Last week I published the first part of this topic and, as promised, am continuing the conversation. For a quick refresher, we’re talking about authenticity and finding our true selves. I believe this is such a crucial topic and these steps are designed to help you find what you’ve lost…your true self. As I stated in my first blog, “To find yourself, you have to know where you lost yourself.” Here are the first four steps, as a quick recap:
Step 1: You were born with self-acceptance…completely innocent. Who were you?
Step 2: Something happened and you experienced some form of rejection. What happened?
Step 3: That perceived rejection created painful feelings that led to self-rejection. How did you feel?
Step 4: You started hiding and lost yourself in maladaptive coping behaviors. What coping behaviors did you adapt?
I go into detail in the first blog, so if you haven’t done the first four steps, I would encourage you to start there before moving on to Part II.
This is where you will transition from your childhood reflection to your current life and finding your authentic self. These next steps will bridge the gap between the young/innocent and the adult/adaptive self.
Step 5: How do you hide today? Which of the coping and avoidance behaviors learned during your childhood rejection do you still use today? Are you afraid of going out in public without your hair done or your makeup on? Are you still active in an addiction, whether it’s drugs, alcohol, food, sex, shopping, smoking, or gambling (and many more)? Are you consumed with your body image and making sure everything is “perfect?” Are you, like me, a jokester and deflect discomfort with a punchline? Do you hide behind your perfect relationship, excelling children, your spotless home or your badass vehicle? There are so many ways that we try to give off an image of “who I need you to see” in an effort to fit in and hide our insecurities. Dig deep and find your vice. Write about it…get honest with yourself.
Step 6: Notice when you shrink or puff-up. Start to pay attention to the moments when you feel small around others, or when you get arrogant, loud, and seek attention. In those moments, you have lost your authentic self. Some form of insecurity has bubbled to the surface. What are you afraid of others noticing? Where are you afraid of being rejected? Where are you afraid of being vulnerable and true to yourself? “If they find out that I am ______, they will think I am _______.” Simple as that J
Step 7: Practice Self-Compassion. Self-compassion is the bridge between self-rejection and self-acceptance. Connect with your child-self and have compassion that you felt like you needed to hide. You interpreted a message and adapted, unknowingly rejecting yourself out of self-preservation. You didn’t feel safe being your authentic self. That part of your journey was necessary, or it wouldn’t have happened. The way back is to have self-compassion and treat your younger self as you would a young child sitting next to you. Be easy and gentle with yourself. If you don’t find self-compassion, you will continue to hide and reject yourself. I wish I knew how to better stress the importance of this step.
Step 8: Come out from hiding. Show up and liberate yourself. To do this, you have to recruit some self-compassion and take some courageous steps toward self-acceptance and authenticity…some steps that probably scare you. What can you do today to express more of your unique self?
The key to a happy life is to live your one-of-a-kind life. The world needs you to be you. I know it’s scary because at some point you felt rejected for being you and that hurt. Since then, you’ve been in hiding so that you wouldn’t get hurt again, but ultimately, you’ve been rejecting yourself. I know exactly how that feels. And I also know that the more I accept myself for being the quirky, unique person I am, the happier and less-attached-to-others-opinions I become. It’s a lot lighter on this end and I want that for you too. Actually, I want it for the world. Because, at the end of the day, peace within each of us will ultimately lead to world peace. Yes, I’m a dreamer.
Thanks for being you…Peace friend ✌😊
p.s. Check out my video on this topic: Authenticity – (Part II) 8 Steps to Rediscovering YOU
p.p.s. And last week’s video: Authenticity – Finding & Reclaiming Yourself (Part I)