Are you tired of wearing a mask every day? I’m talking about the image that you voluntarily wear because you’re afraid of being seen for who you really are.
It can be difficult to be in alignment with who you really are because you’ve been conditioned to be normal. But normality doesn’t lead to fulfillment, authenticity does. And if you want to become more comfortable in your own skin, you need to be authentic.
So it’s time to let that inner you out and stop worrying about what others think of you. It’s time to start being an individual that you’re proud of.
Why individualism is the way to go
Part of being your authentic self is to start becoming more individualistic. You can become more individualistic by pursuing your own beliefs, goals, and ambitions, regardless of what other people do, or how they view this behavior.
The less individualistic you are, the more likely you are to conform. Instead of being aligned with your personal needs and wants, you end up suppressing aspects of yourself to be normal. This ends up causing other problems down the track, and it essentially degrades your sense of happiness because you’re not living the life that you want to live.
In truth, most people are afraid to be themselves. We’re pressured into abiding by this image of a successful person, that for many people today, there’s nothing real about them. At least not while they’re repressing the side of them that wants to be unique, who wants to be seen, silly, spontaneous, and creative.
Most people tend to repress their authentic selves out of fear of being judged, but it’s really an oxymoron. When you’re unapologetically being your true self, people tend to respect you more because it’s refreshing. So do you want to be the same as everyone else, safe and unseen, or do you prefer to pave your own path, and be a little adventurous? I know what I would do.
Conformity: The killer of authenticity
Conformity is a big killer of authenticity. Social pressure causes you to suppress certain aspects of yourself and do things that aren’t aligned with who you really are, under the notion that you need to follow the accepted guidelines. Funny thing, life has no guidelines! You get to decide what’s good for you and what isn’t, and that’s the beauty of being an individual.
If you are on a personal growth journey, conformity is not your friend. People dress the same, believe the same things, act the same ways, and live the same way because they want to feel accepted. But you want to stand out of the crowd. You want to be an individual who is discovering their own life journey, and you need the courage to be yourself to make that happen.
Don’t just mindlessly follow the majority. Follow your own calling and base your decisions on what resonates with you personally. If you’re not sure what resonates with you personally, explore! See what the world has to offer before accepting a life that was imposed on you. Follow your desires, and discern what is your own choice, and what is just a redundant social program.
The more you walk your own path and disregard what other people do, the more comfortable in your own skin you’ll become, and the better you will get at. Do what feels right for you, not what feels right for them. Learning to express yourself freely and fully will carry benefits in every aspect of your life. Let’s look into them.
Why self-expression is more than a buzzword
Authentic self-expression refers to the congruency between how you express yourself, and what you’re actually feeling. If your actions correspond with your deeper feelings, desires, and beliefs, then you’re in alignment with your true self. If you act the way you should but feel that it’s incongruent with who you really are, that means you’re wearing a mask.
Self-expression isn’t a single act, but a lifestyle. The more you make a habit of expressing your true self instead of hiding it, the more of an impact this is going to have on your life.
Expressing yourself freely is to be an expressive person, and to ultimately go with the way you feel without holding back. If you feel like doing something, do it. If you feel like saying something, then say it. Your instincts are powerful, and they serve an important function. By acting on them, you’re feeling more into your emotional body, and reaching a state of emotional osmosis.
Why authentic self-expression is crucial for a fulfilling life
Wearing a mask stunts your personal growth because you’re out of alignment with who you are. By doing what you actually enjoy and expressing it to its fullest, your world is going to become a much more colorful place.
Self-expression comes in many flavors. There’s not just a single way that you express yourself. If you want to be authentic, you need to learn to express yourself freely in many different areas of your life. Some aspects of self-expression include:
- The expression of your emotions (crying, laughing)
- Expressing yourself verbally (communicating your needs, desires, frustrations)
- Expressing yourself through body language (mannerisms, gestures)
- Expressing yourself romantically
- Acting on impulses instead of overanalyzing them
- Being expressive with stylizing yourself
- Expressing yourself through your sense of fashion
- Being free with your actions instead of restaining them
- Allowing yourself to be playful, mischievous, flirty, etc.
- Following your interests, passions, and avocations in life
The mental health benefits of expressing yourself authentically
Expressing yourself authentically is necessary for your mental health. It’s important to express your pain such as your sadness by crying and your anger by venting. Likewise, how often do you feel better when you talk to someone about your problems and get it off your chest?
Being in alignment with your emotional body is how you properly process and heal painful emotions. Putting on a mask and pretending you’re okay won’t do the trick, because you’re not being authentic with your emotions.
That’s why expressing your pain is just as important as expressing the positive things that you feel. If you feel like you need to keep everything to yourself, then this will numb the experiences that you have.
- Fast track your emotional recovery: Practical healing suggestions to restore the emotional body
- Powerful emotional release technique to clear trauma
How you can express yourself in a healthier way
It’s good to be a little bit loose with your expression, but you also want to express yourself healthily. That means doing it in a way that doesn’t cause harm to you or others. Being authentic in your expression is no excuse for having no discipline, or falling into habits or impulses that don’t serve you.
For example, if you’re pissed off at someone, there are different ways you can express yourself. If you channel this anger by picking fights and breaking things, you’re expressing yourself in an unhealthy way. Why? Because it’s destructive, and it’s probably just going to exacerbate the issue instead of fix it.
