June 18, 2024

Ways to Find Your Authentic Self: Getting to Know YOU

When we are born, like the second we are born, everything is neutral. There are no expectations to be the best little boy or best little girl, the brightest student, the best athlete. Oh, how quickly those things change, though. We are quickly bombarded with the issues and opinions from the adults who surround and raise us. They tell us how to speak (“be polite” or “give that aunt you’ve seen twice in your life a generous hug”). We are bribed to make good grades with monetary rewards. Take an interest in a sport? Now you have to be the best with your parent coaching you like you’re in the majors. We lose, or maybe never knew, who we are. Some ways to find your authentic self aren’t necessarily hard, but they take effort and time and dedication. Being someone everyone else wants you to be sucks. I know because I’ve fought it for years. What I have done is given myself the gift of me, myself, and I. Finally, I know and continue to know who I am. I’ll share with you some of the strategies and ways I’ve accomplished this so you can find out who you are, too. I bet you’re awesome and I want to meet you.

I Started a Book Club with People I Barely Know!

Try New and Different Things

Doing the same things in life is, to be blunt, boring. You have nothing new to discover, to think, to feel. It’s the same stuff over and over, and you have no idea what you are missing because you don’t try anything new. It’s like eating the same five meals and never trying a new recipe. Can you imagine a life like that? Maybe you’re living one. When I was in my early 20s, I decided I wanted to try something new once per year that would help make me a good conversationalist. I did anything from SCUBA diving, to moving to a new city, to taking a solo trip to London. The tradition has continued, and while it’s not top of my mind, it’s become more of a habit to do something new annually. I have so much to share, and perhaps a Liz-of-many-trades fits me much better than a master at something. Variety is the spice of life, and it’s also one of the ways to find your authentic self. You may never knew that fencing was your jam because you thought pottery making was. Try new things. You’re special you will be excited, nervous, and expansive for doing so.


Make Journaling a Regular Practice

Journaling is one of the most cost-effective, easiest, and least time-consuming practices of ways to find your authentic self. Making a daily journal entry that gives you space to write unabashedly and genuinely is utterly fantastic. Mine is on an app, which I have a password that blocks anyone from poking around. I’m pretty sure my mom read my diaries when I was younger, so I’m sensitive to my privacy. Something I have frequently used my journaling practice for is a reference. Where was I three years ago versus where am I now? How have my feelings, interests, and anything else changed? Have they changed at all or am I on a never-ending merry go round? It’s important to get into the pits of your gut, saying exactly what you are feeling and thinking. This helps so much with knowing things that you might actually not have known otherwise. My journaling practice timeframe in each day varies. Sometimes it’s a paragraph or two. Lately, it’s right around 40 minutes in the morning. It's part of my morning routine, so it’s the first thing I do after making coffee and getting the pets situated with food and water. If you have other humans to distract you, get up before them to do it, or do it when they go to sleep or are distracted with other things. Really get into this with yourself. You’ll see you with much more clarity.

A Friend Who Keeps It Real!

New Friends Change Perspective

I love meeting new people. Meeting new people and making new friends has been a way to put a mirror in front of my face. While we all hear about keeping old, tired, worn out relationships in our lives, it’s not going to be one of the ways to find your authentic self. You’ve likely changed, at least a little. Or you want to do some shifting. You’re not going to do that with those familiar faces surrounding you. No, it’s time to branch out and find new people. Make it a goal to make just one new friend. These are going to be the people you attract at the place you are and are wanting to go. I’ve had to remove myself from many a relationship because they simply tire out or don’t serve me anymore. It’s not to be coarse or cold or insensitive, but we only live one life. My desire is to live that life in my fullest expression, and my expression changes from day to day, month to month, and year to year. I’ve gotten so good at making new friends because I just do it. I introduce myself, and most importantly, I keep in touch. Inviting people for a walk in the park or to join a random book group I put together has given me the utmost satisfaction. And it helps me realize what I’m good at, what I like, don’t like, and want to continue or not. Try making a new friend if you’re on a path to finding out who that you really is. Trust me on this, it will benefit that journey.

Sitting in Silence

Embrace Silence

For the sake of everything sane, please put down the phone. Not right now - I want you to finish reading this article. But in theory and actually, put the phone down. You will never find out who you are with the constant chatter of the smart phone in your hand. One of the best ways to find your authentic self is this tip. It’s free and you don’t lose an ounce of time. Embracing your own silence and hearing your own voice is magical, but it can be scary at first. You’ll have to want to hear what you say, first and foremost. And I bet what you have to say is pretty awesome. Who are you outside of your family? You friends? Your job? What do YOU dream about? Where do you see the next year of your life headed? So many questions that we don’t allow ourselves to answer because we say we don’t have time. Time is there, my friends. It’s waiting, just not while you’re attached to the device. Something I started doing years ago was sleeping in a different room than my phone. Right around the 8:30 pm timeframe, I plug in my phone to its little stand and say goodnight. It gives me the chance to truly unwind and do something other than scroll. Sometimes I think of the day, I pray, I give myself a chance to dream about tomorrow. As the old movie preview goes: silence is golden. It really is.

Travel Solo

Traveling solo will send a jolt to the system and is one of the quickest ways to find your authentic self. This is my absolute favorite way because I get to see a new or familiar place, and spend time with yours truly. Being in my own company can be rather difficult at times, but I have learned to really love my own company overall. Going to eat with myself is a delight, and, wait for it, I often make a new contact! Even if it’s just for the meal, I get to talk to someone new about something I never would’ve talked about with the same group of people I know. Giving yourself the gift of you on a trip is like nothing else you’ll ever experience in life. You’re scared? Of course you are! Do it anyway. You know you’re going to come home, though. But you won’t come back the same, that much I can tell you. When you get to spend some one-on-one time with you alone, it changes you. It always changes you for the better. I have yet to meet someone who thinks traveling alone was the worst decision they’ve ever made. Go somewhere safe to you, somewhere not far, especially if you’re nervous. I jumped right in to London as my first solo trip. My justification was that they spoke English and I could get by easily. For the most part, that was true. It can be simple for you to get mountains of gold out of it, though. Want to know yourself better? Do the solo trip.


Get Excited to Know Yourself Better

The thought of getting to know oneself scares a lot of people. The truth is, though, wherever you go, there you are. Never comes a day where you’ll escape yourself, so you may as well like who you’re spending 24/7 with. Am I right? Distractions can only go on for so long. And if you want to hang out with other people who are advocates for themselves, they’re going to see right through your mask. Authenticity and genuineness are the two biggest gifts to give yourself and the people around you. I truly can’t wait to see who are are, and I hope we get to hang out. Being with people who know and love themselves is a gift for all of us, so please, do us all a favor and hop to it. We want to spend time with the you-est of yous.

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