Becoming More Authentic: Getting Comfortable in Your Own Skin
Remember when you felt at ease in a situation, be it in a social setting or out in nature by yourself?
It can feel good to be where you are – without having to put on a certain face or act in some way (to protect yourself or fit in).
The freedom of just being at ease with yourself is a joy of being who you are, in the moment – a spiritual being exploring a human experience.
How then to be more authentic, more reliably showing up in your own skin, which is such an effortless and natural way to be?
Here are four aspects to keep in mind.
1. Focus on your strengths.
With strength comes power and expression. So recognizing what you are good at – which also comes easily and enjoyably – is a good place to start.
Ask yourself, what makes you strong:
You come packaged with talents and gifts, which is a part of your nature. It’s in your genes and fibers. Also on the nurturing side, you can develop your interests, and gain skills that align with your being and soul.
The point then is to appreciate your inherent gifts and learned skills. Invest time and energy here as part of your regular study, practice and service.
What might this involve? It might include taking care of others, research, artistic pursuits, leadership, coaching, healing and more.
Developing your strengths expands you as a human being and is part of your soul’s growth, too.
2. Consider your weaknesses.
There are two different areas where you are weak. These weak links are your: vulnerabilities and the areas outside of your interests and abilities.
Vulnerabilities stem from personal blocks and traumas. Areas where you are sensitive areas generate self-criticism, fear, doubt, acting out and withdrawal. You can get triggered by certain people or situations.
But regardless of the externals, the weaknesses still come from within, however inappropriately another person behaves.
For example, someone can give you a harsh criticism and you can take it in stride or fall apart and obsess about it.
How then do you handle such vulnerabilities? They can be addressed by just taking notice and being present. It’s also wise to find support when needed. Plus, blocks can be handled well by Holistic EFT and Spiritual Kinesiology.
The second area that can be troubling is in activities that don’t suit you. If you are bad at accounting, for example, don’t pursue a career with detailed bookkeeping. Also, there may be some areas we enjoy but are not our natural strengths. So we might enjoy viewing art while not having much talent with the paintbrush.
Don’t beat yourself up about it. It’s counterproductive to pursue these areas that don’t suit us, to just continually go uphill.
Once an artistic woman we knew decided to enroll in a ministry program. She then received continuous negative feedback during the experience. This experience revealed to her that she was out of her element, and it didn’t suit her natural inclinations.
But it was a good learning experience for her. Sometimes we need to find our authenticity by experimenting, failing and, for a while, being awkwardly inauthentic.
We can find our way. We may not be a great singer, but still can enjoy listening to music. We can also still be responsible when it’s necessary, say, to balance the checkbook. Or we can get help from others – perhaps if we have the means, hire a bookkeeper.
To sum this part up, how do you handle an area where you feel blocked? Be kind to yourself, be present and get support or healing.
In areas that are not your thing, recognize that you can’t do and be everything – but you have some awesome strengths (as discussed in point #1).
3. Recognize your programming.
Starting at birth, we all received a lot of instruction and influence. First we were oriented by parents, then school, government, media and more institutions. We still get programming from people, groups and institutions regularly. It’s up to us if we wish to follow these scripts that others have devised for us.
Some of this input we can use, some of it we can reject. But to be clear, first we must recognize where many of our thoughts and beliefs come from.
For instance, the advice/warning to “be a good girl or boy” may be well-intended. Or it can have elements of fear and control. In any event, being a “good” child according to your parent’s standards can end up being inhibiting and unnatural.
It’s helpful to take inventory of our inner rules. Here’s a common one: “I must succeed by age __ [fill in the blank].” According to whom? is the question to ask yourself.
You can then use this framework: how does this thinking serve me and others? Do I resonate with this idea, or is it a “should,” a “have-to”?
To offer an example, do I take the time and reply to that email with courtesy and intention (authentic)? Or do I email back a formulaic, pat reply, reactionary words or just ignore it altogether (programming for defensiveness)?
Letting go of your programming leads to following your heart. It develops your intuition, discernment and a sense of knowing.
With this freedom, your body can relax more, as your mind opens and your heart smiles.
4. Find and live your purpose.
Sooner or later, you want to go beyond mere survival. This awakening leads to finding a purpose. In the process, you optimize your strengths to develop yourself and serve others and the world.
For many, this awakening unfolds as your material needs get met. In effect, as you mature a space opens up to explore and embrace a purpose.
Your work and family may be part of this bigger picture and purpose. Your spiritual quest can lead you to the mission of giving, receiving, doing and being to make the world a better place.
Along the way, you use material and immaterial resources. You have your positive beliefs, strengths, supportive people and resources (such as books, videos, podcasts, trainings). You can get guidance from your soul and invisible beings (guides, angels, masters).
Appreciating Yourself and Others
As we begin to accept ourselves more, we accept life more. We are more in the flow. At the same time, we can act in alignment with our purpose. We use our gifts and recognize our weaknesses.
What’s more, we can use our own life as a gift and interact with the miracle of life itself.
We can get to know our own skin as well as appreciate others. Notably, the subject of skin can be a big divider or uniter in the world, in areas such as race and beauty.
Being comfortable in our own skin makes us stronger and more flexible. We become kinder to ourselves and to others.
We can affirm, “I can be myself, accept myself, learn and grow.” So can others.
Curiously, as you enjoy your own strengths, handle weaknesses and engage in your purpose, a transformation occurs.
As you start to own and transform your weaknesses and vulnerabilities, your strengths also find expression. This lets a lot of light into your operating systems. You can then shine that light more out into the world, making it a brighter place.”
Like shedding skin, old ways drop away. Refreshed, you start to lighten up, taking yourself less seriously. You become less attached to your body and more transparent.
As you start to own and transform your weaknesses and vulnerabilities, your strengths also find expression. This lets a lot of light into your operating systems. You can then shine that light more out into the world, making it a brighter place.
Now take a nice deep breath in through your nose now… Know that you can be yourself… Allow each changing moment to inform you and lighten your way.