Have you noticed that the word authentic or authenticity is showing up more in articles and blogs? Are you wondering what it means and how it applies to you?

In my reading of late, I’ve been encountering the word authenticity. When it first started happening, I would pause and ask myself, what exactly does that mean? I’m a word gal and until I understand the function of a word, I don’t normally take the time to act on it.

In An Awakening, I share how a friend’s challenge caused me to take a long look at how authentically I was living. I’ve always been quite curious about what makes me tick and why I do the things I do. So, this question inspired me to dig deeper.

In Think authenticity is about being honest and open? Think again, the author challenges leaders to create who and what they want to be. “Authenticity is an active and creative process. It’s not about revealing something, it’s about building something; and that something is you”. As a leader in whatever capacity you lead, understanding and walking in this creativity and purpose is an important responsibility.

Living with the question if you’re being authentic or not can be confusing. It makes you question the things you do and who you are. If people in your life have not helped you grow in authenticity, it’s very hard to do that on your own. God intended for parents and family members to teach and call out gifts and talents while giving you opportunities to discover what you want and don’t want. Without that nurturing and guidance, you can drift along blindly looking for your true self in all the wrong places.

Being unaware of who you were created to be can lead to frustration, wrong choices in relationships and vocation, and can bring on deep depression. Trauma, such as abuse and neglect, make you question who you are and leave you intimidated and frightened to find out why you behave like you do.

Walking in authenticity is important for good mental health and tied to many aspects of cognitive well-being, including stability, identity, and good coping skills. Here are steps you can implement to start the adventure of walking in authenticity:

  • Start by paying attention to your feelings and attitudes. If you can, name them with adjectives like I’m angry, sad, depressed, overwhelmed or happy, excited, and smart. Then, do something creative like journaling, drawing, or writing poetry that helps you understand where the feeling is coming from.
  • Give yourself permission to feel and be vulnerable with your emotions. That’s where the creative process comes into place. Putting your feelings down on paper is a healing practice that opens us up to our inner selves, that may be hiding. By giving yourself permission to write or draw anything you want to, emotions will surface so you can see what is triggering you or making you feel excited and fulfilled. It’s where self-awareness takes place.
  • Talk to someone you can trust, such as a mentor, teacher, leader or professional that brings to light where negative emotions may come from. Negative emotions that are undealt with can lead to all kinds of destructive behavior. They keep you from being who you are and lead to harm in your body and soul.
  • Examining your relationships is a vital component of living authentically. If you are allowing people in your life that don’t encourage you to be your true self think about weeding them out. They may be using you and this can lead to doubting your gifts, talents, and what’s best.
  • A great way to find out what you want and don’t want is to try new things. Experimenting with ways to get exercise you enjoy will boost your oxytocins, a potent hormone of love, bonding, and relationship. Being in nature is a wonderful healer of negative emotions. Loving hugs are medicine to the soul. Train yourself to recognize what gives you pleasure and what doesn’t. Then seek out what brings on positive feelings and eliminating what brings on negative. In doing these things, you’re also changing your brain in the process and living a healthier lifestyle.

The steps above help you walk in authenticity with your family, friends, co-workers, and very importantly, yourself. As you live out who you are by expressing healthy feelings and doing what is best for you, others will see who you really are. Then, they’ll be more willing to trust and be more vulnerable with you. All the while, building confidence and trust in yourself. That’s where joy takes place.

My relationship with the Holy Spirit helps me stay in tune with my emotions. God’s word promises in Isaiah 11:2 “And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon you, the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, the Spirit of Counsel and Might, the Spirit of Knowledge and the Fear of the Lord.” Ask Him to do that and then walk in peace that He will help you know who you were created to be. That’s genuinely good news!!

What areas do you struggle in finding your authentic self? Is it because of trauma, unbelief, shame, guilt, or ignorance? Find someone you can trust to help you walk this out. For more help, go to 7 Ways to Build Self-Awareness. It has simple tips that will help you.