How to Be Yourself: The Power of Being Authentic

The very fact that people wonder “how to be yourself?” (or “how can I be myself?”) ought to be a puzzle, right? But really it isn’t. Because the fact is that most of us are not being ourselves.

Instead we’re being nice, socialized, well-behaved, productive, conform, normal etc. – or we’re being the opposite of those things in a counter-reaction – but one thing we’re NOT being is authentic. Which is too bad for us!

Why would we want to be authentic? What’s so great about authenticity?

Why the Art of Being Yourself Is Worth Pursuing

Picture quote by Soren Lauritzen - Some benefits of authenticity, being who you really are. Image: Proud tiger in the jungle.

Short answer, the benefits of authenticity include e.g.:

• Being authentic works better than all the alternatives
• It feels super-great, too
• It is the basis of a great life …
• … and of happiness, too
• Being authentic is the opposite of being a helpless victim, so …
• … it’s personal empowerment in a nutshell


• It’s being what you were meant to be … obviously!

So seriously, what’s not to love?

You should be going for authenticity, full tilt, no holds barred! We all should!

I myself have been – and still am – doing just that … even if I am only now realizing that this was what I was (and am) doing. There have been some seemingly tough decisions along the way, but I am absolutely loving it. I bet you will, too. Anyone would.

So … isn’t it time now to just be yourself?

“We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.”
~ May Sarton ~ (1912-1995), American novelist, poet and, perhaps most notably, writer of memoirs.

How to Be Authentically Yourself – a Quote and a Definition

Here, in the form of a short be yourself quote, is the brief version of what I have to say about authenticity:

Authenticity is fearlessly and lovingly being the whole you … and doing it, too.
~ Soren Lauritzen ~

The full version of my personal authenticity definition is this:

Authenticity is consciously choosing to let your identity, your world-view and the life you live reflect that-which-is.

(That-which-is means truth and absolute reality – or at least reality in a not-very-relative but more absolute version).

Or, to put that differently, you’re being authentic when you choose to embody as much of the wholeness that is you as you can.

This likely means letting the Home level of your consciousness (which might be called your”essence”, or “core”, or “intuition”, or your “real/true self”, or even your “soul”) take much of the lead in thoughts, words, deeds, etc., but fully accepting and integrating your not-so-true self (e.g. your ego, dark sides (shadow) and old habits) too – the good, the fun and the ugly.

So, authenticity is being and living from your essence (the Home level of consciousness), but fearlessly and lovingly being ALL of you … and doing it, too.
~ Soren Lauritzen ~

Being authentic has been defined in many different ways, which is hardly surprising since we’re all unique and so being ourselves means something different for each of us. There’s a pattern, though, a general rule which has to do with finding our core, not pretending, being honest and “real”, and acting accordingly.

As you can see, my personal focus is a lot on wholeness and the Home level of consciousness, the true you, your essence, that which others have called your core (or even “soul”). To me, your true self, your authentic self is the package deal (wholeness) that contains EVERYTHING that is you, and as it happens your essence (Home or “soul”) is a big part of that. (Farther below, I present some suggestions that might make getting to know your true self a bit easier).

So, then. Now, that we’ve got an authenticity definition and the answer to the “what does authenticity mean?” question, HOW do we do it? How do we set ourselves on the path of authenticity?

A Few Keys for Us

In this endeavor – to be all of who we really are and live it, too – a few things are key:

– playfulness
– investigation
– experimentation
– acceptance
– letting go
– choice

The latter, choice, is the primary key. Being authentic is nothing more than a choice. Be who you really are – or not. Just be yourself – or not. Your choice.

Of course most of the time we don’t experience it as being that simple. There are factors, circumstances, situations, people, and of course our own habits and egos, that we feel we have to contend with. We have to consider these things, right? We couldn’t just go about being who we really are, just like that! 🙂

Well, then. We could also get along fine with either just letting go and choice, or acceptance and choice … if we were able to do it wholesale. (You know, unconditionally choose to let go and/or choose to unconditionally accept – in lots of different areas).

However, most of us aren’t able to do wholesale letting go or accepting – we need to know WHAT it is we’re asking ourselves to accept and/or let go of before we can do it, and THEN choose to do it.

So … we investigate and explore first. Make sure that our choice is a good one, the right one. That’s why we read texts like this one.

Then we experiment to see if we were right.

Self exploration, investigation and experimentation are the areas where a playful attitude is especially useful. Being playful is excellent for learning and growing. However, playfulness is in fact all-round useful.

