I’d like you to reflect on what you know about yourself.
Who are you? What do you know about your authentic self? Do you hide who you are for fear of judgment and rejection?
In order to be authentic, you need to truly know who you are. In my practice, I’ve seen that women in particular were often encouraged to take a role of pleasing others and caretaking when they were young. For example, a woman may have been told she was a “good girl” when she sacrificed her needs and put others first. Her parents may have praised her for putting others first, making her feel loved and accepted for being this way.
If you felt loved and accepted for being a certain way when you were young, you may carry core beliefs about what kind of person you need to be for others to accept you and love you.
To develop awareness of your authentic self, ask yourself a few important questions:
What lights you up?
What do you love?
What are your needs?
How would you describe yourself?
Sometimes we hide our authentic self because we care about what other people think. We fear rejection and we think that if people don’t like who we are, they’ll leave us. If they leave us that means we’ll be alone, so the fear of being our true self can actually stem from the fear of being alone.
The major downfall of hiding and suppressing who you really are is that people can sense it. They may feel that you’re withholding something, or that how you’re acting in their presence seems a bit off.
If you’re living your life and you’re faking it, you can attract other non-authentic people. You may feel like you’re living a superficial life when you don’t have quality relationships with people who accept you for who you truly are.
So, what does authenticity look like? Authenticity is speaking up when you want to speak up, rather than suppressing yourself because you think it’s the right thing to do. Authenticity is being silly and maybe even saying the wrong thing. It’s being real with people and saying the truth.
I ask you to practice being yourself more often, rather than pretending that you have it all together. Because the truth is, none of us have it all together all the time. Pretending that you have it all together can make you highly defensive to criticism. You can end up living your life with the sole purpose of showing others that you’re a certain way. And in reality, nobody really cares.
So find the courage to find yourself.
Here we are on this earth, billions of us, and we’re all obsessed with what the other person thinks. Really, we’re all afraid of each other because the other person is just as worried if you’re judging them.
It’s natural to care what other people think, so focus on reducing this common fear. If your fear of rejection is a 10 out of 10, with practice you can get it down to a 6, where you can deal with it and let it go about half the time.
Even if you do feel rejected, the ability to let it go after is key. Letting it go means that you’re not letting the fear run your life, the choices you make and how you act.
I’ve seen this fear of rejection across many different cultures in my work as a psychotherapist. We all have this fear, so know that we’re all a little afraid of each other. Dealing with the fear of rejection starts with having the courage to build a relationship with yourself, accepting yourself, and then letting YOU shine.