What does being true mean to you?

Posted by Christina Zipperlen on

In the journey of life, one of the most profound, fulfilling and challenging quests we can undertake is the pursuit of our true selves. This sounds like a simply stated journey, but of course is anything but.

So, what does being true really mean? How do we navigate the complex landscape of self-expression, external expectations and the desire for validation and fitting-in to actually reveal our authentic selves?

Understanding Authenticity

The true essence of humanity lies in the celebration of our ‘many-ness’, or our diversity. It is through diversity that we weave the fabric of our collective identity.

Being courageous and true to yourself means embracing who you are at your core — your values, passions, beliefs, and quirks — without the filter of societal expectations or the need for external nods and yesses.

In most societies we learn that being our true authentic selves in which we express our desires, ask for our needs, and share our opinions aren’t very welcome – mostly when they differ from what ‘the majority’ says or thinks. And as our instinct of belonging to a ‘tribe’ (which in Neolithic times was crucial for human survival) is strong, we tend to override or push down that which is true to us to avoid the risk of being rejected or expelled by what we believe is necessary for our “survival”. Humans are hard-wired for connection. And so we prioritise belonging and connection (which isn’t per se bad), but at the cost of our own truth.

And one fine day living in ‘untruth’ might circle back around to us in forms of resentment, depression, exhaustion and different forms of illnesses, because our true self ALWAYS has a desire to be seen and expressed and it doesn’t get to and so it becomes louder until it is being listened to.

Authenticity is about living a life that is congruent with your inner self and making choices that reflect your genuine desires, values and passions regardless of what others reflect back or tell you how you have to be.

Pema Choedron writes: ‘Moving away from comfort and security, stepping into what is unknown, unchartered and shaky – that’s called liberation.’

The Significance of True Self-Expression

We should never underestimate the power of showing our true colors. Authentic self-expression is vital for personal happiness and well-being. When we express ourselves honestly, we create a life that resonates with our true nature, fostering deeper connections, attracting the right humans and landing in a sense of fulfillment. It liberates us from the constraints of conformity and allows us to contribute our unique perspectives and talents to the world. Being true creates ripples of courage, compassion and vulnerability. It inspires to be more than what one believes to be about him/her/themselves.

Self-expression is a profound reflection of our innermost thoughts, feelings, and beliefs — a testament to our individuality.

Advice for those struggling with self-expression

Despite its importance, many people struggle with expressing their true selves.

We asked dear friends and community on their experiences and stories around self-expression and we wondered what advice could we give? 

Here are some practical steps to help navigate this challenge:

1. Self-Reflection: Discover Your True Self

Start by taking time for self-reflection. Ask yourself questions like:

  • What activities or interests make me feel most alive?
  • When do I feel most at peace or content?
  • What values and beliefs are non-negotiable for me?

Journaling can be a powerful tool in this process. Write about your thoughts, feelings, and experiences to uncover patterns and insights about your authentic self.

Ananda Soul Moon Journal

2. Embrace Vulnerability: Accept Imperfection

Understand that being true to yourself requires vulnerability. It means accepting and showing your imperfections, fears, and mistakes. Brené Brown, a renowned researcher on vulnerability, emphasizes that embracing our vulnerabilities is essential for authentic living. Allow yourself to be seen as you are, without the mask of perfection.

3. Set Boundaries: Protect Your Authenticity

Setting boundaries is crucial for maintaining your authenticity. Learn to say no to situations and people that do not align with your true self. This might involve distancing yourself from toxic relationships or environments that stifle your self-expression.

4. Seek Support: Surround Yourself with Encouragers

Surround yourself with people who support and encourage your authentic self-expression. Seek out friends, mentors, or support groups that celebrate individuality and provide a safe space for you to be yourself.

5. Take Small Steps: Gradual Expression

If fully expressing yourself feels daunting, start small. Incorporate elements of your true self into your daily life gradually. This could be through your clothing choices, hobbies, or the way you communicate. Each small act of authenticity will build your confidence over time.

6. Practice Self-Compassion: Be Gentle with Yourself

Be kind to yourself throughout this journey. Self-discovery and expression are ongoing processes, and it’s normal to face setbacks and doubts. Practice self-compassion by acknowledging your efforts and progress, no matter how small.

Jewelry to help you express your authentic self

True to Myself Necklace

True to Myself Necklace

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Bold to Be Earrings

Bold to Be Earrings

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Truth of My Soul Ring

Truth of My Soul Ring

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Being true to one’s self is not a destination but a continuous journey of self-discovery and expression. It’s a step forward while it is many step backs at the same time.

By reflecting on what authenticity means to you, embracing vulnerability, setting boundaries, seeking support, taking small steps, and practicing self-compassion, one can gradually align life with your true self. Remember, the world needs your unique voice and perspective — never underestimate the power of living authentically. So let’s celebrate one another in our uniqueness, in our boldness, in our courage, in being who we truly are to bring forward in each and every one of us what is truly needed for this world. 

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