10 Things Authentic People Do.

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In my past life, I was a chameleon. I always shifted my colors to blend in with the environment surrounding me. I had lost all sense of who the “real me” was.

I did what I thought everyone else wanted or expected me to do for so long that I didn’t even know what it was that I wanted anymore. Little by little, my catering to other people had chipped away at my identity until I became unrecognizable to me.

After a while, I wanted my true colors back. Don’t get me wrong; it was a lot of fun trying on all different colors. I tried on beautiful shades of magenta, tangerine, gold, coral, and periwinkle—but none of them felt quite right. None of them felt quite like me.

Here are 10 things that we can do to be more authentic:

1. We don’t apologize for who we are or what we love.

We love what, and whom, we love. We don’t apologize for who we are. This is the person we were created to be, for the most part. When we apologize for who we are or what we love, we send the message to ourselves that we are not enough and need to be fixed. I used to spend a lot of time apologizing for who I was; I felt like a burden to other people. Today, I realize that I don’t need to apologize for the fact that I struggle with depression and anxiety, just like someone who has cancer doesn’t need to apologize for that. What I now understand is that I am exactly who I am and it’s beautiful at times, chaotic at times, and more often than not, both.

2. We indulge in our curiosities.

We are curious about things we are told. We are curious about what we hear and see. We don’t need to accept anything as the “one and only truth.” I used to let what other people said affect me a lot. I would even let other people’s opinions of me dictate my sense of self-worth. I laugh at this now because I realize that there is no “one and only truth,” and then very often, what people say is more about them than it actually is about you. We stay curious about others and about ourselves.

3. We regularly ask ourselves what our motivations are.

This is something that I have to do regularly. My ego can look like a thousand different things, and if I don’t slow down and try to understand what my motivations are, it can run the show. I have a history of being a people-pleaser. I always wanted people to like me and to think I am a “strong person.” In order to preserve this image that I portrayed to people, I used to do things that I thought they would like or want to hear. Authentic people ask these questions: Is our motivation one that is true to who we are? Or is it ruled by a need for approval? We are constantly checking in with our motivations.

4. We pay attention to our guts.

If something feels wrong, there’s a reason. There have been many times where I have ignored my gut feeling, and regretted doing so later on. Specifically, I have ignored my gut feelings in past relationships. I felt something wasn’t right but just carried on until one day it could no longer be ignored. If something doesn’t feel right, there’s probably some truth to that. Our bodies are intelligent and can sense when something isn’t right for us. We pay attention to our gut feelings and trust that our intuition is onto something.

5. We spend time alone.

In trying to get back to my true colors, I spent some time alone because I needed to stop absorbing other people’s energy for a little bit. I regularly need alone time to gather my feelings and thoughts. When we are constantly surrounding ourselves with other people, it is nearly impossible to know what our own beliefs are. We make time for ourselves. We meditate. We go for walks by ourselves in the park. We get to know ourselves, by ourselves.

6. We speak our minds and are heard.

Always holding back what we want to say is painful. We need to speak our truths and be heard. This doesn’t mean we need to always speak our truth, but finding one space where we can honestly and openly communicate is key to being our true, authentic selves. Maybe it’s a journal, maybe it’s a close friend, or maybe it’s a support group. I personally am a big fan of writing, support groups, coffee dates with friends, and therapy!

7. We surround ourselves with people who accept us.

It is really difficult to be your authentic self when people around you don’t accept that version of you. I remember a time in my life when I had discovered something new about myself and chose to change my way of life. There were people who judged me for this, who didn’t accept me for it. I had to find people who did accept me. We surround ourselves with people who accept and respect our true colors, most of the time. We let go of people who are judgmental and disrespectful of who we are.

8. We assimilate information.

We are not designed to just swallow information whole, yet often times we do. Authentic people make information our own. We don’t absorb everything around us. We ask ourselves: What does this mean to us? Why is it important to us? These things are what make the information relevant to us. These things are meaningful.

9. We know that it’s okay to let people down sometimes.

We are human beings—meaning we are fallible. We will continue to make mistakes and let people down at times. Being authentic means that we are okay setting boundaries with others, even if it feels like letting people down. People that we want around are people that will accept our boundaries and opinions, anyways.

10. We accept ourselves entirely.

The key to being loyal to our true colors is accepting what they are. We are beautiful, messy, and lovable creatures—every single one of us. Sometimes we are the most beautiful colors in the rainbow and other times we are different shades of gray and black. Our greatest challenge is accepting the whole spectrum of ourselves and of those around us. It’s a journey of a lifetime; not one that can be easily mastered overnight. But the one thing I do know is that it’s entirely worth it.

 

 

 

Relephant read: 

Why “Do What Makes You Happy” is Bullsh*t.

 

~

Author: Ali Mariani

Editor: Travis May

Photo: Unsplash

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Ali Mariani

Ali Mariani is the Executive Director of The (I’m)Possible Project, a non-profit organization whose mission is to educate and support youth who may encounter mental health challenges and raise awareness about mental health challenges that today’s youth face. Equally as important, she is a cat fanatic and spends most of her free time with her two cats, Joy and Pumpkin. When she isn’t pretending her cats can talk back to her, Ali is earning her Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and starting her own therapeutic yoga practice. She currently resides in her studio apartment in Wooster Square, New Haven, Connecticut.

