‘Authenticity’ is a buzzword often used by people seeking deeper connections and life experiences. But what exactly is it and how do you find your true authentic self?
This week Ore Ajakaiye, lead transformational coach at Loa Wellness, shares her thoughts on the concept.
She explains that discovering and nurturing our authentic selves is the key to unlocking genuine contentment in our lives.
‘Ultimately, it’s about developing yourself mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually,’ she says.
‘You need to challenge yourself in those aspects, and become more self-aware, even though it can be difficult.
‘Because it’s when you do this – and begin to honour who you truly are – that you gain the contentedness you’ve been looking for.’
It’s for this reason that the authentic self has become a cornerstone of Ore’s emotional support and coaching work.
And it’s how she’s helping lots of women to uncover their true potential and honour their deepest needs and desires.
So, lets learn more about the authentic self, how to find it and, most importantly, how to honour it…
Ore, what is the authentic self?
The authentic self is who we are when we strip away the perception of ourselves that has been placed on us by friends, family, culture, religion and other social factors.
It is who we truly are as opposed to who we are told we are or who we’re supposed to be.
Why is it important to be aware of your authentic self?
Essentially being your authentic self is empowering; it helps you realise that you can do whatever you want to do. You don’t need external validation to accomplish what you need. You begin to see that you are stronger and more courageous than you think you are.
Acknowledging and honouring your authentic self brings inner peace and stops you endlessly pursuing happiness. When this happens, you can achieve a deeper feeling of contentedness.
What happens when we don’t act authentically?
When we don’t act authentically, we automatically act from a place of fear. We’re more at risk of placing ourselves in ‘victim mode’, which perpetuates a vicious cycle of, ‘why is everything going wrong for me?’
If we don’t act authentically, we don’t realise our worth and we attract things which don’t reflect our true needs and desires.
So to the burning question: how do you find your true authentic self?
It requires a lot of introspection, and you will most likely need some guidance for that. You need to go deep.
It’s about learning to ask yourself the right questions. Which areas should you be identifying within yourself that need nourishing, and which areas need to grow?
Ultimately, it’s about developing yourself mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. The process can be difficult. But it’s the way you truly begin to connect with your inner self.
Do you have any tips you can share about this process?
Through my transformational coaching work, I’ve come to realise that there’s no magic pill.
The journey to honouring our true authentic selves is personal to each individual – and that’s why having tailored support can help you get there.
It’s so subjective: we’re not all the same. We have different life experiences, needs, desires, vulnerabilities.
What are your personal experiences of discovering your authentic self?
I didn’t just wake up one day and want to be authentic. My journey was triggered by a major life experience. Six years ago, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
The fear, doubt and uncertainty it triggered caused me to question everything I had previously held true to myself.
I’d always had a clear mental image of what would make me happy – a good job, loving husband, beautiful kids. But after my diagnosis, all of this was called into question.
Eventually, the illness passed but my questioning remained. Where on earth would I find my happiness now, I thought?
My journey was very erratic, I didn’t reach my destination overnight. It triggered all the emotions – absolutely everything.
I began to realise that finding your authentic self isn’t always rainbows and butterflies. Sometimes, I would cry myself to sleep. Then, on other days, I felt like nothing could stop me and I could achieve anything.
What hurdles did you encounter?
A lot of self-doubt, insecurity and fear. I was trying to venture out into a new way of living, so I had to question everything.
Sometimes I found the opinions of family and friends difficult. Some people around me didn’t want me to change. They knew me in one dimension, so when I started to discover my authentic self, I became unrecognisable to them.
After a while, I realised that it was okay to honour myself and my personal growth. It was okay if people weren’t accepting of me.
I began to spend time nurturing the relationships where I felt I could truly be myself. And I gave myself permission to walk away from those that weren’t serving me anymore.
When you are in tune with your authentic self, it becomes easier to have the boundaries and mutual respect you need in your relationships.
In these rare times, and with the holiday season coming up, how can we honour our authentic selves?
We’re online so much these days and social media can only give us snippets of other people’s lives. So, unfortunately, we’re often faced with toxic positivity.
Tapping into your authentic self can give you a moment to challenge your reaction to this, and to question your belief systems and what’s going on around you.
For example, you may think that you should buy everyone presents for Christmas. Pause here. Why do you have to?
Question what you think is expected of you. Challenge yours and others’ expectations, especially during this season.
Also, remember that your authentic self is not a destination you arrive at, it’s a journey. Appreciate the little moments when you recognise you have been able to challenge expectations. Show yourself some gratitude for that.
Any final thoughts?
I think now is a great time to challenge your perception about everything that’s happened this year.
Some good has come out of all of this. People are questioning their day-to-day lives and their ‘normality’.
It’s an opportunity to change your situation if you feel you haven’t been honouring your authentic self. This year could be the trigger you always needed.
Want to learn more about transformational coaching and see if it’s right for you? Need to know: how do you find your true authentic self? Book yourself a free Breakthrough Session with Ore.