2017 was the year I’d decided to focus on me. I wanted to discover the parts of myself I’d kept hidden over the years, the parts that weren’t defined by insecurities and lack, and most importantly I wanted to be my true self. So, I set a goal to be more authentic. It was interesting to note, as I pursued this goal that it was based in such falsities. Here I was in this pursuit of authenticity when clearly the one thing I was lacking was self-love and acceptance. As it happens though, I came across a quote from Brené Brown which helped me to truly understand how authenticity and self-acceptance were linked. Brené says authenticity is “the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are” . This made me realise that authenticity should be driven by our desire to be our true selves and not by being caught up in who we think others want us to be.
That’s easier said than done, though. The idea of being authentic means allowing people to see you, which is one thing we all fear. What if I’m not good enough? What if they don’t like me? What if I don’t fit in? It’s a constant barrage of thoughts preventing us from showing ourselves. Rather we choose to be what we think others want and will accept. However, the one thing we always seem to forget is that everyone is in the same boat. It’s not a unique battle, our mind just tricks us into thinking it is. So, I encourage you to look beyond the desire to be authentic and ask yourself who you are and what you want to be? Because that is the most important part. Once you accept that part of you, authenticity comes naturally because you won’t accept anything less that showing your true self to the world.
At the end of the day, it’s about our choice to love and accept ourselves. Once the power of making your own choices is there, then any goal you strive for also becomes achievable. So why not try it? Focus on accepting yourself and make a choice to be who you want to be. It’s all easy to say but where do we start? Here are a few tips and exercises from my journey to self-acceptance:
- Write down all your worries, fears and insecurities and go through each one logically and determine if it is true or is it based on an untruth. You have to be ruthless with yourself and honest. Without the honesty this activity will not have the same impact. It’s always worth talking to a trusted friend if needed.
- Use an affirmation. We are hearing about these more often, but they do work. They help us to rewire our thinking and as the proverb by Buddha says, “As we think, so we become”. Some examples are “I love and accept myself as I am”, “I am safe and loved”, “I am true to myself”. There are many sayings/mantras/affirmations you can create that sound good, but the key is to make sure it resonates, and you are comfortable and happy with it. When you are, repeat it morning and night at least three times for 21 days.
- Watch videos or read articles from people who inspire you. I watch Brené Brown, Oprah and various people on Tedx Talks whenever I need a drop of inspiration to remind me why I am on this journey to accept who I am.
I can’t tell you I have it all worked out, but I am in pursuit of authenticity and I feel closer to my goal than ever before. I feel it’s because I’m on a journey of acceptance; I choose to accept who I am and let go of who I thought I should be. I choose to let those around me see my true self. I know it is daunting, but it’s actually quite liberating too.
Sapna Sachdeva, 2018