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Margie Carpenter-Hargis Dec 15, 2018 6:21am

This is the me I am striving to be. Thank you

njshore2nyc Nov 22, 2018 1:51pm

“Entirely”….this seems contrary to what you write. Do we ever really accept ourselves entirely? 🙂 peace

Sonya Ebers Sep 4, 2018 7:26am

🌸Brilliant!🌸

Susan McDaniel Dec 23, 2017 7:59am

thanks

Angie Stevenson Aug 19, 2017 10:47am

Ali ~ This is everything I needed to hear and more! I'm sitting here with tears streaming down my face wishing I could just hug you right now! Thank you so much! �

Becky James Anderson Jan 23, 2017 11:01pm

Bravo! Particularly apropos in this age of instant, unrelenting information. I find it an absolute necessity to spend time alone to center myself, tune out all the background noise and figure out what I am thinking and why.

Irantha Vinayagachelvan Nov 7, 2016 1:11am

I thought that was a beautiful article Ali. Thank you :) I am someone who struggles with anxiety & depression constantly & it certainly isn't an easy journey, but it certainly helps when you have people around you accept you for who you are. A lot of things in your article relates to me & so does some of the things you are interested in. I love my yoga & do love spending time with my cat too! Thanks Again :)

Annette Jones Aug 6, 2016 2:39am

Okay wait, here's the problem with this that I see happen. YES! Be authentic, speak your mind etc etc. BUT...you still have to be realistic and take care of yourself and not be all free and yourself and authentic on somebody else's back. If you leave what was inauthentic behind and land (or dare I say "manifest" ) in a kind benefactors guest house...you have to formulate a plan. Heyam dukham anagatam. What CAN be avoided must be avoided. Stand on your own two feet. You still have to be responsible for yourself and your needs. I've seen it multiple times in yoga world where people do not....gonna quit my job, leave this life....manifest my destiny...followed by, why is my life spiraling out of control???

Carolina Peña Jiménez Jul 11, 2016 6:01pm

I absolutely loved this! I can relate to this in many aspects, thank you for such beautiful writing :)

Glenna Downs Besnoff Jun 23, 2016 12:23pm

Hi Ali, I like this article very much. I just retired from a very stressful job and my pallet is open to paint the new life of me. Im thinking of temping for awhile. I want to be true to the real me.

Elle Regan Jun 17, 2016 1:56am

Well written, and very authentic. Thank you Ali, Happy to be here (or there).

Cynthia Gibbons Jun 15, 2016 6:03pm

I need more of 1 and 10

Melina Powers May 31, 2016 7:20pm

<3

Susan Puccini Elliott May 31, 2016 6:48pm

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Kristy Roth May 26, 2016 2:01pm

"5. We spend time alone. In trying to get back to my true colors, I spent some time alone because I needed to stop absorbing other people’s energy for a little bit. I regularly need alone time to gather my feelings and thoughts." So much yes :) Great article, thanks!

Allie Grella May 18, 2016 5:57pm

Hi Ali, great article! Thank you :)

Andrea Byford May 18, 2016 11:48am

This is one of the most essential articles I have read in my present place in life. You so succinctly bullet the important parts. Much of this that you mentioned is not easy work, but it is necessary to find our own colors. I can see some of the changes I am making are going to be difficult, but I have the peace that they will be worth it. This meant so much. Thank you!

Carey Be Apr 25, 2016 7:48am

Beyoutiful :) Thank you so much

Hans Fast Apr 25, 2016 7:21am

Well written, thank you. I would add - Authentic people care about others, and help whenever they can. Missing that part.

Alexandra Elizabeth Greenfield Apr 24, 2016 12:48pm

So great to hear! It can be a gradual process, but it's alwasy worth it, Laura!

Laura Derry Fellows Apr 24, 2016 8:10am

Totally needed to read this right now! I'm on the journey to becoming my most authentic self. Yesterday I was struggling with the worry that I have ignored my intuition so long I can't hear it/recognise it any more. This morning I heard it loud & clear & acted on it! Worried about upsetting my fiance, but after explaining my feelings, had them validated & cared for. Respecting myself is never the wrong course & speaking up/out is beginning to feel more natural.

Raul H Molina Apr 23, 2016 11:59pm

Hi, How can i contact her?

Mike Blackford Apr 23, 2016 9:04pm

Absolutely. And INTEGRITY is the cornerstone of an authentic life. I can't be "me" without beng non-compromising about my own integrity. What I think, what I say, and what I do must be aligned. When I speak *my* truth, it cannot be with a disregard for the feelings of others but I will NOT withhold that truth merely because it may be the cause of some discomfort. Just as I can accept that your truth may be at odds with mine, I will not impose mine upon you. Dogma and Labels are anathema to me since they are shackles on the human spirit.