Dear Karen Kaye,

How does one find their authentic self?

Dear John,

It is probably easier to begin with defining the “inauthentic self.”

The Inauthentic Self:

  • Cares a lot about image
  • Cares a lot about fitting in
  • Cares a lot about approval (especially to those close or in power)
  • Follows instead of leads
  • Pretends to know more than they actually know
  • Sometimes needs to be the center of attention and does not care who they affect
  • Is usually impulsive because they have to fit the vibe of the moment
  • Has trouble making decisions
  • Has difficulty standing in their decisions
  • Usually goes with the popular vote or what is “in’ for the moment

The Authentic Self:

  • Goes within and must remain true to their thought-out beliefs and standards for themselves
  • Can go against the ‘grain’ but does not do so to be argumentative
  • Cares what others think and feel towards them; but in the end, remains true to themselves
  • They are often misunderstood and viewed as arrogant by the people who are not authentic
  • Knows all sides of themselves well
  • Has no trouble telling the truth
  • Knows how to find their center; especially, in challenging times
  • Holds inner authority over themselves
  • Makes decisions and can handle fallout that comes with a decision (especially an unpopular decision)
  • Is concerned about how others are affected by them, but will not change their moral code to fit in
  • Holds their own power, but does not want power over others
  • Is in charge of their own spirit
  • Perseveres and struggles to get to a place of knowing
  • Is able to deal with sorrow, joy, loss and gratitude
  • Can handle diverse opinions and attitudes of others

Basically, the ‘Authentic Self’ type of people can trust themselves, but also know when they cannot and are willing to seek help…not approval.

Karen Kaye MS, LMHC