What It Means to Be Genuine
Leading a genuine life allows you to be the best version of yourself possible. If you are ready to let the real you shine through, then this guide is ready to help you learn to live authentically and become the most genuine you that you can be.
If you want to become genuine and let the real you truly shine through for others to see, then that means that you are ready to be the best, most authentic version of yourself. You want to live the most meaningful version of your life that is aligned to your values and priorities, and you are focused on what is important to you.
Becoming genuine is not just something you do in one part of your life. It seeps into every aspect of your being, encompasses all your choices, actions, and words. It allows you to reach for your most treasured goals and aspirations, and it means you are living life on your terms, no matter how big or small the deed. In short, it is living to be the best version of yourself you can possibly be.
Pursuing the goals that are right for you is the most important thing that you can do to become your true self. When you try to do things that do not reflect who you really are or what you honestly care about, you will not be happy or fulfilled, even if you reach those goals. It is only when your accomplishments match your true needs that you feel completely whole.
Therefore, the key to becoming the most genuine version of yourself is self-knowledge. If you do not really know yourself, then you will never be able to honor who you are and act in accordance with your values and beliefs. Self-knowledge unlocks the door to leading a genuine life, so let’s look at the benefits of getting to know who you really are.
The Benefits of Knowing Yourself
There are many reasons why you should want to spend some time getting to know yourself better. Self-knowledge can improve your life in many ways. Here are just a few of the most important.
#1. You Will Be Happier
When you are able to express who you are deep down, you will enjoy much more happiness in your life. When you know and understand your deepest desires, you are also much more likely to get what you want, which enhances your overall satisfaction, as well.
#2. You Will Have Better Self-Control
Knowing yourself is crucial to your motivation to change your habits. If you want to develop yourself in more positive ways, then you must resist temptations to resort to your old habits. The only way to successfully do this is to understand what triggers your negative behaviors and what motivates you to make more positive changes. Self-knowledge also helps you resist the pressures of society and peers, because you are clear about what is most important to you and do not need to worry so much about others. Self-knowledge can help you do both.
#3. You Will Have Less Inner Conflict
Conflict within yourself occurs when how you behave and treat other people does not match with who you are on the inside. When you know your values and emotions, you can better act upon those, creating less inner turmoil in your life.
#4. You Can Make Better Decisions
Knowing yourself better will inform all your decisions, big and small. Self-knowledge serves to guide everything you choose in life, so the better you know yourself, the better those choices will help you live the life you want.
#5. You Develop Empathy for Others
When you get to know yourself better, you have more understanding of just how flawed and fragile you are. This awareness can help you tolerate and understand others more, giving you empathy for the struggles and mistakes of people who are just as vulnerable as you.
#6. You Become the Best Version of Yourself
When you have self-knowledge and acceptance, you feel more alive and fulfilled in your life. You enjoy a fuller, richer existence because you are comfortable in who you are and what you need to be happy. You are at peace with the world and can shine through to everyone whom you meet.
The Components of Yourself You Need to Know to Be More Genuine
Self-knowledge is made up of several different components of yourself. Below, we briefly describe each of these. If you want to get to know yourself better, it is necessary to explore all of these aspects of yourself, digging deep to understand what is important to you and what motivates you in life.
Your values are what guide your decisions and what feeds your motivation. Reflecting on and writing about what you value in this world can increase the likelihood that you choose actions that are based on those values, so exploring this part of yourself often can make sure that you are on track. Your values are what you find most important in this world, and they include the goals, character traits, and actions that you prize upon all others. When you are clear about your values, it becomes much easier to stay motivated when times get tough.
The things that you are best at and use most consistently in your life are your strengths. These are not only your skills and talents but also your character traits. Your strengths lie in your values and passions, so it can be hard to separate these out, but knowing your strengths is the key to feeling confident about yourself.
Knowing your strengths and listening to what others say are your strongest abilities and traits, can help you leverage these to carry out your goals or improve parts of yourself that are less strong.
Purpose is fundamental in life. It gives you a reason to work hard and to try to improve yourself. Purpose is what gives meaning to your actions and choices. When you reflect on the most meaningful things you have accomplished in your life, those things are your purpose. Finding your purpose can help you identify a path toward career or personal satisfaction, and it can provide you with a way toward personal fulfillment.
Interests provide you with activities that help you get more enjoyment out of life. Your interests can include your hobbies and passions. You can even build your professional life around your interests, in some cases. Your interests can be broad, like taking care of your health, or specific, like enjoying a specific sport. Your interests help you get more enjoyment from life, connect with other people, and reduce your everyday stress.
Your personality is made up of many different preferences, temperaments, and habits. It includes how you relate to other people (introvert v. extrovert), whether you plan ahead or go with the flow, how you make decisions, and your general view on the world. Knowing your temperament can help identify areas of your life where you are likely to feel frustration.
Often, when we are feeling out of sorts, it is because a situation is requiring us to go against the natural grain of our personality.
