What It Truly Means To Be Your Most ‘Authentic Self’

What It Truly Means To Be Your Most ‘Authentic Self’
Photo by George Prentzas / Unsplash

I remember growing up, especially in high school, always hearing these quotes that I thought were extremely cringe-y at the time about being ‘your true self’, to ‘always be you’ and ‘to never lose yourself’. I failed to understand what that even meant. got it.

Like why am I being told to be…me? I AM me. Why would someone take me away from me? How is that even possible?

As you can see, my lack of perspective and inability to grasp any complex concept at that age clearly contributed to the naivety of my response but, seriously, it didn’t make a sense! Of course, I was going to always be true to myself, it’s the most easiest thing I know how to do, is it not?

Lo and behold, young Zara – fast forward a few years, and you’re sitting in an illustrious cafe, iced coffee to your right (what?!) and blabbing about… yep, being your ‘authentic self’, so surely something must have clicked along the way, girl.

Let me explain;

When I hit twenty, I received a text from my eldest brother. He’s the more emotional intelligent one out of the sibling clan – so you know, his words always hit deep.

Amidst praising my character and telling me how proud he is of the person I’m evolving into, he left me with advice that I swore to myself I’d fulfil for the rest of my life.

The advice went something along the lines of this:

“The most important thing I always want you to remain is self-aware, confident and morally just. If you have this in your tank, you can’t veer off’.’

They say you always hear things when you most need it and when he sent this to me, it felt like those three core aspects he described were the very things that were seeping through my fingertips like quick sand. I was at a stage in my life where I was losing my confidence because of social pressures and continuous worldly knock-backs, and I was caring too much about what others thought of me in order to fit a certain social identity.

I’m a mahoosive over-thinker.

If there’s one thing that has stopped me from bringing to bear my true, weird self, it’s the question of ‘how are people perceiving me right now?’ Man, I hate this question yet it always stayed so prevalent in my mind.

I thought, if I was to truly let my personality shine through and be whoever it is that I am without trying to fit any sort of ideal image, I would be in my most vulnerable state – and boy, did that scare the life out of me! (Still does)

It needed to stop scaring me and that was the challenge I set myself.

I once heard this question, “what relationship do you have with your actions and behaviour? Are they coming from you, or are they the result of everything BUT you?”

In other words;

Am I making choices because I believe that’s what will make me feel at peace, or is my decision-making off the back of what will keep other people content?

The moment we start to realise that we’ve been naturally constructed in such unique, differential ways and that our soul will only be content when we we are being our authentic selves, only then will we be able to exert high self-awareness and emotional intelligence.

Remember this; nobody is out there living their life and making choices according to what you want, so what do you really think you owe to the masses?

You owe it to yourself to be honest and to never let your authenticity conflict with the ‘socially approved criteria’ that will continue to change with the times anyways.