How to Find Your Authentic Self? Ask These Questions

Recently I was invited to attend a Women’s Circle.  I had never gone before and didn’t quite know what to expect but I enjoy new spiritual experiences so I was all in. 

So a Women’s Circle, for those of you who don’t know, is a meditative circle of trust.  One person leads the circle, posing a question to the group. When you go to share, you are handed a candle and you have everyone’s full attention. As participants, we are not supposed to comment or console each other, and instead, the circle is a sacred place to share.

I sat in this circle as the leader posed the question. “What is authenticity and are you being your authentic self?” My immediate thoughts were, of course, I’m authentic, it’s the only way to live life, it’s what I believe in.  Yet, as I listened to the stories shared by the women in the circle, it really got me thinking about the question. And I wondered, can anyone be authentic all the time?

Authenticity, to me, is someone who leads a life true to themselves, who doesn’t change who they are to please anyone else, who rids their lives of what doesn’t make them happy, and who speaks their truth through any fears that may come up. Authenticity means that your actions are always in alignment with your core beliefs and values. 

I decided to go through an exploratory journey and I came up with some questions to help decipher how honest we are to our own selves.

1- When I am in a new environment, do I shift my personality so I can feel like I belong?

For some people, they are comfortable with who they are and have the, who cares if you don’t like my attitude.  For others, they feel as though being liked and being accepted is a reflection of their self-worth. Learn to be comfortable with who you are and love yourself enough to not use someone else’s lens to provide value for you.

 2- Am I satisfied with my life or are there parts that don’t make me happy? Am I willing to challenge what doesn’t fulfill me?  

No one is happy all of the time and that’s a good thing.  Without contradictory emotions, you cannot really appreciate the good. However, if there are areas in your life that are continuously pulling you down, you need to explore the why.  Not all realizations are easy, putting one’s personal relationship under the microscope can be frightening. What could be more frightening? Waking up 10 years later with the same emptiness.

3- Do I hold back from sharing my thoughts, emotions or beliefs in relationships because of the fear of another’s reactions? 

Stifling who you are to benefit someone else will ultimately destroy your own being.  If you find you never speak your mind or edit your conversations to appease someone else, you aren’t being honest with yourself.

4- Am I willing to be vulnerable or do I put up walls to protect myself? 

Vulnerability is opening oneself to whatever comes your way, which can be scary. Humans are naturally vulnerable (even if you don’t believe you are now). Vulnerability in necessary for authentic relationships and connections with other humans. Surface relationships are not true and will never provide you with a feeling of being complete.

5- Are my actions a reflection of my core value and beliefs? Do you give advice to friends that you don’t actually take yourself?  The first question here is, do you have a clear understanding of your core values? Spend some time rediscovering them so they can become your north star. Then place yourself in situations, relationships and experiences that align with your values. This connection to yourself will propel you.

You are amazing, and it is only when you rid the mask you wear on the outside and acknowledge who you are on the inside that you can embrace your authentic self.  You don’t need to conform to anyone else, just fuel your own values with actions that bolster them. 

Marissa Bishop