Five Steps to Opening your Authentic Self

According to Brene Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, “Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let your true selves be seen.”

When I accepted who I was with all of my obvious flaws. I could recognize them, own them to others, and make better choices to better my life. When I embraced my authentic self, I was able to move more freely within relationships by accepting and giving feedback. This fostered growth and awareness.

1. Clarify your values: Often we make choices based on what we think others want us to do or what we think we should do. Daily choices determine our life’s direction and, as a result, our outcomes. Showing up and being real means we need to think clearly about what it is we value, want and need for our own wellbeing. This doesn’t mean making choices without considering others, but it means our own needs are a big part in the choice we make.

2. Set boundaries: In order show up and be real, it’s important to know who you are and what you want for your life. Ask yourself, who do I want to be in this situation or this relationship? How can I be real and let people know what those needs are? Once we know those answers it is easier to express our needs to others and to have our needs met. Boundaries can be as simple as telling others what we will and won’t accept or what is helpful to us in a particular situation or relationship.

3. Stop negative self talk: Honesty is simply being who you are in given situation. It doesn’t mean that you are totally open and vulnerable to everyone and every situation. Give yourself a break and embrace all the wonderful about yourself. You can shift styles so we are better able to relate to others, but we still need to be our honest self. Honesty and integrity about who we are is valued. So love who you are.

4. Explore and be open to growth. One way to do that is to be open to differences in self and others. Try new things and new experiences. Walk a different path and see how you feel about it. Looking at yourself in a different situation can help you better understand yourself.

5. Take in feedback without feeling criticized, it is someone else’s opinion. Someone reminded me “Perception is reality”. When we let others see who we really are, it gives them a chance to also be open and show us who they really are. It may be that you will decide this situation or relationship is not for you based on the open honest self. That’s okay, not everyone can like everyone and not every situation is right for you.

“Authenticity starts in the heart.” Brian D’Angelo

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