I find myself sharing this idea with clients a lot recently. This concept of being authentically you.
I believe sometimes we wear masks, whether it is due to people pleasing or not feeling comfortable in our own skin. We agree to things, say things, act in ways that are not true to our inner self. Sometimes it is a boss asking us to go to a conference on a conflicting date, other times it is a family member asking for favors; either way it is out of our comfort one or our ability and for some reason we feel pressure to agree and agree anyway. Then this causes stress, pressure, anxiety, anger and resentment. Why? Because it is not something that is in alignment with our mind, body or soul. So why do we agree? Where does this pressure come from? This is the beautiful thing about therapy, you can work through the behaviors and find the reasoning behind your behaviors. What is your belief system? Are you trying to keep the peace? Perhaps vying for the approval of others? Or perhaps you are being controlled by fear? Whatever the reasoning is, it goes against the fibers of your being. You get the feeling that something isn’t quite right. Or, just maybe, it manifests itself physically. (Ever wonder why you have ulcers or IBS?)
When we aren’t true to who we are it not only influences our mental health but also manifests physically. Neck aches? Tension headaches? All can be linked to misalignment in your actions and who you are. So how do you find out your authentic self? How do you learn who you really are? This, this question alone, may be one of the hardest to answer. Digging deep, meditation, talking it through… all things can help you find yourself. It comes easier for some than for others. If you find that you are having a difficult time finding who you are on the inside and finding out who your authentic self is then you can begin the exploration journey. There are various ways to begin this journey. You can use self help and personal growth and development books, engaging in positive input methods (meaning, engaging in things that bring you joy, motivate and inspire you. Essentially cutting back on social media and mindless TV time). Another tool is to engage in mediation such as yoga, grounding, physical activity and mindfulness. Finally, therapy is a good tool to dig deep and unpack the layers of who you are. Your therapist can hold up a mirror for you and see themes and trends within your thought processes that you share with them. Your therapist will take the things you share in your session with them and will summarize for you. Sometimes hearing our inner thoughts repeated back to us, sheds light on things we had not previously thought of or realized. Therapists will also ask a lot of questions to challenge your thinking and encourage you to dig even deeper. So there are ways to find your true self and begin your journey of living an authentic life.