First things first, what does it even mean to show up authentically? For me, it means not being afraid to share my passions and not being afraid to make a mistake. It means overcoming the taunting and teasing of my youth and feeling like I can be happy and energetic and not be judged for it. It means enthusiastically diving into who I want to be while still honoring my fear and negative emotions. 

My story of living in shadows.

I lived inauthentically for a very very long time. When I went through a struggle, I wouldn't tell a soul. I wouldn't share the good or the bad things happening to me and I would just get by each day, exhausted at trying to not offend anyone or make a mistake. No one really knew my passions, not even me. And slowly, I felt less seen, less understood, and less heard. 

One day, I broke. I felt all the negative emotions I'd been keeping at bay and I felt like I didn't know who I was. It was then that I decided I would not only try to figure out who I was but I'd let the world see me too. 

Showing up authentically began with an understanding that I am not a finished product and I never will be, So being authentic is not a final destination but showing up as authentically as I can today, is the goal. 

The next step was to be open, even with myself about my goals and dreams. And then when the time came, to step into the fear of sharing them with someone else. And to not be discouraged when someone else didn't understand or "get it."

A fresh chance.

After a lot of work, I finally felt like I knew me but I still wasn't seen as my authentic self with others. That all changed when I shifted to a new job and company. Here was an opportunity for a fresh start and I took it. And here are 6 ways I showed up authentically in my new workspace: 

1. Be passionate about your passions and don't worry about what others will think.

This was incredibly hard but when someone would ask what I liked to do in my free time, I would share that I did a podcast and a happiness blog. I once was so scared that people would look at me like, "what you do a happiness blog? What do you know about happiness?" but the more I shared my passion, the more accepted I felt and the more support I actually had in my dreams and passions. 

When we get caught up in what other people will think, we hold back, we tailor what we say and care about. When we can acknowledge that they may have different options or thoughts but that doesn't mean we are any less than, that's when you can be passionate about your passions and live authentically.

2. Take opportunities to push yourself and don't be afraid to make a mistake.

Fear of making a mistake held me back for a long time. What if I'm seen for all my flaws and failures?!?! People will think less of me and not respect me. 

The truth of it is, that you get more respect and care from others when you aren't living in fear and when you are vulnerable and willing to make a mistake. So when an opportunity comes up to be involved in something you care about, take the chance! 

3. Keep a success log/book.

Keeping track of your daily and big successes is an excellent way to continue to encourage yourself to show up authentically. When you see your successes all together, and you continue to add to them, it gives you the confidence to keep moving forward and it shows your brain that good things happen when we step outside of our comfort zone and be vulnerable. 

4. Give others grace to give it to yourself.

Man, this one is a mind bender. One of the reasons we beat ourselves up so much and are so afraid of what others will think is because we tend to be harsh to others. Maybe not aloud, but we judge what they do. When you can start to give grace to others when they make a mistake, you'll find that you can start to give grace to yourself. At which point, everyone can start to show up without fear of judgment and be themselves. 

5. Get organized.

When you are organized in your life, you feel more in control. And when you feel in control, you feel less stressed. Less stress means more room for fun and authenticity. You don't have to worry about keeping it all together because you're organized.. it is all together! And there's still room for you to be you. 

6. Use your body language.

Lastly, use your body language to show up authentically. Stand tall with your shoulders back and a smile on. Maybe you don't feel happy or proud right now but when you use your body language, it can help envoke those emotions. And just because you don't feel that way doesn't mean it's not authentically you, it's still your body isn't it?

How to show up authentically.

Showing up authentically take bravery every day but keeping things like a success log, leaning on my body language to help me feel different and giving grace to others has helped me so much. Being organized opens me up to feeling in control and like I have choices instead of feeling overwhelmed. Those choices allow me to take new opportunities and to share my passions passionately without fear of rejection or failure. 

And funny enough, I am proud of who I am now.  I know I can step into any situation and be ok with who I am, how I function in the world, and how I can show up authentically. And every time I have... big new things and amazing new people have come my way.

Listen to the audio reading of this blog article on Happiness Abound the Podcast, Episode #212. 

Photo by Cody Doherty on Unsplash