When I first started writing, I couldn’t pin down my authentic voice.
I would read someone’s writing that was raw and vulnerable and think, “yep, that’s what I’m working toward.” But then, I would come across a writer who was gentle and optimistic and think, “hmm, maybe that suits me better.”
Somewhere along the way, I gave up trying to mold myself into someone else and just started writing down my thoughts as they came to me—in whatever tone and using whichever words felt true in that moment.
I was scared to publish these at first. If it didn’t follow the style of previously successful articles, how was I going to guarantee success? How was I going to ensure that people would like me (I mean, the article)?
I heard an argument recently from entrepreneur Jasmine Star, promoting the idea that building our personal brand and identity will ultimately either attract or repel others. When I first heard this, my body immediately responded. I felt uneasy at the thought of repelling someone with my authenticity.
Then I realized something.
Repelling doesn’t need to be a bad thing. It just means that the people who aren’t in line with my mission, vision and lifestyle are not going to congregate around me.
Therefore, the people who do congregate are the ones who have organically identified that they want to hop on board with the most authentic version of me.
When I made this shift in my thinking, I suddenly came to this conclusion:
If we aren’t attracting or repelling, what are we doing?
Are we fading into the background?
Are we losing ourselves trying to satisfy some ideal we have created of who we’re supposed to be?
Are we simply being tolerated or accepted, but never fully embraced or dismissed?
How much depth is there to those relationships?
When I think of it this way, hanging out in that comfortable middle ground between attracting and repelling suddenly appears pretty lonely.
Through my own experience of inching closer to finding my authentic self, I’ve identified some amazing repercussions of giving up on trying to fit a mold and instead chasing what feels right with my soul.
1. Effortless Happiness.
When I wake up in the morning more engaged with my authentic sense of self, purpose, dreams and aspirations, I am so much more at peace. I feel like I am radiating happiness and contentment, because when I reach this place, my feathers simply aren’t ruffled as easily. I am effortlessly happy, since those energy-draining efforts to keep up a façade untrue to my authentic self are absent from my day.
2. A Heart for Service.
True authenticity and happiness often promotes selflessness. I would argue that when I am living more in line with my genuine sense of self, I’m not only happier, but also more likely to help someone else. I’m more likely to offer a smile to a stranger, for example. I have the drive to do something good. I think if we can create a life that supports our authentic identity, we become more apt to intentionally spend time spreading the happiness we have.
3. Inner Confidence.
I mean true confidence, not an arrogant version of confidence more like self-absorption. Rather, the type of confidence that draws people in and attracts them like moths to a flame. I feel it in my bones when I’m not being authentic. When my interactions are forced, my laugher isn’t as deep, and the connection I’m making isn’t as profound. Those forced interactions, while seemingly helpful in the moment to avoid coming off weird, wind up leading me to this place of overanalyzing and dissecting every word for days after, ruminating over what stopped me from just being me.
4. Life Meaning.
As I have slowly honed in on my unique talents and gifts, I have come closer to identifying my purpose. When we create space in our lives to pursue our passions—even if only in the form of a hobby—the benefits are far reaching. This dream-chasing, passion-pursuing attitude has injected my life with more meaning.
5. Increased Productivity.
When my efforts are coming from a place of intrinsic and authentic motivation, my productivity levels naturally rise. Suddenly, there is a fire in my heart to get out of bed in the morning and a drive in my soul to keep fighting for more clarity in my mission and goals. When I put in the work to engage with the deepest part of my self—the part where my true authenticity lives—I find that the direction of my day becomes so much more focused and clear.
So, rather than spending time trying to fit into a mold, break free of it. Put the work in to rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit, and channel the part of you that is dying to shine.
Focus on connecting to the deepest and truest version of you in order to gain a better understanding of who you are and what you want out of life. Because when you find it and embrace it, when you let go of the need for everyone to accept you, nothing can hold you back.
Author: Alissa Lastres
Editor: Toby Israel
Image: Ryan McGuire/Gratisography