Your Natural Rhythms
Knowing how your body responds and acts throughout the day is important. Knowing and using your biorhythms can help you craft a life that is much more pleasurable. Your rhythms include your normal peak work times, when you feel the most energetic or creative, the times your body prefers to sleep, how much sleep you need to feel rested, how often you need to eat to feel healthy and revitalized, and how you prefer to flow throughout your days.
Knowing these things can help you organize your work, choose a partner, and even make plans with friends to increase your enjoyment of your activities.
How Genuine Are You?
Not sure if you are being as genuine as you possibly can? Well, some warning signs can tell you that you may need to focus more on being authentic in your daily life. Here a just a few of the things to watch out for, behaviors that may indicate you could be more genuine.
- If you often admonish yourself for things you did or said, you may be feeling shame over not being genuinely yourself with others.
- If you continuously feel awkward, it may be a sign you feel like an imposter in your own life.
- If you constantly feel resentful, it could be a sign that you aren’t saying what you mean or acting in your most genuine ways.
- If you persistently feel that others misunderstand you, it possible they may not be getting a very genuine version of you.
- If you spend a lot of time thinking about getting away from people, it could be a sign that you are tired of pretending who you are in front of others.
- If you are afraid to change yourself or your life in a significant way, it could be because you are focused too much on other peoples’ expectations instead of your own happiness.
- If you are continually battling perfectionism, your focus may be more on impressing other people than on pursuing what genuinely makes you happy.
- If your life just feels “off,” there is a good chance you are living someone else’s version of your truth, not your own.
- If you are constantly disappointed in yourself, then you are repressing your true values and needs in favor of some other pursuit that is not part of your genuine self.
Sound familiar? If any of these describe how you feel some or all of the time, then you need to start letting the real you shine through!
Be True to You
Even with all the self-knowledge you can possibly have, it is still possible that you do not act accordingly. You can become distracted by your wishes for how you WANT to be versus who you really are. You can feel a conflict between your own values and those of society. And, guess what? You also change over time, so you must get to know yourself often, especially when you are starting to feel conflict inside.
So, while self-knowledge is the first step, learning to live by what you know about yourself is the second part. It requires setting the right goals for yourself, then regularly reflecting on your life to ensure that these goals are still in line with who you genuinely are, deep down. Here are some other essential rules you must learn if you want to be true to yourself and live your life genuinely.
1| Decide You Want to be Happy and Authentic
The first rule of living the most genuine version of your life possible is to decide that you want to be happy being yourself. Keeping your heart and mind open to the opportunities that will make you happy is essential. When you make the conscious choice to choose happiness and genuine living, you are more likely to accept these experiences when they come as well as stick to your guns when you feel the pressure of others’ values creeping in on your life.
Becoming committed to authenticity means that you will make choices based on your self-knowledge. You must actively choose to be yourself consistently, which requires a persistent evaluation of what you are doing in your life. These things can be hard to sustain, which is why you have to make a choice and remain committed if you want the most genuine life possible for yourself.
2| You Don’t Need Approval
It does not matter if other people approve of or respect your choices. The only person you need to worry about disappointing is yourself. When you stop seeking approval or validation for your life from other people, you can finally make decisions based on the one person that really matters- you.
When you gain self-knowledge, it can be a little scary, because you must look deep inside yourself and face some of the uncomfortable truths about yourself. But, getting comfortable with even those darkest parts of yourself is the only way to learn to accept and love yourself.
Seeking approval from others will only leave you feeling unfulfilled and alone. You will not become happy because of the right partner, the right job, a bigger paycheck, or a new house. Even if you get all those things, you will still be the same person you always have been on the inside. Learning to live with and love yourself is the only true path to happiness.
3| Your Failures Should Teach You Lessons
We all have setbacks in our lives. But more important than the mistakes you make in life are the lessons you take away from those experiences. If you want to be more genuine in how you live your life, then you must learn from your mistakes and failures and use those lessons to continue to make your life exactly what you want it to be.
Failures are learning opportunities. They teach us where we were led astray from our true selves or where we lacked self-knowledge in critical areas of our lives. Learn from the lessons life teaches you, and you will see how your life is genuinely yours.
4| Becoming Genuinely Yourself
Learning more about yourself and then actively expressing who you are and what you want in life is the path toward becoming more genuine with yourself and well as others. If you are ready to let your real self shine through, then you will need to focus on two types of work.
The first is increasing your self-knowledge, and the second is allowing that knowledge to guide you in your life. Below, we have highlighted a wide range of strategies that help you to carry out both of these goals.
5| Dig Deep into Your Personality
Getting to know yourself means understanding your personality. When you see yourself engaging in certain behaviors, ask, “Why did I do that?” Look carefully at the motivations behind your actions.
Look carefully at the aspects of your personality that tell you how open you are, whether or not you are conscientious, if you are introverted or extroverted, how agreeable you are, and how anxious you tend to be. These are core aspects of personality that can tell you a lot about yourself. There are hundreds of online personality tests available, and keeping a daily journal is an excellent way to get to know yourself better, too.
