The dictionary defines authentic as: ‘genuine,’ ‘real,’ ‘trustworthy’ and ‘undisputedly credible.’ Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be viewed as genuine and real and therefore trustworthy and undisputedly credible?

Being your authentic self means that you are not defined by your job, your functions or the roles you play in life, such as: parent, spouse, friend, manager, problem-solver and so on – but rather, that you are defined by your own unique combination of wisdom, talents, skills and personality. It is who you are at the core of your being, and it is about being true to your own values, principles, wisdom, talents and personality.

Do you know your authentic self? Isn’t it time for you to get real about who you truly are at the core of your being and to love and appreciate your authentic self instead of portraying to the world an invented ‘self’, someone you felt you had to invent in order to be accepted by the people you admire and whose opinions you care about?

Our biggest need is to be loved and accepted, and our biggest fear is rejection. We fear being rejected so much that we change who we truly are in order to experience love and acceptance. Others’ negative reactions and responses to us lead us to believe that we are inadequate and therefore not lovable.


We filter what we hear, see and experience. Our worldview – the way we experience the world and the people in it – is governed by our beliefs, which are formed as a direct result of all our past experiences.  Our parents, siblings, family, friends, teachers, society, co-workers etc., all influenced and helped form our beliefs.  The culture, religion and society in which we were raised, and our education (or lack thereof) all had a hand in shaping our beliefs, value system and personality.

What painful past experiences are preventing you from being your authentic self – keeping you stuck in the belief that you are not good enough?

Painful experiences create painful memories and beliefs which, if not healed, may prevent you from living an authentic life. For example, if your spouse cheated on you, you might believe that they did it because you are inadequate, so you may do everything in your power to become who and what you assume they want you to be because you fear their rejection, and so that you can fulfil your highest need – to be loved and accepted by them.

Your Invented Self

Ignoring your own authentic values, talents and gifts in order to please and impress others means that you are living as your invented self.

Your invented self suffers from low self-esteem and believes that you are inadequate. Therefore your invented self views others’ bad behaviour toward you as confirmation of your worthlessness, instead of remembering that their behaviour has everything to do with their own filters, beliefs, value system and painful past experiences, and little or nothing to do with you.

Your invented self feels incomplete and struggles because you want to please others by being who they want you to be instead of who you authentically are. This constant effort to be something you are not drains the energy you need to pursue the things you truly value.

Commit to being more honest about who you are and what you truly value. Unhealthy self-sacrifice, martyrdom and assigned roles will leave you feeling exhausted.  Instead, begin to connect with your authentic self by uncovering what you truly value so that you can become and remain true to your authentic self.

Elsabé Manning