What’s the one thing you are most afraid of?  Spiders, heights, the dark?

Throughout life we are faced with all kinds of things that scare us, but I’m hedging a bet there’s something that freaks you out even more than the ones you know to be true for you.

It’s being completely yourself.

Be authentic.   Go on…just TRY.

It’s not as easy as you think.

Being truly authentic is really hard.

I know.  As someone who used to be completely inauthentic, I have come to realize one thing. 

We ALL live our lives based on how we think others will judge us and that holds us back big time.

We hide our light in fear of what others may think. We fail to stand up for ourselves and others because we’re afraid we will lose what we have. And we don’t risk speaking our truth in case we get hurt in the process.

In my long, often arduous, but deeply rewarding journey from being totally inauthentic to finally owning my truth, I’ve learned many things. So here’s my top 4 ideas to be truly authentic. 

Try them, if you’re brave enough.

Let go of the need to be liked.

Most of us grow up in families where we take on a certain “role” from a very young age. Often we are not given the space, freedom and loving acceptance to risk being who we really are. We’re put in a box, told to silence our truth, and made to conform for the comfort of others. So we jump to meet this expectation because we want our loved ones to be happy and we want to feel loved.

Getting rid of this need to people-please is so essential to living authentically. Letting go of the need to be liked doesn’t mean we don’t need love. It means knowing who we are, so that we can be respectful to ourselves and those around us, and still love and be loved. It involves releasing the need to do what everyone expects. It means letting go of making others happy and accepting gratefully that we must take care of our own happiness first.

Know what matters to you

Our desire to please others also means we have learned to deny ourselves. We drop our dreams in favor of what is important to those around us. We give up on our desires to feel loved and accepted. But when you’re living from a place of deep self-denial it never ends well.

Taking time each day to decide what you want and know what matters to you helps you build self-love so you can receive REAL love from others. Define your values. Identify what is important and what you can let go of. Then live according to yourself and not others.

Soon you’ll find yourself able to invite others into your life by being the real you.

Learn how to speak your truth

Because we have learned to please others to receive love, most of us need to develop communication tools to speak our truth once we know what that is.  Saying what we really believe, our truth, can often result in getting hit with a tidal wave of disapproval from others. So instead we keep quiet and we tolerate. We allow ourselves to be controlled and we hide our light.

Speaking your truth means learning how to express what matters to you with respect for everyone involved. It means sharing your experience of what is real for you with another person in a way that allows others to be who they are. It means making requests while respecting the boundaries of another. It means being able to stand up for yourself.

Share yourself openly

When you’ve mastered not needing to be liked, can vulnerably speak your truth with conviction, and you know what matters to you, sharing yourself openly is easier. But I’m going to be real with you…at first it’s terrifying. The demons of your past and self-sabotage rear their ugly heads trying to beat you into submission so you’ll continue to play small and not shine your light.

It takes guts to be vulnerable and bold at the same time. Mastering this frees you up to enjoy life the way you were meant to. 

When you come from this place, that’s when authenticity shines brightly and the world opens up in all kinds of new and wonderful ways.