For instance, playing around is a good way to get familiar with letting go and acceptance – as well a good way to deal with choice. One of the main benefits of playfulness is the light touch it fosters: when you’re playing around you don’t take things too seriously, but you do make choices easily, try things out, and you allow your self to make lots of “mistakes” that you simply “correct” by making new choices.

“You’ll learn, as you get older, that rules are made to be broken. Be bold enough to live life on your terms, and never, ever apologize for it. Go against the grain, refuse to conform, take the road less traveled instead of the well-beaten path. Laugh in the face of adversity, and leap before you look. Dance as though EVERYBODY is watching. March to the beat of your own drummer. And stubbornly refuse to fit in.”
~ Mandy Hale ~ (from “The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass“)

A Few Keys Targets for Us

Anyway, given our keys, we need something to unlock, something to focus on. Here are three targets on the way to being authentic and living accordingly:

The First Authenticity Target: Know Thyself and Reality

This is Authenticity Target no. 1:

Learning intellectually and experiencing in practice who we are on the level of ego and the level of essence (soul, Home), as well as learning and experiencing the difference between relative (personal) reality and absolute reality (that-which-is).

As you can see, it’s not just a matter of understanding the two types of identity and the two types of reality on an intellectual level. We also need an experiential understanding. Luckily, there are several ways to get that (we’ll get back to that, with links, in a moment).

Our Ego

As mentioned, our ego is a basically a software program, an artificial intelligence, we’re running in our minds. It’s a fear-based survival program, and our primary coping mechanism. But apart from that, our ego really isn’t a very big part of who we really are. It’s more than smallish, actually, it’s petite.

Our predictable human ego is just a software program we're running in our minds. Image: A naked maiden looking in a mirror near a peacock with death lurking behind her.

We’re so used to running this program, that much of the time we’re actually identified with it. We think we are our ego, and that our ego is who we are – which is very far from the truth, indeed.

(The fact that the obsolescent traditional Western psychology is of the same opinion and can’t seem to see beyond the ego doesn’t exactly help matters – there is light at the end of the tunnel, though, in the form of transpersonal psychology – a much more modern and mature form of Western psychology).

Learning about the ego, for instance via the Enneagram of personality (an ancient system that describes the nine varieties of ego – yep, there are only nine, serving 7.5 billion people and counting), can help us notice the total predictability of the program and thus un-identify with it. Ultimately the point of using the Enneagram to put our ego into one of the nine boxes is to make it easier for us to GET OUT of that box (to un-identify with our ego).

It may sound weird spending time learning about the ego, when it’s actually not that important in the totality of who we are, but the fact of the matter is that we’re terribly confused when it comes to our identity, and we desperately need to get “un-confused”. The ultimate point of learning about the ego – apart from clearing up an old and annoyingly persistent case of mistaken identity – is this:

With regards to the artificial intelligence that is our ego, we come to realize that we’re the programmers, not the program. And then we’re not only hugely empowered, we’re free!

Our Essence (the Home Level of Our Identity)

Our essence is less easy to describe in everyday words, perhaps because it transcends the ordinary. The essence is, as mentioned, a level of identity that feels like coming Home (with a capital H). Where the ego is fear-based, the essence is love-based, and not just any love, but unconditional love.

Other states of being that characterize the essence are freedom, spaciousness, timelessness, joy, happiness, inner peace, wholeness and a sense of meaning – to name the ones people most often mention when they experience their essence.

It is important to know that it is actually fairly easy to experience the level of being that is the essence. Several techniques exist that can help, including ‘The Journey‘ by Brandon Bays and ‘The Let Go Method‘ by yours truly (Soren Lauritzen).

The Two Basic Types of Reality

While there’s often talk of several types of reality (like for example, “consensus reality”, “personal reality”, “cultural reality”, “political reality”, “virtual reality” and “absolute reality” and more), conceptually there are only two types of reality:

– personal reality, which is small and based on relativity (something opposed to something else)
– absolute reality a.k.a. that-which-is, which is big, non-relative and contains everything

Ultimately of course, there is only one reality, namely that-which-is a.k.a. absolute reality. It contains every single personal reality there is, in fact, it contains everything there is.

Since the culture we grew up in (no matter which culture) is largely based on relativity, we’re not used to wrapping our brains around something that’s not relative. We have trouble even thinking about something that’s infinite, unlimited and has no opposite, but contains all opposites (so it is both “good” AND “bad”, and both “big” AND “small”, and both “beautiful” AND “ugly”, etc. etc. at the same time). How can something like that be?

Well, it IS.

That’s actually one of the wisest and most precise things we can say about absolute reality: it IS. It just IS.

