Authenticity: What It Means to Be Yourself

Authenticity: What It Means to Be Yourself - She Sweats Diamonds - animal print dress - Sam Edelman sandals - Rebecca Taylor dress - summer outfit idea This is me. Actually, this is the silly side of me. Still me though. And if I’m being real, this really is me when I’m out shooting outfits for you guys. It also helps when you have a funny iPhone photo expert telling you to “Work it, girl!” (I’m looking at you, Rachie, haha!) Honestly, I never posted this photo of me for several reasons: 1) I felt like it was too cheesy and 2) I wondered if it was “on point” for my brand. And if I’m being honest, I regret not posting this particular image sooner because being silly is part of who I am. I felt like to be taken seriously, I had to show my serious side. I also felt like I was burying parts of the real me and eventually, I got frustrated because I knew I had lost myself in the process. Speaking of, sometimes, life knocks you off course and you get lost. You don’t feel like you are yourself and wonder who you’ve become. Going back to old social media posts and photos, you really wonder, “What happened to me? I used to be ::insert adjective here:: during this time of my life.” And the thing is, you were much happier too, am I right?

That was me.

Have you ever done that? Notifications pop up on Facebook and it reminds you of memories from the past and you start thinking, “I miss those days and I miss the real me. What happened?”  Not only did you lose sense of self, but you really lost yourself. And if you start reflecting hard enough, you’ll begin to try really hard to figure out who you are and why you’ve “changed” so much. Before we get into this, we need to answer a pretty deep question:

What does it mean to be yourself?

To me, there are four characteristics that encompass being yourself: 

YOU ARE COMFORTABLE IN YOUR OWN SKIN

When you’re comfortable in your own skin, you’re not working to impress any guy/girl or anyone. You are living in complete freedom expressing who you are without thinking about what others think about you. You’re not fake laughing, trying to crack jokes or faking an interest in something just to gain someone’s approval of you. You have your own voice and opinions and you’re comfortable with who you are. You are being your authentic self and being authentic is what it means to be yourself.

UNDERSTAND THAT THERE ARE MULTIPLE SIDES OF YOU

It took a long time for me to realize that there are multiple sides of me. Until Marie Forleo talked about how it was okay to be multi-passionate, I always thought I had to pursue one kind of career and be a single-sided person. Realistically, there’s a work Huong, writer Huong, video games Huong, family Huong and a definite hanging-out-with-friends Huong. I interact and behave differently in each of those roles. The same goes for you too. There’s a work version of you, a family version of you, the real you when you’re with your friends, etc. However, the key to being your true self is to not limit your behavior in each of those roles. And if we’re doing that, we’re still being our authentic selves.

DON’T LET CIRCUMSTANCES CHANGE YOU

I understand we’ve all had bad experiences happen to us. It’s a part of life and the truth of the matter is, life isn’t fair and never will be. Whether you’ve been burned at a workplace or through relationships, don’t let what you’re going through (or went through) to change you and who you are. Let negative experiences change your perspective not who you are. Click To Tweet And most importantly? Let negative experiences affect your mindset in a positive way rather than let it affect you from a negative standpoint. When you practice this enough times, you’ll know how to approach a similar situation in the future, handle it better than you did the first time without compromising who you are. That’s what it means to truly be yourself.

DON’T HOLD BACK

Have you ever changed the way you speak when you’re around others? How about wondering about what they’re thinking about you so much that you don’t say anything? Hesitating as you express yourself is limiting yourself. Altering the way you behave because you care about what others think about you is not being yourself. However, when you speak and behave (while being aware of others feelings, of course) freely, you are being yourself. Just be yourself without hesitation.

So, if you feel like you don’t know who you are or feel like you’ve lost yourself, how can you be yourself again?

Answer: We don’t need to try hard to figure out ourselves. Put your hand over your heart. You feel that? What you’ll end up realizing is that while you felt lost, you are still YOU because your heart will always lead you back to who you really are. The search to finding ourselves is not in titles or status, what we do for a living nor how much money we have, but who we are inside. You shouldn’t have to hide what you love/enjoy out of life just to fit someone else’s mold of who they think you should be. You’ll come to learn that when you stop trying to change yourself to impress or gain the approval of others is when you feel most free. I believe that’s what being yourself is all about. You’ve always been you and that’s the best part of finding yourself. Put your hand over your heart again. You feel that? It’s called PURPOSE. The world has plenty of copycats, but there’s only one of YOU! Now go! Own yourself and be comfortable in your own skin because you are fearfully and wonderfully made! ON PURPOSE.

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