Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

Can We Ever Be Truly Authentic?


“We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.” ― May Sarton

What is authenticity? Can we ever be fully authentic?

I have been contemplating these questions since reading Who Are You? A Primer on Defining What You Stand For.

Authenticity is not necessarily easy because we’ve all been programmed in one way or the other: to please, to get ahead, or even to fail. Thus, even when we strive to be conscious, we may respond habitually to a person or situation. These habitual patterns are deeply embedded in our brain, and, some would say, in our intricate cellular memory.

For example, I sincerely advocate kindness. Am I always kind? No, I confess, I’m not. I’m human, I’m fallible just like you. I would bet very few of us are able to perfectly match our ideals and actions.

Be Relentless in Your Pursuit of Authenticity

Although it’s challenging to be continually authentic, we can get closer if we are committed and relentless in our pursuit of presence and coherence. And, I think it’s very important that we strive to do so. Why? Because living in integrity makes life so much easier for both you and those around you.  Living in integrity will change the world.

It turns out to be just the opposite from what you might imagine.  You might fear rejection if you follow your inner promptings. That could happen, but ironically, it won’t matter as much. Because, the more you are true to yourself, the more you will feel, as the French say, “well in your skin.”  You will feel more at ease, content, complete, and good about yourself. The more you are true to yourself, the more you will want to be true to yourself.

But this is not an egotistical pursuit.  The closer you will get to your true self, the more you will find kindness and compassion.

Let’s be honest though, it takes time to erode away the conditioning, and consistently express what’s true for you. Those who operate on automatic may not even be aware of the disparity, but a certain tension always accompanies them.

Being authentic takes courage. It means:

  • Getting quiet and listening to your deepest self.
  • Observing your patterns; the ones that obstruct authenticity.
  • The willingness to continually practice being true to yourself.
  • Being honesty with yourself and others.
  • Striving to be congruent in your words and actions.
  • Accepting your foibles, and loving yourself anyway.

Authenticity may be a buzzword often used these days in marketing as well as personal development, but that doesn’t make it any less essential.  The commitment to authenticity is one of the most important steps you will ever take towards finding true happiness and freedom.

Becoming Who You Truly Are

“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.” ― C.G. Jung

Learning to be authentic is a continuing, perhaps even lifelong process. Your true self may only speak in whispers, while your conditioned self screams at top volume. The voice of your authentic self may float quietly at the edge of your consciousness barely perceptible unless you are intent on hearing. Your inner critic may dominate, or your insecure child may throw a tantrum sweeping you into confusion and distress.

You will need to peel away many layers of conditioning to find and express your true self. There will be many times when you stray from the path of authenticity. This is par for the course. What matters is that you recognize the pattern and return to your true self as soon as you can. This will prevent many forms of adversity from taking place.

To find your true self, you must continually follow the thread of your inner voice, skillfully distinguishing between egoistic lures and true wisdom. Ultimately, you will discover there’s no permanent self to be found.  Just a continuing awareness watching the ever-changing display of mind and life.

What are your thoughts about authenticity?

Thank you for your presence, I know your time is precious!  Don’t forget to sign up for my e-letter and get access to all the free self-development resources (e-books, mini-guides + worksheets) in the Always Well Within Library. May you be happy, well, and safe – always.  With love, Sandra

Image:  Michael Gabler


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  1. What a fine post, Sandra! It strikes me how, for so many of the authenticity destinations you map out, Nature can be our knowledgeable, trusted guide.

    • Thank you, Jeffrey. I agree, I often find wisdom in nature! I feel fortunate to live closer to nature than many people. Thanks for making this link.

  2. jean sampson

    You got me thinking again, Sandra! I love that you brought in the Observer, the inner over-watcher because I do think this is who we are at core, The other qualities and patterns of behaviors and reactions and responses are sort of the planets that are going around our central self. The observer is where peace resides because there is no judgment and no agenda there. In my experience, from an early age on, there has been a little voice (sometimes a really annoying little voice) that will say to me things like, “That is not you! Why did you say that?” And it would expect me to dig around inside and come up with a good reason that made sense to it—-no cop outs! I never get to get away with what does not mesh with my values, my sense of self—–that danged little voice is always on duty! It is different from the Inner Critic who makes you feel bad about yourself. This voice is more like an Inner Teacher who is trying to help you learn. I personally think it is in cahoots with the Observer who has to remain detached—–but he/she has some associates. This may not make any sense at all because it is late and I am thinking on the hoof. Oh, well, that is what I do. 🙂 sometimes 🙂

    • Hi Jean,

      I love your explanation of the observer and how everything else is like planets going around our inner self. I do think we have an inner wisdom teacher that’s always calling to us, trying to show us the way. Amazing that you were so cognizant of this voice from such an early age! What you’re saying makes total sense to me. I see this as pure awareness that’s non-dual in nature. Thanks for your lovely explanation; off the hoof works good!