On the other hand, if you channel this energy by having a real discussion with the person, going for a walk and venting your frustrations, maybe doing some sparring or doing something that benefits you, this is healthily expressing yourself.
You can also express positive feelings in a toxic way. If you start screaming at the top of your lungs in public because you received some good news, this is expressing yourself in an unhealthy way because you’re being a nuisance to other people.
But you can harness that positive energy in a way that benefits you and other people. Go celebrate! Dance, sing, and express your gratitude. Have great conversations and let out the positive energy. If you’re in love, show affection, show care, show that love. Be there for your partner, but don’t smother them.
This is why you need to keep in mind how you’re choosing to express your energy because you can easily do it in a way that isn’t good for you, or anyone else for that matter.
- Food for the soul: How to raise your vibration by feeling more gratitude
- How to open your heart space: The wholeness of heart-centered living
How to be your authentic self
A big part of expressing yourself authentically comes down to not resisting. When you get into a state of nonresistance, it becomes much easier to enter a flow state. This is a tricky subject to explain, but I’ve linked an article on the topic below.
For most of us, our lives become an act of resistance, and this is what creates a disconnection from spirit. You become good at putting up walls to protect your image. When was the last time you danced just because you were feeling it? How much do you tell your friends that you really value them?
You train yourself not to do these things, and after a while, it becomes hard to be authentic because you’ve gotten so good at suppressing that little voice telling you to do it. With that said, here are 6 steps to implement to help you loosen up, and follow that little voice.
How to be transparent with your feelings
Transparency is the first step. It’s important to be as transparent as you possibly can be, so people know exactly what they’re getting with you. Transparency really boils down to your openness. What this means is to have no hidden agendas or motives, and to openly communicate and express your true desires.
Most people aren’t very transparent for a couple of reasons. The first camp is because they have things to hide, or don’t want others to know about. The other camp is because they feel vulnerable by being seen for who they really are. I’m assuming you’re not in the first camp, so you need to get comfortable feeling vulnerable.
Here’s the thing. Most people have no idea who you really are because you refuse to let them in. By being transparent, more people will resonate with you, and see that you have the courage to be yourself. Furthermore, you will attract like-minded people into your world, and probably push away artificial people that you don’t want. It’s a win-win.
Be true to your beliefs
Be integral to your beliefs. Your beliefs are powerful, and if you ignore them, you’re going to cause an incongruency. Stick to what you believe in, despite what other people think. Think about what really matters to you personally, and what you align with.
Perhaps you have an unpopular opinion on the world situation. People might disagree with you, and they might not even like you for expressing those beliefs, but if you hide them and don’t act congruently with them, you’re the ultimate loser. Your beliefs, attitudes, and actions should be consistent with your values. Live in integrity with what you believe to be true, and you will go far.
Be sincere in your communication
Many people have a habit of saying what other people want them to say instead of what they really mean. Honesty in your communication will make you seem more genuine, as long as you’re sincere about what you say. If people oppose your views or disagree, hold space to debate, but don’t just agree for the sake of wanting to get along with people.
Sometimes it’s good to be a little blunt. Otherwise, sometimes it’s just nice to compliment people when you’re feeling it or to tell people how you really feel about certain things. Being vocal about your opinions doesn’t just generate interesting conversation, but it also opens you up to other people, as they see where you lie on different subjects and issues.
Stop seeking validation
A big part of why you don’t express yourself as much as you should is probably because you want to act normal. Think about this. Whenever you see someone acting a fool and having fun, you don’t really care that they’re being different, because they’re being themselves. They’re so engrossed in their own life, that they’re not wondering what others think about them.
When you start desensitizing from the fear of disapproval, you will naturally begin acting more congruently with the way you feel. Desensitizing from the fear of expressing yourself is done through repetition and practice. It’s like practicing any sport. The more you do it, the better you get, the less you start to care.
Therefore, start by pushing yourself a little bit, often. You don’t need to do anything too drastic to begin with, but slowly build the habit of doing things a little out of the norm and following that inner voice.
Drop your armor and let yourself be seen for who you really are. Allow yourself to be seen as a three-dimensional person who has their own struggles, flaws, and challenges in life. This isn’t just a good way to connect with people, but it makes life easier for you too, knowing that it’s okay to have your battles.
Think about your insecurities and the measures you take to hide them. What are you most ashamed about? Perhaps it’s your physical appearance, how you communicate, your childhood, life experiences, and traumas. Maybe you just don’t value yourself, and think nobody else will too. It’s okay, these things can be seen by yourself and others (and probably are anyway).
When you allow yourself to be seen as a human being having a human experience, a huge burden is lifted, one that most people carry most of their lives. So humanize yourself, and don’t worry about having weaknesses.
Become more impulsive and listen to your impulses
A lot of people seem to think that impulsiveness is a bad thing, but I disagree. Everything in moderation, but being a little impulsive is actually a good thing. Here’s why.
When you listen to your impulses and act upon them, you’re going to naturally start expressing yourself more. As long as you feed into the way you feel and learn to embody your emotions and sensations, you’re naturally going to become more impulsive.
Learn to express your emotions, passion, creativity, ideas, and avocations. Express love and gratitude, and your vigor for life. When you feel happy, you should express it fully to get the most out of it. Feed your impulses, and let them guide you. Don’t shut them out.