Think of all the people in your life – your family, your friends, your colleagues, the people at your gym or your art class, everyone. How many of them get to see the whole of you? 

Children were not born to hide their true selves. Nor do they sacrifice their needs or desires in order to be loved. Yet with time, that changes.

Adults told us what we could and couldn’t do. They showed us through their behaviours what was acceptable and appropriate. We listened to the words they used about other people and learned to modify our behaviours.

If they are loving, we learn we are lovable. If they are supportive, we have our needs met. However, if they show displeasure at our behaviours, our character or our preferences, we learn a different message. We learn to not just adapt in the moment but to mask parts or all of ourselves.

Sometimes to the extent that we lose sight of who we are, what we value and what we need to thrive with ease and joy.

Sometimes you need to rediscover your authentic self……

Doing so can unlock confidence, faith in your abilities and joy in your life, work and relationships. It can help you gain clarity on where your path lies and the values you hold dear. When you rediscover your authentic self, you also discover the people who lift you up, the people who hold you dear and the people who are aligned to your future direction.

First step: check in on your compassion levels towards yourself. It is easy to fall into the judgment trap and give yourself a hard time for wearing your masks. They served a purpose and now it is time to put them aside. 

Compassion also means treating yourself with kindness. Look at your habits around self-care – where could you be more generous with yourself? Your sleep, diet, movement, mindset? What small changes can you make to increase your vitality? 

Next, don your explorer’s mindset and live in the moment. Spot when you are authentic and when you aren’t. Get curious what values are you using when you are being your true self, what activities are you engaging in and who is there supporting you. Don’t forget to explore the times where you feel unable to be yourself. This will help you narrow down the fears, beliefs or emotions that hold you back and making you feel safer to hide.

Also get curious about the belief and cultural systems around you – perhaps your family or your community hold certain things dear, valid and true. These might be from the past or the present day and can prove insightful. How do they support or hinder your authentic self?

And take the exploring to new places, try new classes or cuisines. Visit museums and galleries to check out different aspects of life or new genres. Travel to new places and give new sports or local dancing a go. Got to the cinema or theatre. Catch a comedy gig or attend a festival.

Why not go alone and try out not wearing the mask or hiding parts of your character or life choices? See what happens. 

Rediscovering your authentic self can feel lonely. Connect with others who are on similar journeys who share your values or enjoy the things that meet your needs. Check out eventbrite or meet-ups for events you can join.

You may also find it beneficial to work with therapists, counsellor or a coach to journey with you and rebuild new strength, trust and courage to reveal your whole self in ways you want to. 

Rediscovering your authentic self isn’t a short term; there are twists and turns along the path. Reactions and triggers that make you want to hide and go back to what wasn’t serving you well. Some folks will struggle to accept the changes you are creating, knocking your confidence to persevere. Your fears and old beliefs will pop up from time to time as you start to shore up your new ones. 

Mostly, what you will discover is a new ease in your life. You will find a new zest for living and new people who lift you up. Welcome them in, lean on them in the tough moments and celebrate the good ones.