When you’ve spent a lifetime trying to be one way or another for family or to fit it, learning to be your authentic self takes work, and time. But, it can be done and it’s important for your recovery and sense of self-esteem so let’s get into it.

Want To Know How To Be Authentic: Here Are 10 Tips To Nurture Authenticity

“You’re very authentic,” my partner commented recently after spending the weekend with me and three other couples. What he was commenting on was my ability to be open and make other people feel comfortable enough to be open as well. For me, revealing my true self comes naturally as I’ve matured and gotten more comfortable with who I really am.

I wasn’t always this way. When I was younger, I struggled in group settings. Now, I recognize it was a mix of low self-esteem and an anxiety disorder. Back then, I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I thought I didn’t like most people. Turns out, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. I just didn’t know how to be me while letting you be you. For me, accepting others was not easy. How could I accept and respect you if I didn’t accept and respect myself? I spent years working on finding my authentic self, and I don’t dismiss what an uncomfortable journey it is. If you can handle getting uncomfortable, however, becoming the real you may just change everything about your life.

Why Feeling And Being Authentic Is Important

Life is complicated, and we’re constantly dealing with all kinds of people in all kinds of situations. If dealing with people and yourself makes you uncomfortable, then gliding through life is going to be bumpy at best. Harder than it has to be. Being authentic affects so much, like reactions for example. I have big reactions to everything. Let’s just say if I had a reaction to every time I felt embarrassed or ashamed, I’d never get through the day. These days I don’t let my negative feelings rule my world so I can get through the day.

The other issue is, people in recovery and trauma survivors often hide their feelings and think they don’t matter. Recovery means getting over that. Getting real clear on how you feel and why you feel that way is part of the authenticity process,. It’s crucial for recovering people to understand why they feel the way they do and how to feel better when need be.

10 Ways To Nurture Authenticity

Check your values

What are your values and are you living a life that respects your values? Sometimes, we have jobs or relationships that challenge what we want or know is right. These are the moments for you to look deep and decide whether your life is in line with your beliefs. Being authentic means living a life you feel OK about, not hiding the nasty parts in the dark and pretending they don’t exist.


Authenticity is not going to develop in someone who can’t accept things about themselves or live in shame about certain behaviors or parts of their life. If you have a secret or struggle with something, hunting for authenticity may place a light on that so be prepared. So much growth happens when you finally accept yourself as you are.

Lose the stinking thinking and self-doubt

Some of us grow up learning to doubt ourselves, but doing that doesn’t serve an adult life. If you’ve suffered emotional abuse or trauma or addiction, this rewiring of the brain can take time. But, do the work to stop self-defeating behavior. Learn how to talk to yourself, and others, with compassion and kindness. Second guessing every little thing you do or that comes out of your mouth is a waste of time and energy. Learn how to channel that energy into positive thinking and nurturing behaviors.

End the negative or destructive patters and relationships

Guess what you can’t do? Get authentic and feel good about yourself when you’re engaged in dysfunctional relationships or bad patterns that are haveing negative consequences in your life. Think drinking or drugs don’t mess up your life? Are you sure? Does that guy or girl or person keep you hanging, never really giving you what you need or deserve? Again, hard to be authentic and feel fulfilled when yo’re miserable at the hand of another person or bad behavior you can’t stop. Decide whether they deserve to be in your life as you grow. Get help if you need it. 20 years in, I’m still in 12 step programs and love them. Wouldn’t give them up for the world.

Examine Hour Honesty Level

I say this as a reformed liar. How much are you lying to yourself or others? It’s OK if you do, just be aware of it as you journey towards self- acceptance and ultimately authenticity. If lying is causing you to live in a way that is untrue to yourself, what you believe in, or at home or work, that can become very toxic. Lying takes us down a path we don’t imagine when the lying begins. Working towards an honest life helps immensely in this area of self help.

Make Your Feelings Known

People tend to trust more when they know what we want and where we are coming from whether it’s at work or at home. Don’t hide your true feelings, especially if hiding them is making you feel bad. People want to hear your voice and your thoughts. It’s important to know where people stand with important things. Get comfy with sharing your thoughts, as long as it’s appropriate!

Be Present And Conscious About Your Decisions

It’s so easy to get busy and say “Yes” to things throughout the day just because it seems like the path of least resistance. But, down the road, that easy yes may come back to haunt you. Take a moment and pause when people ask things of you, or invite you, or whatever it is. Do you really want to go? When you do things for other people that you don’t want to do it never goes well. Get intentional about the things you want to do and don’t want to do.

Be Of Service And Help Others

Want to have compassion for others? Go into their world and see what they are dealing with and it will change everything. I work in Gang rehab and re-entry and working with this community has radically changed how I view people who get into this kind of trouble. But, had I never known them, I wouldn’t know what they are dealing with in life.

Explore Your Passions In Life And Work

In my experience, the happiest people like what they do for a living and like their home life. For me, it was harder than I thought it would be to figure out what I love to do and how to make it work in real life. It took quite some time, but the fact that I enjoy my life today makes waking up in the morning that much easier. Love your life and authenticity comes easier.

Seek To Improve

The secret I’ve discovered to better self-esteem, self-talk, and being authentic is by improving. When you’re focused on getting better at things, your mind isn’t obsessed about why something isn’t happening or other negative ideas.

Check out my book 100
Tips For Growing Up

100 tips for growing up woman reading in bathtub

Take this test from Psychology Today to see if you engage in any self-sabotaging behavior.

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Lindsey Glass

Lindsey Glass is the co-founder of Reach Out Recovery. Her 2016 ASAM Media Award winning documentary, The Secret World Of Recovery, has helped to lift the stigma from addiction and recovery and is used in recovery programs nationwide to show what life is like on the other side of addiction. Lindsey's teen prevention documentary, The Silent Majority, was distributed to PBS stations nationwide by American Public Television in 2014-15. Lindsey has written dozens of popular articles on recovery. She is a recovery advocate and frequent keynote speaker. Lindsey is the author of 100 Tips for Growing Up, My 20 Years of Recovery, 2019. Before focusing on recovery, Lindsey was a TV and screenwriter. She has worked in publishing, web development, and marketing.

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