The importance of authenticity and living true to yourself is becoming more important as a counter to the illusions of social media and celebrity culture that people try to emulate. Over the last several years, studies have shown that when you try to live your life based off how you perceive others, it only causes anxiety and not personal growth.
The solution is simple but can take time to accept — be true to yourself.
So how do you implement this approach and start to improve your general sense of wellbeing? There are several key steps, and they’re all within your power.
Take responsibility for your own happiness
A great place to start on your journey toward personal empowerment is by acknowledging that you are the driver of your overall sense of happiness. Of course, outside factors like toxic people or unplanned incidents can directly impact your mood. But it’s crucial for your wellbeing that you understand the brain is a powerful tool at your disposal to lift your spirits as you train it to focus on the positive and not the negative.
Accept your flaws and imperfections
Just like the last line of the movie “Some Like It Hot” says, “nobody’s perfect” – and it’s perfectly all right to accept that this includes you. Humans are naturally flawed beings, and it’s our flaws that make us unique people. Take time to understand your imperfections in order to address them. Friends, lovers and others who are willing to overlook, or even help you work on, these flaws are the ones to keep around.
Embrace your unique gifts and abilities
And those unique people with flaws are also talented individuals who all have their own talents, whether it’s playing music, sports, other creative endeavours, helping others, or many other special abilities. Give yourself a moment to appreciate the things that you’re skilled at whether practical (like a hobby) or intangible (like a positive attitude or calm demeanour in all situations), and how happy you feel when using those talents.
Invest in your personal growth
Much like investing in your retirement account will take time, money and patience, you’re also going to have to make some mental deposits in your personal growth account. It’s important to set aside time to work on reinforcing for yourself the fact that you’re driving your happiness and you have a plan to improve it.
Create healthy boundaries
Part of the process of investing in your personal growth is by creating healthy boundaries so that you achieve the empowerment goals that you set for yourself. If this means setting aside time for you to be alone to build your energy level back up and work on your wellbeing, that’s totally fine! Indeed, scholars suggest doing this often.
Say ‘No’ to toxic people
In addition to setting time boundaries, it’s also crucial to set personal boundaries with other people that you identify as working against your attempts at improvement. Toxic people exist whose personalities or comments will do nothing but drag down your mood and hinder your progress on mental and physical wellbeing. Don’t be shy about cutting these people off without notice. They’ll move on to another target quickly.
Give yourself permission to fail
The guidelines above might sound like it’s a simple glide-path to personal growth and being true to yourself, but the truth is you might falter along the way. Let this happen and learn from it. Even the best students occasionally flunk a test, and when you’re working on personal empowerment it’s no different. On those occasions where it feels like you’ve erred on your growth plan, take a deep breath, analyse where you think things went wrong, and apply that lesson to avoid a repeat in the future. With these tips you’ll be well on the way to living your best authentic and happy life.