  3. I’ve been thinking about this, too! Here are some of my thoughts.

    I don’t think there is any way to reconcile our ego self with our true, or authentic, self. Our true self is connected in harmony to all beings and to the universe itself. It is fearless because it knows there is nothing to fear. Our true self abides in peace, expresses love, and rests in faith in the basic goodness of the universe.

    Our ego is, by definition, separate, and is therefore isolated from the sacred union of the authentic self (or Self). Cut off from its own deep wisdom, it creates the “ten thousand” things of illusion. It seeks to protect itself from perceived danger, however illusory, and is therefore afraid.

    When we see ourselves as falling short of our ideals, or not living authentically, I think we have simply blocked in some way who we truly are. And when we removed the block, we will find, just as you say, that there is no self in need of protection.

    Thank you for addressing this topic. It has been much on my mind lately, and I gained much from the clarity of your explanation.

    • Beautifully articulated, Galen! I like your conclusion that we have simply blocked in some way who we truly are. When we can get out of the way, it makes all the difference in the world.

      Thank you for your clarity. You’ve fine-tuned my sense of this even further. So happy to bounce back and forth with you on this!

    • jean sampson

      Thanks Sandra. Sometimes people look at me like I am nutz for talking like that! I am glad that you got it. It was late so I was not at all sure that what I was saying made sense. Glad it made sense to YOU! 🙂 <3

  4. Sandra,
    It truly is a labyrinth, coming home to our True Selves, isn’t it? I appreciate how you remind us that it can be a lifelong process. It can certainly be more enticing for ego to search out the next quick fix taking her further and further from the truth of who she is. This is where I often find humor and compassion wonderful companions to remind me that the journey is just as important in peeling back the layers as the final destination. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

    • Hi Carrie,

      After reading your response, I realized “navigate” my have been a better work than walk! Yes, the word “labyrinth” hit me in particular because sometimes it does feel like a complex maze and there are moments when we may feel lost in the dark. Humor and compassion rock! Thanks for gracing my blog with your presence.

  5. “Labyrinth” is a perfect way to express that journey to our true self, especially in this digital age. So many people present a different persona from what they really are – i guess it feels comfortable because of the anonymity that the web offers.

    We’re often bogged down by the society we live in and the pressure it puts on us, preventing us from doing exactly what we feel is right in our heart. Personally, I try my best – and the happiness it brings is worth it.

    Beautiful post, Sandra. (and it is good to be back! :-))

    • Hi Vidya,

      That’s an excellent point about this digital age. We can easily get lost in building our “personal” brand so we no longer our expressing our authentic self.

      You’re right, there is so much conditioning and societal influence. I think you go beyond trying your “best”. You are awesome! I’m glad you find happiness through being your true self.

      So happy to “see” you. 🙂

  6. I have spent a great deal of time reflecting on this topic – and have come to realize that my feelings of fear (at a new experiences, change or challenges) only serve to block my ability to live a more authentic and happier life. I know this seems obvious but it has taken me years to realize and then believe this… for many many years I believed the fear served a purpose of protecting me but then I realized it only served to isolate me from the experiences and people that make my life happier and fuller. So now I lean into the fear regardless of how temporarily uncomfortable it makes me! Thank you for this post – so very well written and provides me with a lot of insight!

    • Hi Kaylin,

      Fear has been a big element in my life. I resonate completely with what you’ve said about how fear tends to isolate. I too am a big advocate of gently leaning into fear not that I don’t still have many. Thanks for your appreciative words and sharing your thoughts with us.

  7. I’m working on authenticity Sandra. We get conditioned so so much growing up – parents, culture, friends, family, media and more. We get these images and impressions of who we should be and what we should like, think and be like. We’re sort of programmed by these external forces.

    Once we wake up and realize that, then we begin our journey to authenticity. I appreciate all your tips, especially observing (or being mindful) our patterns.

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