6| Trust Your Instincts
Your gut is connected to your inner values and motivations, which is why it rarely leads you astray. When you need to make big decisions in your life, learn to listen to that instinct and to trust what your gut is telling you. Learning to listen to this inner voice is important for learning to get to know and trust yourself as well as for leading a genuine life.
7| Identify Your Core Values
The morals and principles that guide your life are extremely important to living as your genuine self. Getting to know what is important to you is a crucial step in learning to listen with authenticity. First, make a list of all the values you believe to be important in your life. After you have this large list, create a second that includes just the top eight most important.
These are likely the ones guiding your daily decisions. Finally, narrow that list down further into your top three. These are the values that guide your long-term goals and dreams. Now, what does this tell you about yourself? In what areas of your life are you living according to these values? And in what areas do you see some room for realignment?
8| Admit your Truth
If you can’t be honest with yourself, you can’t be honest and genuine with anyone else in your life. Speaking aloud or writing down your true feelings, expressing your true purpose or wishes in life is essential for learning to become more genuine. If you can’t say these things to others quite yet, you should at least be able to say them to yourself.
Admit to yourself your darkest fears, your wildest dreams, your true inner grief. Unburden yourself of the shame, hate, or negative feelings that are holding you back from living the life you have always wanted. It takes a lot of soul searching, but this activity can release you from years of being someone you are not, freeing you to live the life you have always wanted to live.
9| Love and Care for Your Body
If there is one part of ourselves that it is most often difficult to love unconditionally, it is our physical form. Accepting ourselves for who we are means learning to appreciate our bodies as well as our hearts. Learn to listen to and care for your body.
Give it the love and respect it needs, and it will reward you with strength and true health. Do not close the door on possibilities until you have really embraced your body and learned to challenge and love it unconditionally.
10| Confront Your Fears
Most of the time, when we are choosing not to be genuine with ourselves or others, it comes from fear. It comes from being afraid of rejection or loneliness, of ridicule or failure. When you are having trouble being genuine about something in your life, it is time to ask yourself, “What exactly am I afraid of?” Naming your fears can help you confront and control them, allowing you to become the master of your anxiety and finally overcome the fears that have been holding you back.
11| Get in Touch with Your Dreams
The hopes and dreams you hold in your heart are your pathways to fulfillment and happiness. When you know what you are striving toward and wish to achieve in this world, you can live a life that makes you proud, and you become the most genuine version of yourself.
Knowing what it is that you dream about, then actively pursuing those outcomes, is what you most deserve in this world. Do not just settle for vague dreams of “someday” and “wouldn’t it be nice if…” Dig into it and figure out what will really make you happy. How do you envision your future self? What makes this dream worth pursuing?
Then, make the pursuit of this dream something you work on every day. Actually chase your dreams and take this action seriously. When you learn to be proud of and work toward your dreams, you will be genuine in what you do.
12| Engage in Your Passions
Find something you genuinely love and do it with all your heart. Whether you enjoy scuba diving, reading, doing yoga, making art, singing, or running, find something that lights you up and do it unabashedly.
Having interests is great for your health, helps you control your stress, provides you with a creative or energetic outlet for your life, and allows you to use parts of your body and brain that do not get much attention in the day-to-day. Interests and hobbies keep you motivated and provide you with fun ways to express yourself and explore who you are.
13| Get in Touch with Your Inner Child
Many times, we have interests, hobbies, and dreams as a child that we lose touch with as we age. Sometimes, it is helpful as an adult to reconnect with these parts of our youth to see how they make us feel today. Perhaps you will discover a long-buried passion or interest that could fuel a new dream. Or maybe you will find a creative hobby to help you explore new parts of yourself.
14| Express Your Feelings
If you want to be your authentic self, you must not be afraid to share with others how you really feel. When you learn to express your emotions in healthy and productive ways, it tells others more about who you are, and it allows you to live as yourself without hiding behind false feelings. Learning to tell others how you feel in ways that will enable them to hear you is a healthy, effective strategy for learning to express your genuine self to others.
15| Be Courageous
When you try to be yourself to others, it can feel very vulnerable, particularly when you are first beginning to embrace authenticity. Have courage knowing that you are becoming more genuine in order for others to better know and understand you and because it is what you deserve in life.
Learning to be yourself takes practice, and the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Learning to be bold and proud of yourself will come over time when you take steps every day to stop hiding your genuine self and instead reveal the true you to the world.
16| Encourage Others
If you want to have more courage for yourself, help others to be more genuine in their lives, as well. Become more curious about your friends and loved ones. Ask them questions to encourage them to share parts of themselves with you. Be supportive of their emotions and of when they share their genuine nature with you. When you see others behaving authentically, it will give you more confidence to act in this way, too.
Learning to be more genuine in your life releases you from the expectations of other people and allows you to live for yourself. When you are genuinely and authentically yourself, you will learn to love and accept who you are, and others will follow suit.
Being authentic is the path to true fulfillment and happiness, and only when you embrace this mindset and way of living will you find peace and contentment in your life.
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