“Be true to yourself.” It’s advice we hear throughout our lives, yet it’s not always easy to achieve, is it? Author Karen Wright muses on that dilemma in an excellent Psychology Today article, Dare To Be Yourself.
Authenticity, she says, is correlated with many aspects of psychological wellbeing, including vitality, self-esteem, and coping skills. Indeed, psychology researchers Michael Kernis and Brian Goldman determined that self awareness, the ability to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses, the capacity to learn from your mistakes and to behave in ways that reflect your core self can all boost coping mechanisms, relationships and confidence.
But how do you know what your “true” or “core” self is? The article notes that “today’s psychologists no longer regard the self as a singular entity with a solid core. What they see instead is an array of often conflicting impressions, sensations, and behaviors.” We need to keep an expansive view of who we are, or risk not knowing ourselves. And truly knowing ourselves—flaws and all—takes considerable maturity.
One step to getting the authentic life you want is to trying journaling about your passions, dreams and challenges. Another idea is to seek input on how you can improve at your job, while learning to really own your successes, as Dr. Mark Goulston, a psychiatrist in Santa Monica, California, suggests in our article, Win at Work.
But I suppose the first step is to ask ourselves whether living an authentic life matters to us. And if the answer is yes, investing the time to examine ourselves and learn. Easier said than done!
Are you willing to make that time? How have you managed to live a more authentic life?