This post was updated on Nov 29, 2022
A lot of people experience feelings of isolation or loneliness caused by fear of rejection. The need to belong is one of the strongest needs all of us experience and to satisfy this need, many of us have difficulty “being ourselves” or even knowing what an authentic person is, let alone knowing how to be authentic.
Modern society and mass media send mixed signals by doling out advice on self-authenticity and promoting it as a positive trait while simultaneously suppressing it through various cultural, societal, and family norms and expectations. Most of us are trying to fit in and to achieve acceptance by those around us. This is why we try to present ourselves in a way that is more consistent with an ideal image of who we think we need to be than with our true selves.
There’s no doubt that self-authenticity is crucial to your mental health and happiness. It’s also quite clear that before forming healthy and loving relationships with other people, you first need to learn to accept and love yourself. There are many barriers preventing us from achieving this goal. Many people struggle to discover who they truly are in the first place, and then to find the strength and courage to unapologetically live their lives as their true selves.
Sometimes being true to yourself, being honest, and setting boundaries may seem hurtful to people in your life who have grown accustomed to another version of you. This is a difficult process, but it does have so many amazing benefits to your personal happiness and your relationships with other people, particularly romantic partners.
How Does Being Self-Authentic Improve My Relationship?
When it comes to romantic relationships, self-authenticity can feel a bit confusing in the beginning. After all, relationships are about compromise, and that means that sometimes you might need to back down or give up on certain needs and desires.
However, not all needs and desires are of equal importance. Picking your battles and determining what’s essential for your happiness and well-being is the way toward setting healthy boundaries and having a truly meaningful relationship.
Discovering what your true feelings, needs, and principles are and then applying them to your everyday life is easier said than done. However, it’s the most meaningful journey you can embark on. It will improve your personal well-being and the health of your relationship. You can finally:
- Have a true connection with another person by allowing yourself to be seen as you truly are.
- Instead of presenting an inauthentic, thought-out side of yourself, show your vulnerabilities and allow them to be truly seen by the person you love. This will strengthen your connection and intensify the feeling of closeness.
- Learn to deal with the fear of rejection in a relationship. This is a common issue that prevents people from achieving self-authenticity.
- Stop adjusting your behavior to please others. Without the pressure to act in a way that your partner or other people expect from you, you will liberate your true self so you can open up to people that accept and love you as you are.
- When you stop pretending, even in small and meaningless ways, you will achieve complete openness and honesty in a relationship.
- You will find strength and freedom, and finally, feel liberated from the constraints of an inauthentic personality.
- Learn and begin to hear each others opinions and desires and then co-create a process/answer to the topic at hand to create emotional intimacy.
Accepting and loving ourselves, including our flaws, and negative feelings like anger, fear, and sadness, as uncomfortable as it may seem in the beginning, is the only way that will lead us to our authentic selves. It will make us happier, healthier, and more connected to people in our lives.
How Can I Become More Self-Authentic?
The road to self-authenticity may both seem and actually be quite a difficult transition. First, you have to discover who your true self really is. This is not an easy task and requires self-awareness, mindfulness, and self-acceptance. And then, the people in your life need to get used to the new you as well which can, again, be difficult.
Depending on how big the difference between your “personas” are and how far you need to go to finally become your true self, you might lose some people in the process. Don’t let this stop you. Relationships with people who aren’t accepting of your true self are not the healthiest ones in your life.
When you decide to stop worrying about how other people perceive you, it’s time to begin the process of self-actualization. Take it one step at a time and don’t get discouraged if some of them take longer than you expected. If you’re wondering how to be authentic, consider these traits and inspect if and how they apply to you:
- Believe in yourself and your ability to organize your life according to your needs.
- Don’t lie. Make your opinions known and express them in an honest and healthy way. When you have to say something that might be unpleasant or hurtful to others, try to simply express your opinion without judgment.
- Remember to not deviate from your principles when making important decisions, as suppressing your core values and beliefs won’t make you happy.
- Don’t succumb to other people’s or society’s ideals of success and the pressure to adhere to them.
- Discover your true passions and pursue them.
- Refrain from hiding your feelings and holding onto impossible standards or expectations that you need to be perfectly rational and sensible. Don’t hide your vulnerability.
- Remember, you can’t please everyone. Aside from being impossible, denying your feelings and needs will make you chronically unhappy.
- Stay out of other people’s business. Unless someone asks for your input or help, don’t try to influence or change other people. Authenticity also means letting other people be who they truly are.
- Admit and accept your mistakes, shortcomings, or negative feelings. Being self-authentic doesn’t mean being perfect. Don’t try to place blame on others if you’ve been hurt by not being true to yourself.
- Accepting your imperfections doesn’t mean you can’t work on improving them.
How Can I Develop An Authentic Relationship?
A prerequisite for having a healthy relationship with other people is to first establish a healthy relationship with yourself. If you care about yourself and become satisfied with the way you live your life and can make important decisions, you’ll feel ready for a healthy relationship with a person who has, hopefully, achieved the same goals.
Developing an authentic relationship requires challenging work on both sides. Both you and your partner need to firmly decide that this is your goal and arm yourself with patience and strength to follow through. It truly takes an assertive and deliberate effort to overcome the learned behavior patterns that may stem from early childhood.
PIVOT’s Individual & Romantic Relationship Workshops Help Pave The Way Toward Self-Authenticity
It’s only natural to feel overwhelmed by such a challenging task, as most people don’t know where to start or how to achieve these goals on their own. Luckily, you’re not alone and you don’t have to be, as you can turn to professionals to guide you through it and provide all the advice and support you may need.You can start the process with the help and guidance of PIVOT’s relationship advocates who’ll make themselves available to you anytime you need support. Another efficient way to build trust and connection is by attending one of the romantic relationship skill-building workshops. These retreats will provide you with a safe environment to find and express your true self, so you can finally have that healthy, happy relationship most of us long for.