Absolute reality is everything, absolutely all there is. And, if I’m not mistaken, absolute reality is consciousness; total, absolute, unlimited consciousness which contains, nay, which IS life, the universe and everything.

There you go. You’ve just had both relative (personal) reality and absolute reality (that-which-is) explained to you intellectually. Next, please go and EXPERIENCE absolute reality for yourself (e.g. on inner journeys in consciousness), so that your understanding becomes intimate and personal.

In Short

Making ourselves familiar with both ego and essence as well as both relative and absolute reality – on both an intellectual and an experiential level – is a fine first target.

The Second Authenticity Target: Letting Go

This is Authenticity Target no. 2:

Finding and letting go of everything in ourselves (and our lives) that pains and limits us.

We’re primarily looking for painful and limiting mindsets, beliefs, needs and habits; but checking out feelings, physical health, relationships, trust issues, shadow sides and more doesn’t hurt either. (A hint: look for fear related stuff. Fear equals limitation, and in addition to making us stupid, fear always causes pain).

Until we switch our perspective (and identity) to a more extensive one (than body and ego in a mechanical-physical paradigm) the areas I just mentioned (mindsets, beliefs, needs, etc. – and fear) affect every part of our lives, from our family life, to our work life, to our friendships, to our sex life – anything you care to mention.

Please note, most of us need to take one step at time in one big area of life only. Some of us can handle changes in two big areas at the same time, but pretty much nobody can do more than three simultaneously, it’s just too exhausting. It doesn’t actually matter too much which area(s) we pick, it could be work, or beliefs, or love relationships, or needs, or health (physical, mental, emotional or energetic), or family, or mindsets, or anything else, really.

Once we have let go or genuinely accepted and let go of enough to start feeling reasonably whole in one area of our lives, we can make a positive choice as to how we want ourselves and our lives to be in that area; this choice is then based on honest preference, not old habits, cultural norms or other people’s expectations, nor indeed anything else that’s fear-based. It’s simply based on conscious preference.

After that, we move on to the next big area of our lives.

The Third Authenticity Target: Expanding Our Identity, etc.

This is Authenticity Target no. 3:

Switching our identity, perspective and paradigm from being small, narrow, fear-based, conditional and mechanical-physical over to being bigger, wider (more expanded), unconditional and love + consciousness based (looking into quantum mechanics is optional).

Clearly, this is a big one. Momentous. But again, we can take one step at a time. We can even make those steps baby steps, if we prefer.

Three targets on the path to authenticity. Image: Three arrows in the bullseye of a target.

Incidentally, going for authenticity targets one and two will ultimately lead to us reaching authenticity target three. So there’s that. But knowing where what we are on the way to helps, and we can even choose to go straight for it from the very beginning and make this our target number one.

Continuously Living Our New Truth in Practice

This is isn’t an authenticity target in itself, it’s more of a continuously moving target that we can aim for from day one.

Every time we evolve and expand by learning something new about ourselves or reality, we can and should choose to let that new understanding have positive, practical consequences in our daily lives. Our daily lives and our entire life experience should get better. Sometimes a little bit, sometimes a lot, but certainly most of the time.

That’s not too much to ask. And after all, when you think about it very few things are as important as our life experience – it more or less why we’re here, isn’t it, to experience!

How to Be Authentically Yourself: What’s NOT Enough

I may be repeating myself now, but all things considered, I think it’s a good idea. So.

Picture quote by Soren Lauritzen on authenticity and being yourself. Image: A dusky sky, sundown, lake and tree silhouettes reflected in water.

Authenticity is consciously choosing to let your identity, your world-view and the life you live reflect that-which-is (reality in a not-so-relative, but more absolute version). It’s choosing to embody (in thoughts, words, deeds, etc.) as much of the wholeness that is you as you can.

For a large part this wholeness is the Home level of your consciousness (your essence, core, intuition, soul, your real/true self), but it also includes your ego, dark sides, etc., and authenticity means fearlessly and lovingly being ALL of you … and doing it, too.

From these statements we can deduce what it takes, which we’ll get back to in a minute.

We can also deduce what’s KEEPING YOU AWAY from being yourself, authentically.

Here is …

What’s Keeping You Away from Being Authentic

– if you’re somehow motivated by fear, you’re out
… or at least not “in” (being authentic) yet.

– if you’re trying to be or appear like someone or something you’re not, you’re out
… or at least not “in” (being authentic) yet.

– if you’re in any way being dishonest to yourself, you’re out
… or at least not “in” (being authentic) yet.

