The best gift you can give yourself in life is to continually discover and express your true self. When you are attuned to who you are, you have the opportunity to live an authentic, fulfilling life. By staying true to yourself, you're likely to experience a greater sense of well-being and satisfaction with your life. Although we have all endured criticism or judgment at one time or another, we must not allow others' incorrect perceptions of us to hinder us from being our unique, bold, beautiful selves. Here are 7 ways authenticity boots mental health so you can start living a more aligned life today:
As a kid, your parents, teachers, and mentors likely encouraged you to be yourself. In order to actually do this, we first have to have some level of self-awareness. Self-awareness includes knowing who we are at a soul level. Beyond our name, job title, and where we're from, we must deeply understand our values, passions, skills, and personality tendencies. When we know who we are, we can then choose to live authentically.
As you develop strong self-awareness, you also develop emotional intelligence. Research has shown that high emotional intelligence (EQ) is an even greater predictor of life success than a high intelligence quotient (IQ). Choosing to know and live as the full version of yourself leads to greater fulfillment in your personal life, career, and relationships.
Authenticity is crucial for your overall well-being because you feel more at ease in your life. Have you ever gotten lost in your work because you were enjoying what you were doing so much? Or, maybe you couldn't believe how fast time flew by when you got together with friends and laughed the night away. When you live in a way that honors your beliefs and traits, you experience more peace and present moment awareness.
The root cause of anxiety is being out of alignment with our spiritual energy. Can you think of a time you felt far from your true self? Maybe you've worked in a career you didn't like, neglected a passion of yours, or acted a certain way to fit in. Whenever you recognize feelings of uneasiness or desire to meet your wants and needs, know that authenticity is key.
Confidence and Self-Esteem
As humans, we all experience self-doubt from time to time. The more easily we recognize, understand, and move through these insecurities, the better our mental health will be. When you are confident in who you are, you are more likely to open yourself up to new experiences. People who possess self-confidence tend to push themselves outside of their comfort zones to grow and strive for success.
As you build self-esteem, you more easily brush off other peoples' judgments, negative comments, or wrong impressions of you. When you have self-esteem and love for yourself, you feel happier and more fulfilled in life. A solid foundation of self-worth increases the likelihood of living a high quality of life.
Creativity and Self-Expression
We all have creativity inside of us. If we lack self-confidence, we might suppress our imagination in fear of what others might think or say. The more comfortable you become with your true self, the more you express yourself authentically and creatively. When we engage in creative behaviors, we experience a wide range of mental health benefits.
When you are completely immersed in something you're enjoying, you enter a state of flow. Being in a flow state boosts your mood and reduces feelings of anxiety. Creating something also floods your brain with dopamine, sometimes called the happiness chemical. This release of dopamine also motivates you to continue creating and expressing yourself.
Living Your Purpose
Imagine the sense of uneasiness you might feel if you work as a nurse, but feel called to be a teacher? Or how out of alignment you would feel if you travel for work despite always wanting to settle down and have kids? When you live a life you genuinely love, you lessen the chance of experiencing burn-out and other mental health challenges. You don't feel like you need to take vacations to escape your reality, or like you're working to enjoy the weekends. Your work and play are all one and the same.
When you live in tune with your purpose, you feel more awe-inspired by life. The sense of being connected to something much larger than yourself expands your awareness. Those who set out to live a life of purpose and be their true selves feel more positive. You have the power of choice; you can live with authenticity, ease, and alignment.
Meaningful Social Relationships
In living as your authentic self, you also connect with like-minded people and form meaningful relationships. As the connection with others is a basic human need, connection with like-minded people only enhances the experience. Maybe you've heard the cliché, "you are who you surround yourself with." Or, "you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with." In order to let your true colors shine, be sure you are forming relationships with people who share similar interests and values.
Those who participate in other forms of social interaction, like volunteering, clubs, or church, also experience an enhanced sense of belonging. When you feel secure in your relationships, your wellbeing will thrive compared to if you felt you didn't belong.
Have you ever noticed that authenticity seems to be contagious? When one person is bold enough to be authentic, it's as if they give unspoken permission for others to be themselves, too. Witnessing someone share a personal experience, be outwardly funny, or open up about who they are, we feel validated.
The more you allow yourself to be your full self, the more you inspire others to do the same. By embracing all parts of you, you will feel more whole, aligned, and at ease in your life.