It’s estimated that around 15% of the adult population will experience depression at some point in their lifetime with16.2million U.S adults experiencing a major depressive episode in the past year.
People with depression often also suffer from anxiety, both of which can be brought on by stress, life circumstances, genetic vulnerability, and medical problems, as well as a chemical imbalance in the brain.
Of course, it doesn’t help that society has never been more critical and judgmental than it is today. True, many have come far in their acceptance of people from other backgrounds, social groups, religions, genders; but the rise of social media and reality TV has led to a level of scrutiny and probing into other people’s lives that can be too tough for some to handle.
Ask yourself these questions:
• How often have you altered or faked an image on social media?
• Have you ever posted a smiling picture when on the inside you were feeling sad?
• Do you ever lie about an exciting weekend when in reality you have spent two days on the sofa?
• Have you ever gone out when you didn’t want to for FOMO (fear of missing out)?
Don’t feel bad about it; most people have done at least one of the above and probably more if they are completely honest.
The question is why?
Wouldn’t it make you feel better not to have to embellish or even lie about your life, but instead, embrace who you really are. Embrace your authentic self.
It can be easier said than done, but by following the below steps, you will be well on your way to being your true self every day.
Start by writing down what makes you ‘you’
You may have spent so long trying to be someone that you are not that you don’t even truly know who you are anymore; what you like, what you want to do with your time, what your aspirations are.
Try to put to the back of your mind what you think you should be like, in order to reconnect with yourself, your wants and your desires. Seeing these statements written down can help you build a true mental picture of yourself and can also act as a reminder if you are ever having a moment of self-doubt. You could even start writing a journal of your journey; detailing times when you felt truly authentic as well as the times when you have faltered.
Know your worth
If you want others to accept you for who you truly are, then you need to value yourself first. This can be a tough one for people who are used to backing down or simply accepting a certain situation or person to avoid confrontation. However, it is vitally important that you work on building your self-esteem and set your own boundaries for what you will and will not accept in your daily life.
Form truthful relationships
By surrounding yourself with people who add value to your life, people who you can trust, people who accept the real you; you are much more likely to be able to stay true to yourself. Friends who realize your true potential and encourage you to achieve your goals are the friends that you need, not ones who are constantly negative.
Ignore the haters
As you start to be true to your authentic self, those around you will soon notice the difference in your demeanor, your interactions, and your overall positivity, but there will likely be some who are cynical. These people may feel threatened by the changes you have made to your life; they may even feel like it shines a spotlight on their own lives and how they are not being true to themselves. You should ignore these negative influences. You have done the work on yourself; it is up to them to evaluate their own lives.
Embrace what makes you unique
Wouldn’t the world be a boring place if everyone was the same? Do you really want to look like Kim Kardashian and every other reality TV star and wannabe whose life mission is to look like her? Of course not.
Do you love to experiment with bold hair colors? Do you adore standing out from the crowd in the latest crazy socks? Or are you a secret sci-fi fan? If yes, why keep it a secret any longer?
There is room in the world for everyone, for all types, for all personalities, for all people, so embrace and flaunt what makes you special.
Do not bow to the pressure to conform
Even the strongest, most secure individual can, at times, bow to the pressure of society to conform to the ‘norm.’ Whatever that is. However, this can be a slippery slope and can lead to you once again forgetting your authentic self.
If this happens, it can be useful to look back on your journal or initial statements about what makes you ‘you.’
Remember: you are unique. Each and every one of us is. This is what makes us special.
Now, go be your best self!