I have noticed that as soon as you go on the internet, especially if you are not just on social media but are building a website or a business where you share your skills and expertise, then the authenticity issue comes up.
How much of my true self do I show? Do I dare be vulnerable and risk being hurt? Will people like me if I’m me? And many more questions.
But the issue is often a more basic one for many of us. Many of us have spent most of our lives more or less “hiding” our true selves. We may not even know fully what it really means or feels like to be our real self.
In a way it’s more comfortable and safe to hide, and to try to avoid conflicts, criticism or standing out. But while it feels safer to hide, it also feels like you are not really living. You may not know or have the courage to share your gifts with the world.
But do you really want to live your whole life without experiencing the joy of living fully, loving fully and unconditionally and making a difference with your unique gifts?
I was faced with all these questions when I started some years ago: building a website, writing a book, and being present online. I was forced to think about and decide who it is I want to show the world. The real me, or the one I thought people expected me to be?
In the beginning, I held back, but it was hard work. It didn’t feel good, and it was hard to really connect with people on a heart-to-heart-level. So I decided to let my true self shine through.
How do you do that?
To me, being authentic means to be clear on some core values that I choose to embody and represent, like living and acting from the heart, seeing everyone as my teacher and viewing everything that happens as a learning process. To me, choosing to be authentic is also a conscious choice to grow on a personal level.
It’s a choice to be open, honest and compassionate.
But I soon realized that the biggest part of being authentic and being my real self, not just online but all the time, is to stop trying to be perfect — to allow myself to be imperfect. For example, not waiting to publish a blog or a book until I think it’s perfect, for, in truth, nothing will ever be perfect or completely “done.”
One of the most important practices I have for being authentic, personally and online, is to take consistent steps from the heart, and then adjust along the way. It is also putting myself in the other person’s shoes, working on not taking things personally, and practicing seeing things from the other person’s perspective.
When we allow ourselves to be more authentic, to show our real self, then we are also more likely to “divide” people. There will be those who really “see” us and resonate with us, and also those who don’t.
So how do we respond to those who dislike us, those who want to make us fit into their category of Real? Well, it’s impossible to please everybody. I know, for I have tried. Learning to say no, and to sometimes disappoint people, and to stand up for myself, my beliefs or my loved ones, is part of the process of becoming authentic and being my real self.
To me it’s a daily practice of learning to be fully in the present moment, of listening to my heart, and finding the strength and center within myself while letting go of what or who I think others may expect me to be.
What is my heart guiding me to do? That’s a simple question but a powerful practice that I use as a guiding light for living authentically.
How are you showing up authentically in your world? Are you holding back or are you allowing your real self to shine through in your daily life?