I work with women that want to make a positive change in their lives. Early into our work, we will have a conversation about being in touch with their “authentic self”. They look at me, confused by this statement. They often ask, “How do I become in touch with my authentic self and what does that even mean?” Just for the record, living as your authentic self requires you to know who you truly are and living your life accordingly. In other words, it’s being faithful to the values, skills and gifts that were given to you and utilizing them on a daily basis.

The reason it is often difficult for women to know their “inner selves” is because we unknowingly have built our lives around others and become the “givers” in our relationships. We often take on roles in our families at a very young age and we “become” these roles. This causes us to lose touch with who we really are. When we deny our own needs so we can meet the needs of other individuals, over time, we lose touch those needs. We no longer intrinsically know what makes us happy and we look to others to tell us what we want in life. So, how do you start finding your true self? This is how you can get started:

1. Make a list of the qualities, values and strengths that describe you at this moment in time. Don’t make a list of what you do; make a list of all the strengths and qualities that make up who you are in your daily life. Now make a list of the qualities, values, strengths and goals that you aspire to in your life. How closely do these two lists align? Do you have difficulty compiling a list? The more congruent the lists, the more you are in touch with your authentic self.

2. Do you live your life with passion and energy? The more you are aligned with your true self in life, the more energy, confidence and exuberance you will have for living. If you are not living your life authentically, it will feel like swimming upstream, constantly fighting the current. Your days will drain you of energy.

3. Do you speak to what you truly feel or do you constantly hear yourself speaking to please others? Are you using your signature strengths and gifts everyday in life? Remember, we are not referring to the roles in your life. Are you living your life by the values and goals that you always aspired to obtain?

The journey to uncover your “Real Self” can be scary and challenging, and it often entails taking risks and embracing change. But with that change comes a better way of living your life. Once you have started living your life with authenticity, you will achieve a sense of peace and contentment and can truly find genuine happiness.

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