– if you’re living a life (loving, working, playing, etc.) that is not honestly “you”, you’re out
… or at least not “in” (being authentic) yet.

– if you don’t lovingly acknowledge and accept all the many parts that make up “you” (both those smaller than “you” and those bigger than “you” (that you’re a part of), you’re out
… or at least not “in” (being authentic) yet.

– if you’re not sure what the true you is, you’re out
… or at least not “in” (being authentic) yet.

Too tough? Maybe. But it’s “tough love”, because it’s also kinda true. Or perhaps I’m just being kind of annoying. Let’s switch focus to the positive, actionable side of things.

How to Be Yourself, Authentically – a List of “Do’s”

In short, in my opinion, on the road to being truly yourself, you will benefit from:

making radical, unflinching honesty your default choice internally (in your self talk, etc.)

making honesty or silence your default choices externally (in your dealings with other beings – either be honest or keep quiet, whichever is the more loving choice)

choosing openness and “it’s possible” to being closed and “it’s impossible” (again, no fear)

consciously adapting a playful mindset where you’re joyfully exploring, experimenting, being creative and making lots of mistakes

learning methods for self exploration (e.g. inner journeys), and taking the time to use them

• learning how to consciously surmount fear

daring to be yourself and unique, let go of the need to be like the others (“normal”, conform)

investigating who you are on the level of the ego; I recommend using the Enneagram

investigating the true you, e.g. by simply letting go of everything bit-by-bit (in the same session) to see what’s left using e.g. The Release Technique, or The Sedona Method, or The Let Go Method.

investigating your mindsets, beliefs, needs and habits – and dumping (letting go of) the no-good ones

choosing acceptance or even love of ALL that you are, the good, the bad and the ugly

organizing your life so that everything reflects the true you, from your private life, to your work life, to your family life, to your love life, to your sex life, and anything else you spend time, attention, intention, money or energy on

Again, this list is not exhaustive, it’s simply what was top-of-mind for me.

Looking at the benefits of being authentic [LINK upcoming] and turning them into things you might try just to see what happens, we can actually extract a few more.


“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”
~ Brené Brown ~ (from “The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are“). Brené Brown (born 1965) is an American research professor, author, speaker and CEO.

Authentic Living: More Do’s

You can also:

• consider the “crap-in equals crap-inside and crap-out” theory and start considering your intake of EVERYTHING, not just what you put in your mouth, but also what you put in your mind and your emotions as well, which also means …

• … consider no longer watching television, nor following the so-called “news” in any way shape or form, so that you can get your attention span back up and detox your mind and emotions

• for even more clarity, energy and attention, start simplifying and de-cluttering your life in other ways, too (do you really need that big home, or car, or closet-full-of-clothes, or even that particular job, salary, friend or partner?) – keep the best and drop the rest

• start taking responsibility for all of your own experience (no more blaming others or being a victim)

• start letting go of other people’s influence over you, don’t consider their approval or non-approval as important, don’t let yourself be so easily swayed, persuaded or manipulated

• stop defending or justifying yourself, your beliefs or your actions, just stop, and let others be as different from you as they want without it affecting you in any way; if you feel attacked, walk away and examine yourself (feelings, thoughts, beliefs, habits, etc.) to find the truth of what’s happening (which is typically that you’re limiting and hurting yourself, somehow)

• if you’re even a little bit stressed, do the opposite of what you think and feel that you should: work slower, prioritize fewer tasks as important (try one or two only, no more than three), accept fewer assignments, let go of or pass on/delegate existing assignments that are not in the top one, two or three most important

• practice being present in the now so you can actually BE with other people and listen to them, particularly to notice what they’re ACTUALLY trying to communicate beneath the words they’re saying; once you start realizing what they’re really communicating, practice kind honesty or just be silent and present

Picture quote by Soren Lauritzen on how to be yourself authentically - Art deco painting of a mountain goat in the Pyrennes, 1920 by Edouard Halouze.

Let’s Choose One and Get to Work

So all we have to do is choose one of the above areas and get to work. Are those areas all created equal?

Nope. Some (like expanding our identity or letting go of our beliefs) will bring us further along our journey towards being authentic and living an authentic life than others. Which one it will be for you, depends on, well, you – your personality, your beliefs, your habits, your culture, and whatnot.

One way to approach the challenge is to look at the list and figure out which one scares you the most. That’s probably the one that will bring you the furthest, the fastest.

Or, you could just pick one that feels like a good idea.

The Next Step

Once you’ve done the first one your next step is simple: Just do the next one. 🙂

(End-of-text divider, a floral design)

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