest about what we aren’t able to do. If you are 50 years old, becoming a professional athlete will be pretty much impossible, but that doesn’t mean you can’t play your favourite sport every day.
To be your most authentic self, you need to have realistic and achievable expectations.
These are just some ways that you can practice being authentic, but what matters most is your commitment to being yourself. Without self-restraint and confidence, it doesn’t matter how much you try to do something; it isn’t going to happen. Being authentic is like anything else in life; you can do it if you commit yourself to it and give it all you’ve got.