What does it mean to be authentic? It means being genuine and real despite who you are around. I think Brené Brown explains the difficulty of being authentic spectacularly. “To be authentic, we must cultivate the courage to be imperfect-and vulnerable. We have to believe that we are fundamentally worthy of love and acceptance, just as we are. I’ve learned that there is no better way to invite more grace, gratitude and joy into our lives than by mindfully practicing authenticity.”

Being your authentic self seems very daunting and difficult; however, one step at a time it is possible. During this journey of being true to myself, I have delved into the fears that prevented me from being authentic all along. These are some of the fears I observed and how I have reframed them:

  • Being vulnerable is scary and too much! Instead: Start by being vulnerable around people I care about and that I feel safe around. Baby Steps child. 

  • What if they don’t like me? Instead: Believe that my worth is not determined by how others see me but rather determined by me

  • I’ve been this way for so long, I don’t know how to change. Instead: Dedicate time to explore what I like, what my dreams are, etc. Believe that I am capable of growth and have people around me to support me on this journey

I encourage you to sit for a few minutes so that you can discover what fears are holding you back and then reframe them. After reframing my fears, I then realized that in order to be my authentic self, I have to first step back and explore who I am. I started to discover who I am as an individual by trying new things and being spontaneous. This was scary because I was having all new experiences and outside my comfort zone. In pushing myself I discovered things I don’t like, things I do and things I want to try!

In beginning this journey, I have felt immense freedom and joy. I have made new friends and deepened my friendships by breaking down those barriers and being vulnerable. I am more present and mindful during the day because I am no longer worried about people pleasing. Delving into my fears and taking time to rediscover who I am has filled me with an internal sense of power, courage, and self-worth that I have never felt before. You don’t have to wait to begin to be your authentic self you can start now! If you need some encouragement or guidance grab a friend and start together!

-Shannon, BSW Intern at The PILLARS