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Freedom to be YOU

Often, we push forward a piecemeal image of ourselves—only showing the parts of ourselves we want others to see. While this might seem like a good idea in the moment, we can often become frustrated because we are hiding parts of ourselves that are essential to who we are as human beings. Self-acceptance is a major part of knowing ourselves. Many people find this a difficult thing to master.

Ways people avoid acknowledging and accepting who they are include:

•Denying certain parts of their personality

•Hiding emotions

•Refusing to admit mistakes

•Running from past experiences

How do we master the art of authenticity when we don’t allow our true selves to shine? In short, we can’t. We might be good at faking it, but something will always be off.

3 Components to Authenticity

There are three key components to authenticity—knowing yourself, being yourself, and sharing yourself. Being your real self is reflected in what you disclose and how you interact with others. It’s sharing your thoughts and beliefs and having the courage to expose yourself psychologically.

It’s the business leader who feels comfortable telling personal stories to the people she works with. It’s the friend or co-worker who can talk about a time when she made a mistake out of ignorance or embarrassed herself by being thoughtless. By sharing stories like these, a person shows self-awareness and an understanding of herself. She shares herself with those with whom she comes into contact.

Sometimes, we get out of our comfort zones to show the world who we really are. There are stigmas that can flood our thoughts of why we shouldn’t reveal who we are. And let’s face it, although the world is getting more inclusive, we have a long way to go in addressing the challenges that exist for many in our communities.

The truth is, in most cases, you’ll most likely be more appreciated for simply being your real self. It makes you more trustworthy and enjoyable to be around, and it shows people you aren’t afraid to stand out. Be who you are, appreciate your own quirkiness, your true self, and learn to respect yourself. Show the world that you are a full person by simply being authentic.

Guidelines for Self-Examination

Here are some questions that can help you peel back the onion of your true self, identify who you are, and accept your inner self:

1. How comfortable am I in my own skin?

2. How can I be more open and candid with others about my vulnerabilities?

3. What messages to myself are getting in the way of my showing my true feelings to others?

4. What kind of commitment can I make to myself to say what I mean and do what I say?

5. What perceptions of myself are helping me to see clearly? Which ones are hindering me?

6. What can I do to bridge the gap between who I really am and how people see me?

See, Think, Feel, Act

Having a clear and open mind is at the heart of knowing yourself and is one of the keys to self-development. The "See, Think, Feel, Act" model helps you to share your true self and understand yourself better. The more you interact with others genuinely, the more you will understand them, and the more they will understand you.

Seeing = Acquiring Clear Perceptions

Your perceptions can either be clear or murky. These perceptions include your biases and blind spots. Explore the underlying beliefs, family and cultural influences, and positive/negative life experiences that motivate and shape who you are.

Thinking = Developing an Open Mind

Your thoughts are beliefs about yourself, others, and your environment. Pay attention to the day-to-day thoughts that drive your behavior, especially those that are repetitive, trigger negative feelings, or hold you back from being your full self at times. Toss out thoughts that are not aligned with your best self.

Feeling = Using Emotions Intelligently

People are programmed for both positive and difficult emotions. From hope and love to anger and sadness, emotions have a profound impact on who we are and our decisions and behaviors. Learn to celebrate the full range of your emotions and manage the feelings that diminish your effectiveness or cause you to hide from others.

Acting = Behaving Constructively

Actions show what you see, think, and feel. Strive to keep your perceptions, thoughts, feelings, and actions aligned with the best of who you are. Behaviors affect your relationships and shape the world around you.

Being your True Self

People interact in the world through these four channels in very different ways. Some of us are natural seers, thinkers, feelers, or doers. Some people can see their way into new ways of acting or think their way into new feelings. By practicing all four channels and aligning your thoughts, words, and actions, you can learn how to give yourself the freedom to be your full self.

As Oscar Wilde once said, “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.”

Much love,


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