What does it mean to be Authentic?
Showing up as your most authentic self means listening to your intuition and the voice within that guides you in your decisions. It means following what you are most passionate about and discovering your purpose based on your thoughts, dreams, goals, and feelings rather than your external environment. Authenticity means you have a great sense of self-awareness and you are not afraid to express it to those around you. When you are authentic, you are vulnerable in showing the most genuine version of yourself, rather than the false, “picture-perfect” identity that society encourages. It means letting go of the limiting beliefs and societal pressures that have molded your values throughout your development, and accepting who you truly are.
Why We Become Inauthentic
There are many reasons that we lose our sense of authenticity as we grow up. Through crucial development stages in our lives, we are surrounded by family members, teachers, friends, and coaches who mold the way we think and act on a daily basis. These molds come from societal norms and “fitting in” with others. We are taught our values, how to dress, how to behave, and our opinions through our external environment rather than from within. When we scroll through social media and see one highlight reel after another, we think we have to change ourselves or be someone else in order to fit in. Social media lowers our own self-esteem and shapes the way we view ourselves through comparison.
While the norms and values given to us through various outlets can be extremely important to our growth and development, they can also leave us feeling out of alignment and pressured to make decisions based on how society and the people in our lives will respond. We often brush off our passions and dreams to please others and follow what everyone around us is doing. This causes us to stray away from who we truly are within and ignore our inner voice and intuition. It can be nearly impossible to recognize that you are becoming inauthentic based on your surroundings, but it is important to take a step back and observe how you feel within.
The Five Koshas & Authenticity
The five koshas, or layers of being, can be essential to discovering our genuine self and developing self-acceptance. Through my journey of self-discovery, I never truly recognized that the decisions I was making were not aligned with my authentic self because I thought I was just fitting in and doing everything the “right” way. The koshas allowed me to uncover various aspects of my identity that I never knew existed and connect with my true self on a deeper level. Once I understood each of my five layers of being, I could recognize moments where my actions were out of alignment and use them as a tool for development.
Each kosha is a different layer of your being that shapes the way you feel, act, and show up in life. Annamaya, or your physical self, is the simplest layer to understand. Think about the way you feel when you eat heavily processed foods or consume too much at a restaurant. You can probably recall low energy levels, possibly feeling sick, or feeling disappointed with yourself. When you make healthier food choices, your body is fueled with energy that allows you to take on the day and you feel positive and proud. When you make nutritional choices that fuel your mind and body, you set your day up for success and feel like the most genuine version of yourself. This example can be applied to each of the other layers of being. When you are attentive to the manomaya, or mind kosha, you feel more mentally stable and ready to take on tough decisions and handle whatever the day may bring. Giving equal attention to each of the five koshas is key to self care and discovering your most authentic and aligned self.
Practices to Discover Your True Self
There are tons of different practices that you can leverage to understand your true self on a deeper level and let go of limiting beliefs and blocks that have developed over time. Below are a few strategies to help you discover your authentic self to live a more fulfilling and joyful life.
Daily Journal Practice
Journaling when you first wake up in the morning is one of the most effective ways to observe your thoughts and reflect on your internal environment. If you struggle with finding your inner voice or listening to your intuition, journaling is a great way to develop self-awareness. You will be able to notice where your mind wanders, identify any sort of inauthenticity or areas where you may be out of alignment, and reflect on your opinions and beliefs from a different perspective.
Whether you choose to write down certain questions or just write whatever comes to mind, journaling will shift your mind from being reactive to being observant. To get the most out of journaling, find a place where you can be fully present and make sure there are no distractions in the way. Having a daily journal practice allows you to discover different aspects of your life and identify areas of improvement. Below are three questions that can help you to get started with journaling:
- What are you feeling emotionally, physically, and spiritually at this moment?
- What makes you the happiest? What are some things that cause you stress or lower your energy? How can you add more happiness to your life?
- What would you do if you loved yourself unconditionally? When do you feel the most inner peace and joy? How can you act on these things whether you do or don’t?
Taking a Social Media Detox
Social media is a significant part of modern-day society and while it can keep us connected, educated, and entertained, there are many aspects that can be very detrimental for mental health. When we are constantly scrolling through pages of edited pictures to make everything seem perfect, we inevitably begin comparing ourselves and trying to change certain aspects of ourselves to fit in with others. It prevents us from sitting with our thoughts and feelings and distracts us from the present moment.
Taking a break from social media, even if it is just for a few days, can have tons of benefits for your mental state and overall well being. You will feel more connected to yourself, feel truly present in the moment, and will be more observant of your own thoughts and emotions. Taking a step back from social media and focusing on yourself can allow you to feel a great sense of freedom from societal pressures and find time for self-reflection.
Guided Meditation Practice
Research has proven that a daily meditation practice provides a wide array of health benefits that will allow for a more fulfilling and happy life. Along with stress and anxiety reduction, better decision making skills, and being less reactive to your external environment, a daily meditation practice is crucial for self-awareness, self-acceptance, and discovering your most authentic self. Even just a few minutes a day allows you to reflect within, observe your thoughts, and listen to your intuition which makes you more connected to your inner world. There are millions of guided meditations online to help you along your journey of self-discovery. By tending to the mind and going within at least once a day, you will discover more about yourself and will be more mindful of your emotions, thoughts, and feelings.
Having self-discipline and sticking to your word, known as Tapas in the Sanskrit world, is crucial for self-confidence, self-respect, and your sense of self-worth. The agreements you make with yourself determine how confident you are because they build up your inner trust. When you make a decision such as waking up early or going to the gym and you stick to it, you will feel proud of yourself and feel positive about your actions. When you are proud of yourself, you show up in authenticity and in alignment with your inner world. This also means being honest with yourself and building realistic goals to achieve in order to feel proud and passionate. When you stick to the agreements you make with yourself, you learn to trust yourself on a deeper level.
Benefits of Developing Authenticity
When you discover your authentic self and express yourself based on your own truths, passions, and goals, you show up in true alignment. This means making choices based on your purpose and connecting with your inner world to listen to the inner voice known as your intuition. When you trust yourself and make time for self-awareness and mindfulness, you will inevitably feel more confident and fulfilled throughout your daily life.
Developing authenticity takes time and forces you to let go of beliefs that have shaped you and may have been holding you back for years, so it is a journey that does not happen overnight. By making decisions based on what is best for each of the five koshas, you uncover the most empowered and authentic version of yourself. Your five koshas, or layers of being, are a great guide along your journey of self-discovery and can be very beneficial for self-awareness.
Kosha Fit & Authenticity
The Kosha Fit logo represents each of the five koshas in equal alignment and acts as a reminder for you and those who cross your path to make decisions based on this alignment. When you wear Kosha Fit, you are reminded of the importance of expressing yourself based on authenticity rather than worrying about the opinions of others and trying to fit in with society. You make decisions that benefit your wellbeing and overall happiness including healthy and natural foods, exercising and taking care of your body, making time for meditation and gratitude, and using self-awareness as a guide through your day. Kosha Fit’s purpose is to share these practices with the community and promote authenticity as a path to inner peace and joy.
Quote of the week:
"Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of what we think we're supposed to be and embracing who we are." -Brene Brown