The Struggle to be Authentic

Let’s start with a simple fact: we all struggle to be more authentic, whether we realize it or not.  This struggle comes from a deep desire to express ourselves. But the reality we face is that it’s often easier to behave in less authentic ways rather than risk letting others see and experience who we really are.

You have been spending your whole life hiding your true self and vulnerability from others, and for really good reasons.
When you are authentic, you risk being judged by others, or worse, being rejected! So it may seem easier to just try to fit in, and hide who you really are rather than attempt to live more authentically.

Being authentic is scary!

Still, you want to be more authentic, but at the same time, being more authentic seems so very scary! And your Inner Critic, your inner negative voice, is ready and happy to keep you in fear. If you want to live more authentically, you must move past this fear. And your ability to move past this fear is a continual process, not a one-time occurrence.

Authenticity is only available if you are willing to take an honest look at your hidden selves.

Your hidden depth

A great metaphor for exploring the concept of authenticity can be found in the image of an iceberg where only the tip of the iceberg can be seen above the surface while the the majority of it lies hidden below the surface. People often go about life in a similar fashion, showing only a small part of their true identity and hiding everything else. To become more authentic will require you to make an effort at lowering your waterline and sharing more of who you really are.

Most of what’s hidden below the water’s surface are things that would be consider to be “bad,” and it’s totally understandable why you wouldn’t want them revealed.

If you take a good look at an image of an iceberg, though, you will notice the bits below the surface aren’t all dark. There are many beautiful multicolored facets hidden below the water. I like this as a metaphor for all the positive things about us that we also keep out of sight.

We hide many of our positive aspects because revealing our most hidden strengths, desires, and aspirations makes us vulnerable, and that can be risky! Our positive qualities can be judged critically by others, so there is risk opening up to others, even in positive ways.

The exuberant kid

For example, take the kid who is really exuberant, full of joy and life, and her parents both have to work two jobs to make ends meet and they are really tired when they get home and they just don’t have the energy to deal with her exuberance. So in order to fit in, to get the love and connection she needs and craves, she puts her exuberance and joy in to shadow, or tucks it below the water line. Which, at the time, was a really good choice!! But as an adult she has lost access to her creative spark, or to her passion.

  • Being authentic means being willing to openly and honestly share all of yourselves with others – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
  • Fundamentally, being more authentic is to more fully express all of who you really are, both the light and the dark.
  • When you are more authentic, you are also more vulnerable; there’s no denying this fact.

What about the Inner Critic?

You were not born with an Inner Critic; you were not born with a fear of being vulnerable, this part of you came on board at some point in your childhood to protect you from feeling pain or shame. And for a really good reason,  a child can only endure so much pain or shame. And as we grow up, we actually allow our minds to believe that voice of what has now became our Inner Critic; hough this protective part doesn’t care if you are fulfilled, or manifesting your dreams or if you are happy. This part only cares in maintaining the ‘status quo’ of where you’re at.

Our ability to be ourselves and live more authentic lives is directly related to our awareness of when and how we’re being inauthentic.

It takes courage

If we want to live more authentically, we have to first become aware of and take full responsibility for the influence of other people, culture, and even our own personal view of ourselves.

The concept of authenticity may be simple to understand theoretically, but to integrate it into our lives and practice it on a regular basis will take awareness and deliberate effort. Becoming more authentic is not so much about what we know, but what we do. As you go out and face the world, remember how liberating it can be when you have the courage to be yourself and go for what you want in life.

This is about your life, about you being real—it requires courage and focus.

When you live your life with a real sense of honesty and genuineness, your authentic self will shine through your masks. You will be able to step into your power and live your best life. 

Contact me to explore how you can get support, as you reconnect to your authentic self, through my Bust Your Inner Critic Coaching program, designed to help you connect with your true inner voice. Sign up for a discovery session here.

Comments

4 Responses to “The Struggle to be Authentic”

  1. Thank you for this article….it is spoken with such clarity that your expertise shines through. Congratulations on your first blog…you are a natural.

  2. Deb Goeschel says:

    Great blog, Karin! Explains so clearly how we end up with these shadowy, unexpressed pieces of ourselves. So glad I could help you get the blog done! 🙂

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