Be a first rate version of yourself, not a second rate version of someone else-Judy Garland.
We live in an increasingly image-obsessed world of instant messaging and immediate access to a large number of social media platforms. Our social media presence, in this image perfect society, is hugely important to many of us. There is a danger that we could allow our facebook posts or selfies to define us rather than reflecting our true selves.
Many of us are often inclined to present a perfect image of ourselves on our social media accounts, which is ok to some extent. However, where perception becomes more important than reality it can mean that the real authentic self is concealed from others and in some instances even from ourselves . We can present the fictional self rather than the authentic self.
To some extent we all present to the world we engage with, the best version of ourselves. However, if we create a fictional, perfect self, as some people do, we may never get to know our authentic self and we are in danger of living a fake life.The essence of who you really are may never be discovered.
Discovering who you are is not an easy task because it takes courage and commitment to find and accept the real self. But it is so worthwhile because real contentment and happiness follows from discovering your true self, your life purpose and the values you should live by.
We all have a tendency to compare ourselves to others and this can lead us to create a fake self , a people-pleaser with an overriding tendency to conform. By conforming to the expectations of others you will lead your life their way. Your deep need to be liked may therefore define you. Your life is about wearing a mask while you conceal the real you in favour of presenting a more perfect fictional you to the world.. Worst still, you may conceal the real authentic you from yourself because you have never really worked out who you are and who is the authentic you.
The need to be liked not only changes you, it defines you and your actions. The pressure to conform, to be part of the crowd becomes far more important than wanting to stand out and be your unique self. Masking your real identity can be a real strain and you can never be truly happy being a crowd pleaser .
More than ever before we are tempted to wear masks in a fake social media world in order to hide our true selves. Constant social pressures may push us to lead inauthentic lives. The image we may portray in selfies and how we engage in social media could push us towards reflecting a perfect but unreal image of who we are. Some of us may hide our real identities behind false or exaggerated media images because of an innate fear of revealing our true selves for fear of what the world might think of us.
Discovering your real self is a journey worth taking. It has taken me half a lifetime to get to a stage where I could accept my flawed self. That is the first step in the journey of self-discovery. It has been said that imperfections makes us strong. Acknowledging that we are imperfect beings, with faults and failings, is at the core of what it means to be authentic.
( Photo by Ian Dooley on Unsplash)
It takes courage to get to know, accept and trust your real self and it takes honesty and courage to show your vulnerabilities. But this is what we must do if we are to discover our authentic selves. Finding the real you is a worthwhile journey of discovery which is necessary if you want to experience real contentment in your life. By doing so you accept the real you rather than the fictional you. In an increasingly fake world we can only truly be the best versions of ourselves when we authentically live our lives in accordance with our values and purpose.
When you know who you are and accept the real imperfect you then you are moving to a more contented self where you are happy in your own skin. To get to that stage you need to know what are your values because they are the essence of who you really are and what you will become. We can only truly be the best versions of ourselves when we authentically live our lives in accordance with our values and purpose.
Being authentic is about being consistently you and about knowing who you are and what you stand for. The essence of authenticity is your value system so you need to engage in some serious self-reflection to find out your real values. Values shape your actions and therefore shape your character. If you are to navigate through life as your true authentic self you need to live your values and make value choices.
By leading your life in alignment with your values you will reach a state of inner contentment because your values reflect what is really important to you. We all have different values but values like honesty, kindness, loyalty, respect, integrity are common, essential values for good citizenship. Once you understand and take ownership of what is important to you ( your values) you can lead a more honest and transparent life where you are far more accountable to yourself rather than others.
As well as living by your values you also need to accept your weaknesses and imperfections. By doing so, you will lead a more authentic life and less one of self-deception; your greater self-awareness will lead to greater self-acceptance; you will not be afraid of who you are and you will stop worrying about other people’s expectations. Believe the words of Diana Ross- I can be a better me than anyone can.
Getting to know yourself, your purpose in life and what defines you will be a revelation. To get to that stage you need to learn to trust yourself and believe in your own ability to change; you need to stop seeking the approval of others or wanting to follow the crowd; you need to forget unfavourable comparisons with others; you need to manage what you feed your mind by avoiding, useless negative thoughts and negative people; you need to learn to accept and love yourself .
Discovering the real you and living an authentic life can be truly a revelation. Authenticity can lead to greater contentment, more fulfillment and a greater feeling of wellbeing. Finding out who you really are and living honestly and transparently by your values will help you to accept and like the authentic you.
While I am not an expert in this topic I do have life experiences where I grappled with these issues myself and finally ended up more contented with myself and my life. By discovering my authentic self I know that I am now living my life in accordance with my values and not according to the expectations of others. My life choices are now value-based choices.
As you become more self aware you will become more aware of what defines you. You will be more accepting of who you really are; you will not let others make decisions for you because you now know your real self. Be yourself-not your idea of what you think somebody else’s idea of yourself should be- Henry David Thoreau.
You no longer need to impersonate the false you because you are comfortable with showing your real identity There is real peace of mind in knowing your own mind. Being real, in an increasingly fake world, requires us to follow our own paths in life, not ones prescribed by others or demanded by any false identity we may have created for ourselves.
Being true to your values-what you believe in-will set you free because you don’t hide your true self behind the mask of false identity. Your acceptance of your authentic self sets you free. A good place to be.
(Feature photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash)