Unveiling Your True Self: 9 Signs You’re Straying from Your Authentic Identity

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In the intricate tapestry of human existence, our identity serves as the core thread that weaves together our thoughts, beliefs, values, emotions, and behaviors. However, navigating the complexities of modern life can sometimes lead us away from our true selves, causing a dissonance between who we are and who we aspire to become. As a psychologist and identity coach, I invite you to curiously embark on an adventure of self-discovery by recognizing some of the signs that indicate you may not be living in alignment with your authentic self.

 1. Feeling constantly disconnected

Do you often feel disconnected from your thoughts, emotions, or actions? This persistent sense of detachment can be a red flag that you are not living authentically. From a spiritual perspective, engage in mindfulness practices such as prayers, meditation, or journaling to (re)connect with God, your higher power, thoughts, and feelings to live in alignment with your true self.

2. Feeling disconnected from your values

Have you lost touch with your core values and beliefs, leading to a sense of moral or existential confusion? Misalignment with your values can create inner turmoil and a lack of purpose in life.

Take time to reflect on your highest values and beliefs to clarify what truly matters to you. Align your decisions and actions with those values to live a more authentic and purposeful life.

Seek support from a coach, mentor, or therapist to explore any existential or moral dilemmas you may be facing. These professionals can provide guidance and the tools necessary to gain perspective and foster self-awareness

3. Feeling a lack of purpose or direction

Do you struggle to find a sense of purpose or direction in life, leading to feelings of emptiness or apathy? A lack of clarity about your purpose and direction can hinder your ability to live authentically and meaningfully.

Introspection and reflection are fundamental to clarifying your core values, principles, passions, and motivations. Create a vision for your future that resonates with your identity. Set meaningful goals, taking one step at a time. Seek inspiration from role models, books, or experiences that align with your highest ideals and help you determine your mission and definition of success.

 4. Seeking external validation

Are you constantly seeking approval and validation from others to feel worthy or accepted? Relying on external validation can indicate a lack of self-awareness and confidence in your worth and identity.

You can cultivate self-compassion, self-acceptance, and self-validation by acknowledging your inherent worth, strengths, gifts, quirks, and imperfections, and treating yourself with kindness and understanding, while celebrating your accomplishments. Practice setting healthy boundaries and prioritize growth and wholeness to build a stronger sense of self-worth.

 5. Ignoring your passions and talents

Have you set aside your passions and talents in favor of societal expectations or practical considerations? For example, remaining in a job that does not align with your expertise or enthusiasm, because it’s close to your home? 

This may seem a logical or justifiable consideration. At the same time, neglecting your God-given abilities can prevent you from living an authentic, full and fruitful life.

Consider the beliefs and values that motivate your actions, explore creative solutions, take calculated risks, and free yourself to reconnect with your passions and talents to fulfill your higher potential. 

When you embrace your unique strengths and talents as integral parts of your identity, you also ignite deep joy and satisfaction, in your service to humanity.

 6. Feeling stuck in a rut

Do you feel stuck in a routine that no longer aligns with your values or aspirations? A sense of stagnation or monotony can indicate a disconnect between your current life and your authentic self. Research indicates that this is fast becoming a common experience, especially within the corporate world.

It may be time to embrace change and seek new experiences that challenge and inspire you. Step into your stretch zone to explore new opportunities for self-discovery, personal and professional growth, and progress.

7. Suppressing emotions and authenticity

Are you suppressing your true emotions or conforming to societal norms to avoid conflict or rejection? Masking your authentic self can lead to feelings of internal discord and dissatisfaction.

It is self-honoring to practice emotional authenticity by identifying and labeling your feelings. Then, express your needs, preferences, and feelings openly, honestly, assertively, and respectfully. Adopt ‘responsible vulnerability’ in your interactions to foster healthier relationships, deeper connections (based on mutual trust, understanding and respect), and an integrated identity. Like a muscle, authenticity strengthens with use. By being empathetic and facing and resolving conflicts, you prioritize peace, harmony, and mental fitness.. 

 8. Living a predominantly materialistic life

Do you prioritize material possessions or external markers of success over personal growth and fulfillment? A materialistic focus can obscure your true values and prevent you from living authentically.

Consider shifting your focus from external validation to internal contentment by activating faith/spiritual principles, practicing gratitude and generosity – expecting nothing in return. Additionally, develop and cherish meaningful relationships with family and friends, and engage in experiences that nourish your soul.. 

9. Experiencing chronic stress or burnout

Are you constantly overwhelmed by stress and feelings of burnout, leading to physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion? Chronic stress and burnout can indicate a disconnect between your lifestyle and your authentic identity.

Prioritize self-care, set boundaries to protect your well-being and prevent burnout. Practice stress-management techniques such as deep breathing, and relaxation exercises (preferably in green space/nature)  to help reduce cortisol and adrenaline (stress hormones)  and improve your mood. 

Consistent use of these strategies will help you to gain counterbalance and align your lifestyle with your authentic needs, values, and priorities.

Conclusion

Living an authentic life is essential for true happiness and contentment. Recognizing the signs of misalignment with our true identity may indicate that we need to pay closer attention to our highest ideals: And this is a critical first step.  

As you implement the holistic strategies provided, be mindful that it’s not about making rapid overnight transformations, but rather, about engaging in a dynamic process of exploration, self-reflection, discovery, growth and progress. It means gradually learning to trust refined intuitions and making decisions that resonate with unshakeable values and moral principles.

Embracing your true self is one of the most courageous adventures you can embark on. It requires wisdom, discernment, honesty, and humility. Every step, no matter how small, is progress toward a more significant, coherent and rewarding life.

Finally, I am thrilled to say that a life lived with passion, purpose, and joy, deeply rooted in who you truly are is uncompromisingly worth pursuing!

References

Brown, B. (2010). The Gifts of Imperfection. Hazelden Publishing.
Deci, E.L., & Ryan, R.M. (2000). The “What” and “Why” of Goal Pursuits: Human Needs and the Self-Determination of Behaviour. Published online.

Erikson, E. H. (1968). Identity: Youth and crisis. WW Norton & Company.

Goleman, D. (1996). Emotional intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ. Bantam Books.

Seligman, M. E. P. (2006). Learned optimism: How to change your mind and your life. Vintage.

Author’s Bio

Dr Bernice George is a Psychologist, Counsellor, Mentor, and Personal Performance Coach, specializing in identity coaching. She is dedicated to ethically guiding individuals who feel stuck, confused, discontented, and disconnected on their journey of self-discovery, helping them navigate the compelling question “Who Am I Becoming?” 

Bernice’s immersive approach is influenced by neuropsychology, NLP, timeline-line therapy and faith-based principles, considering everyone’s distinctive experiences, values, beliefs, and aspirations.

Bernice understands that the process of self-discovery can be daunting, scary, even intimidating. With decades of experience working with individuals from various professions, ethnicities, cultures, and stages of life, she remains enthused to assist individuals in greater self-awareness, adaptability, and authenticity, finding their unique path and purpose in life.  For more information visit: https://bernicegeorgecoach.com

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